Tips for Improving Warehouse Organization and Layout

Reduce the amount of times that any inventory item is touched, between receiving and dispatching

"Mixing multiple SKUs in the same bin location reduces picking productivity." ~Marc Wulfraat

44. Avoid mixing multiple SKUs in single bin locations. “Mixing multiple SKUs in the same bin location reduces picking productivity. We have done time and motion studies that prove that there is a definite time penalty associated [with] mixing multiple SKUs into the same bin location.

“We see this in many warehouses where a bin location may represent a shelf level that contains 5 – 10 SKU pick facings. The operator is directed to the shelf level and then needs to search through the different SKUs to find the item to be picked.

“Not only does this reduce accuracy, it also slows the operator down by as much as 15+ seconds per pick transaction. Having a discrete pick location for every SKU is rule #1.” – Marc Wulfraat, 5 Ways to Improve Order Picking ProductivitySupply Chain 24/7; Twitter: @SupplyChain247

45. Go up instead of out with storage. “Warehouse space is an expensive commodity so it makes sense to maximise it to its full potential. Most companies that feel they need to move to larger premises have enough space in their existing structure but are using it poorly. One of the commonly overlooked areas into which a warehouse can expand is up. Making the most of the vertical space available to you can add extra storage space while not adding any significant time to pick walks.” – Shane Madz, 4 Tips to Improve Warehouse ProductivityLinkedIn; Twitter:@LinkedIn

"Warehouse square footage is expensive, so maximize the use of all your vertical space, even if it requires an investment in additional equipment." ~ Westfalia Technologies

46. Maximize the use of vertical space. “Warehouse square footage is expensive, so maximize the use of all your vertical space, even if it requires an investment in additional equipment. You will reduce operational costs, inventory carrying costs, and increase the efficiency of picking and packing operations.” – Westfalia Technologies, 11 Warehouse Operations Best PracticesSupply Chain 24/7; Twitter: @SupplyChain247, @WestfaliaUSA

47. Optimize your warehouse footprint. “Think of your warehouse space as the most valuable real estate on the planet. How can you fit more inventory into the same warehouse footprint? Implement narrow aisle storage within your warehouse to add more rack positions within the same facility space.  You can utilize wire-guided forklifts and reach trucks to access products within the narrow aisles.” – Inventory Management Tips Continued: Improving Warehouse ProductivityDatex Corporation; Twitter: @Datexcorp

"The workflow in your warehouse should help ensure speed, accuracy, and accountability." ~ Quest Solution

48. Organize your warehouse to maximize efficiency. “Evaluate your picking paths and methodology as well as how you have organized goods without your warehouse. The workflow in your warehouse should help ensure speed, accuracy, and accountability. Fast moving items should be placed close to shipping; items commonly shipped together should be co-located on the shelf/rack.

“De-clutter the warehouse to remove obstacles that can slow down pick operations, and find ways to reduce the amount of walking that staff members have to do in order to complete their work. Have processes in place so that employees don’t have to leave their work areas in order to address problems. For example, create a space for packers to place incorrectly picked goods so that pick/put-away staff can retrieve them. Use your WMS to create efficient picking plans. Constantly re-evaluate your inventory and order patterns, and reorganize based on changes in order volume.” – 5 Ways to Develop More Productive and Efficient Warehouse OperationsQuest Solution; Twitter: @QuestSolution94

49. Re-slot often to reduce travel time. “Up to 60% of a picker’s daily activity can be involved in travel time (afoot or on a forklift or walkie), so reducing that time-spend is an excellent idea. A good product slotting strategy can reduce travel time thereby reducing picking labor. Always weigh the time and cost of a complete re-slot against the costs of it.  Busy operations re-slot their fast-moving, high-profit SKU’s every day. Slotting the facility once and leaving it that way for years is typically a recipe for wasted time and money.” – Scott Stone, 13 Best Practices for Warehouse ProductivityCisco-Eagle; Twitter: @CiscoEagle

"If you find that you have product lines which are put away in bulk storage areas and then frequently moved to replenish picking locations, consider putting them on the floor instead and picking directly from this floor stock." ~ Rob O'Byrne

50. Reduce touches. “Every time your warehouse team members pick up an item from your inventory, it costs money for your operation.

“If you find that you have product lines which are put away in bulk storage areas and then frequently moved to replenish picking locations, consider putting them on the floor instead and picking directly from this floor stock.

“This is just one example, but the golden rule is, reduce the amount of times that any inventory item is touched, between receiving and dispatching.” – Rob O’Byrne, 4 Ways to Improve Warehouse Layout Efficiency and Save CostsLogistics Bureau; Twitter: @LogisticsBureau

51. Reduce travel time for pickers. “Order pickers spend about 60 percent of their time walking product or moving product around. Review your automated options to help reduce extensive travel time for your pickers.” – Shari Fenn, 10 Expert Tips to Improve Warehouse Efficiency for Slow Velocity ProductsCalgary Region; Twitter: @ShariFenn

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