Big companies like Amazon have made warehouse organization a science. They ship millions of packages every year and are able to specify an approximate time frame for delivery.
Your warehouse management system is the heart of your logistics operation. You may not be Amazon, but if you have your warehouse under control and optimized, you can compete on your own scale. And if you have multiple warehouses to store stock at various stages of manufacturing, you may find day-to-day inventory tracking difficult. You can manage inter-warehouse transfers without breaking a sweat by investing in multichannel inventory management software. Using the serial number and batch tracking features, you can keep track of individual units and expiration dates.
Well, in this article, we’ll share 7 proven tips for an effective small warehouse organization. You’ll find that following these tips on how to organize a small warehouse are practical and will have a big impact on the success and sustainability of your business.
1. Think Vertical Not Horizontal
You might think your floor space is the most important element of your warehouse’s ability to store things. That is true to some degree but it should not stop there. Instead of thinking of your storage capacity as horizontal space, you should also consider the potential of vertical storage.
This will require the installation of proper shelving and a racking system that suits the purpose of the type of inventory you’ll be stocking. This is a wise investment as your ability to hold the right quantities of stock in an organized and uncluttered way will be one of the keys to success in your wholesale or logistics business.
2. Smart Labeling
Storage capacity in both the horizontal and vertical is only the beginning. You need a clear and consistent labeling system that will allow you to easily identify your stock and also know where it should be stored.
Using smart return address labels that include QR codes or bar codes can help improve the efficiency and accuracy of your labeling. This type of labeling integrates well with computer-based stock management which can save a lot of time. Smart labeling and the use of intuitive maps in the warehouse will help staff to always know where your stock should be; this is especially useful if you have temporary staff.
3. Redesign Workflow
With the movement of your stock through areas of limited space in your warehouse combined with the use of machinery such as forklift trucks and other assistive lifting machines, there is ample opportunity for bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the use of effort, time, and manpower.
Redesigning your workflow will give you the opportunity to more precisely plan what should be where at any given point in a product’s journey through your warehouse. From the time a product arrives to the time it leaves your warehouse, each step should be planned so as to make the most of the resources you have.
4. Follow 80/20 Rule
The Pareto Principle, better known as the 80/20 rule states that 80 percent of the work comes from only 20 percent of the cause. This principle applies to warehouse management.
Of all your inventory, it is likely a small percentage has a high turnover rate as it is the most popular and therefore creates the most work. Your job is to identify which stock items are the most popular and require the most work. Once you’ve done that you can organize their storage so that access and movement through your system are as efficient as possible.
This is helpful because you may have other items that sell less often and need longer storage, but when they do sell they generate a greater profit. Items like these can be stored in less convenient locations in the warehouse as they will not need to be moved that often.
5. Disorganized In Disorganized Out
Imagine someone selling secondhand books. When the books arrive they never get organized but are just left in big boxes for people to help themselves. When someone comes into the bookshop and asks for a particular book, the owner says he will look for them. After wasting hours, even days, he gives up and loses the sale.
In a warehouse business, one of the best opportunities to create order and maintain it is when new stock arrives. This means that your ‘receiving goods’ processes need to be well thought out. That includes a receiving space, the timing of new stock, and its allocation to a storage space.
6. Use Software
Technology is a game-changer when it comes to warehouse management. Tools like CartonCloud have changed the way we work and think about using storage space. Integrated solutions that offer inventory management, stock replenishing, smart labeling, and product tracking are excellent ways of increasing the efficiency of your business.
7. Clean Is Efficient
Slips and falls are one of the primary causes for people taking time off work. A cluttered, untidy, and messy workplace is a hazard. Keeping your warehouse clean and tidy is an excellent way to make sure everything keeps operating as smoothly as it should.
A clean workplace also promotes the right kind of culture that will support staff to take responsibility and maintain their own workspace. Wrapping and unwanted packaging can cause a problem, so make sure this is always cleaned away as soon as possible.
Succeed in Small Warehouse Organization
In this article, you’ve read about 7 tips for small warehouse organization. Following these tips will take time and effort at first. You must be willing to invest in the organization and workflow design of your warehouse.
However, you can be sure that time will be well spent. The time, effort, and manpower you can save will help your business be competitive, even with big businesses like Amazon. Check out other thought-provoking business-related articles here on our blog.