Do you know what inefficiencies to look for in your facility?
The correct layout and usage of your warehouse is vital to the success of your business. Your facility and operation must strive to maximize efficiency to provide exceptional customer service. Below are the top 5 inefficiencies your warehouse may face and solutions that can help keep you focused on what’s important – your employees and customers.
1. Know your C.A.S.E.
Problem: It’s crucial for your warehouse to have the functionality to meet your current everyday needs, but also be adaptable for future growth. As your business processes change, it is important to keep effective warehouse planning at the forefront.
Solution: There are four key areas of focus to take into account for warehouse layouts:
1. Ceiling height – Know your ceiling height. This will determine how high your materials can be lifted and influences the type of equipment you’ll need.
2. Aisle Width – Your forklift needs room to move up and down aisles. Be aware of how much space you have and if your forklift can get through.
3. Spacing – The structure of your building matters. Columns in your warehouse dictate your racking design, so it’s important to be cognizant to ensure maximum storage space.
4. Easy access – Avoid blocking warehouse essentials such as electrical panels and water shut-off valves. Plan to have each of these elements to always have easy access.
2. Waste Elimination
Problem: Waste. A key component of Toyota Lean Management is eliminating waste – or Muda. Reducing redundancies in your operation makes for a leaner production process.
Solution: Automation in the warehouse contributes to waste elimination by programming precise and repeatable actions based on established best production practices. Reducing these redundant and unnecessary creates a leaner production process that can reduce your cost of labor, improve efficiency, and allow you to reallocate employees to tasks that require human-touch.
3. Inventory Management
Problem: The businesses of today rely on accurate inventory management methods such as just-in-time management (JIT), materials requirement planning (MRP), economic order quantity (EOQ), and days sales of inventory (DSI), to be able to forecast and deliver for clients. Without an accurate inventory, you do not have a real-time view to help provide the necessary parts at the right time which can negatively augment your material purchase forecasting and demand planning.
Inventory management is key when it comes to being able to forecast and deliver for customers. Having too much or too little inventory may result in disappointing customers due to the inability to meet their demands.
Solution: One way to make sure all assets are aligned to facilitate an efficient warehouse operation is the adoption of a top-tier warehouse management system (WMS). WMS software streamlines the operational processes the products go through during their time in the warehouse. This leads to automated means and better inventory management while minimizing cost and lead times and enhancing the safety of warehouse employees.
4. Inventory Spacing
Problem: Improper inventory placement within the warehouse can result in financial losses, time wastage, and decreased efficiency of your operation. The strategic placement of your inventory is critical for a well-functioning warehouse.
Solution: Place your inventory in easily accessible areas. Applying the right layout to your warehouse enables you to monitor and evaluate levels and track them over time, determine inventory depletion rates, as well as provide your forklift operators with quick access to necessary items.
5. Outdated Processes
Problem: Traditionally, employees have been responsible for picking, packing and fulfilling orders for customers. As a result, there are often errors, which can slow down your day-to-day operation.
Solution: Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) help reduce human error and quickens tasks throughout the warehouse. Utilizing AGVs is a method of automation that provides the opportunity to cut out non-value-added activities and reallocate employees to more necessary tasks.
Implementing Warehouse Solutions
These five warehouse inefficiencies are a small but essential collection whose solutions, when implemented in day-to-day operations, provide for higher efficiency, lower operational cost, and accurate forecasting. The future of warehousing is increasingly influenced by technological advances, with a reduced emphasis on human resources and an increased reliance on computing power. However, optimal warehouse layout, streamlined production processes, and practical asset location will remain crucial in making the most efficient warehousing practices.
Looking to improve your warehouse design or lean practices? Our Intralogistics experts are here to help you with your ideal warehouse. Get started with requesting a consultation or call us at 866-506-2200.