Common Challenges in Warehouse Management
What Factors are Affecting Your Warehouse?
If you’re experiencing problems in warehouse management, rest assured this is a common issue. Many factors can affect the functionality of warehouse management, such as overlooking or underestimating small details, which can end up causing unforeseen problems. On the other hand, a successfully managed warehouse, one that performs reliably and efficiently, is a huge asset to any company. This process is twofold. Along with eight (8) topics about how to successfully utilize your warehouse space, below are five (5) methods about effectively managing your warehouse, as well.
Managing Warehouse Space/Design
Real estate is a great asset, and using your real estate, in the best possible way, will ensure that you can do more with your space. Companies can also reduce their costs and improve the efficiency of their warehouse by maximizing space utilization. Here are eight cost-effective ways to maximize space:
1. Evaluate Whether You Can Extend Your Racks Vertically
Extending your pallet rack system upward is usually an easy alternative to creating more space. Typically, new buildings have ESFR which is a fire suppression sprinkler system. With this, you can store inventory within 18 inches of that area. However, there are some pitfalls of rack extension – the racking uprights or base plates may not be sized properly. In that case, a structural engineer and a PE can confirm that rack extension as a viable option.
2. Consider Installing a Mezzanine Above a Floor-Level Process
One of the best ways to increase space is to add a mezzanine. Installing a mezzanine above floor-level can nearly double floor space. Of course, there are pitfalls with a mezzanine as well. The floor loading must be able to handle it. Make sure columns and base plates are not in the way on the floor. However, it is much easier and economical to add a mezzanine, if possible, than to expand the building.
3. Reduce Aisle Width in the Racking Area
A wide aisle can range from 10 to 12 feet, but if that can be reduced to anywhere from five to eight feet, 15 to 20 percent of the area will be saved.
When considering this option, you must evaluate your lift equipment to make sure it is capable of following or working in the narrower aisles. There is also the added expense of wire guidance in a very narrow aisle situation.When considering this option, you must evaluate your lift equipment to make sure it is capable of following or working in the narrower aisles. There is also the added expense of wire guidance in a very narrow aisle situation.
4. Evaluate and Change Your Storage Medium
Another option is to change the storage medium to higher density equipment. For example, moving from a single-deep rack to a double-deep rack could be very useful.
A double-deep rack requires a reach truck to load pallets. Push-back or drive-in racks are also higher density equipment alternatives. These options are great for adding storage, but the problem becomes FIFO: first in, first out. Higher density limits accessibility to the first-in pallets.
5. Add Half-Pallet Locations for Product That Comes in Half-Pallet Quantities
Adding half-pallet locations can save space since some product comes in only a half-pallet quantity. We see that as fluid volume as opposed to just what’s in that area.
Think of it as ice cubes in a glass. If I poured water in a glass, there is a lot more liquid. If I put ice cubes in a glass, there is more space. If you condense your pallets, you can put more pallets, and therefore more product, in the same area without too much white space.
6. Leverage Your Warehouse Management System for Directed Put-Away
Directed put-away is a great way of creating or saving space in a warehouse. It’s usually directed by your warehouse management system where instead of the put-away rules being just “put the pallet wherever you want,” directed put-away knows what locations are best suited for pallets. This system tells you where to put a certain pallet as opposed to letting a worker put it in the most convenient location.
7. Use Underutilized Space
Use space you never thought you had before. There’s often space above receiving or shipping doors where supplies, slow-moving materials or staging for inbound or outbound product that hasn’t yet been processed yet, can be placed.
If there is a pick module in the facility and a conveyor down the center of the module, hanging a shelf above the conveyor is an easy way to increase locations for smaller or slower-moving items that don’t need to be replenished frequently. Keep in mind, those products will need to be restocked by hand or by the conveyor system.
8. Store Product in Trailers for Short-Term, Seasonal Needs
Finally, storing products in trailers is sometimes a necessary solution for temporary storage needs. Many warehouses will bring in extra trailers and pay the demurrage charge for interim storage needs. This is less costly than a building expansion and is frequently used for seasonal products, especially in the retail industry.
Effective communication maximizes productivity. However, lack of communication is a common challenge within the logistical chain. If everyone involved in making supply chain decisions is on the same page, a warehouse is going to be able to plan and execute shipments more quickly. This can be achieved through using the right applications, software and other tools.
Communication is valuable and it can help to foster a good working relationship between you and your staff, which in turn can improve morale and efficiency.
Today, customers expect more than ever, including shorter shipping times, perfect order accuracy and outstanding customer service.
When you get specific requests from customers, providing what they want is key. An effective warehouse is going to account for individual customer preferences by automatically creating the right labels. If your inventory isn’t accurate, this could lead to inventory shortages, fulfillment delays and out-of-stock goods. These scenarios are going to weaken your customer’s satisfaction.
Inaccurate Purchase Orders
It is critical that your invoices match what you receive on your purchase orders. A business that is growing will most likely have larger and more complex purchase orders. Along with this, they can also develop many different occurrences happening at once —— some that are unseen or not analyzed thoroughly. This can lead to lack of communication, improper handling of inventory and other adversities.
Having and providing accurate information helps remedy issues much more easily. Continuous communication between departments and team members will alleviate may concerns among employees and help you build the team’s morale, while effectively achieving your company’s goals.
Used Warehouse Equipment, Inc. works with our customers to find space solutions that fit your specific warehouse requirements.
Whether the customer wants a standard storage system or an exclusive unique design, we are always more than willing to provide the perfect cost-effective solution.
Used Warehouse Equipment, Inc. can handle every phase of your project. We are uniquely qualified to assist you in planning and executing your material handling systems to reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction.
Through design, engineering, fabrication, delivery and installation, we strive to ensure the entire process is as convenient and problem-free as possible for our customers. With all of the necessary tools necessary to take your project from start to finish, we have more than 20 years of experience in selling warehouse equipment and designing a plan to fit your needs.
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