A key part of the job of any warehouse manager is to ensure costs are kept to a minimum. Regardless of the type of products stocked or the scale of the operation, there are a number of ways to boost efficiency.
One way to ensure your warehouse is operating at peak efficiency is to take note of the 80-20 rule, which suggests that 80 percent of your business will come from 20% of your lines. By grouping together this 20%, the journey time for your pickers will be dramatically reduced.
Further time savings can be achieved by ensuring the 80-20 zone is geared up for a higher volume of activity, perhaps through the introduction of a one-way system or introduction of wider aisles. Ideally, you should create a warehouse within a warehouse to house your most popular items.
Even if you manage to get your systems working at a high level of efficiency, you may still find that order pickers spend as much as 60% of their time walking around the warehouse, moving products from one area to another. It might be worth considering some form of automated solution such as a conveyor belt, to speed things up.
The price of technology, both computer software and hardware, continues to fall while becoming ever more sophisticated. Many management systems now make use of robotics in combination with human pickers to speed up the rate at which goods move through a warehouse.
Tailoring your racking and storage systems can streamline operations at your warehouse by improving picker productivity and storage density, and this in turn can improve health and safety. If the existing racking systems are lacking, you can always upgrade with an eye on the budget by introducing used pallet racking which you can obtain from reputable suppliers such as www.rackzone.ie/pallet-racking.
Following on from this, if popular lines are subject to seasonal fluctuations, re-structure your management system on a regular basis to take account of this. If you ensure the most accessible location in your warehouse always contains the most popular products, time wasted by having pickers travel unnecessary distances will be kept to a minimum. Similarly, batching single lines together and creating pick paths that work in sequence will provide a further boost to efficiency.