Inventory management in a warehouse can be challenging, but these innovative ideas will help keep your warehouse organized and, ultimately, will improve efficiency and make the entire warehouse more productive by saving time and cutting costs.
The most popular items that are picked more frequently than others should be located at the closest distance from the packing area in order to eliminate as much travel time through the warehouse as possible. These popular items should also be located at a height between shoulders and waist. This not only increases visibility and ease of picking, removes the need for special equipment like a forklift or ladder.
2. Think Vertically
In a contained space, you need to take advantage of your square footage. In a warehouse setting, that likely means there is unused vertical space that you can be using more productively. Most warehouses or facilities use pallet racking, or warehouse racking systems, as a method to store inventory on pallets that are stacked vertically. This will allow all space, from the ceiling to the floor, to be utilized most effectively.
Industrial automation cuts down on labor costs and can keep any warehouse moving smoothly. Robotics and warehouse automation systems, often in the form of cloud-based software or SaaS, are innovative ways to keep your facility as technologically advanced as possible. Given that the upfront investment can be significant for this software, consider hiring a consultant who can ensure you’re choosing the best possible system for your warehouse.
4. Label Everything
It seems simple, but all products and inventory should be clearly and thoroughly labeled. Whichever pieces of information are most critical for your warehouse need to be labeled on the inventory, whether that’s a product name, product number, SKU, color, size, or date. Be consistent in labelling all items on the same spot, perhaps on the top left corner of every box, so that you won’t miss items. This will cut down on any confusion or delays later. Consider including an image of the inventory on the outside of the box as part of the label as well. And consider getting a custom packaging design, like those made at Arc and Co., to clearly designate package contents. If there is a wide variety of colors and item types needed, this will eliminate the need to look inside the packaging to ensure the item is correct.
5. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Keeping aisles clear is essential to reducing clutter and will ensure nothing is misplaced or put in the wrong place. Create a system for regular and routine cleaning and maintenance to avoid messy aisles that will inevitably lead to boxes on the wrong shelves and in the wrong aisles. Make sure the entire staff has a clear sense of their responsibilities to keep the warehouse clean, and you’ll have a more productive and efficient staff and warehouse alike.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym.