With the increase in online shopping throughout the U.S. (and the world), more businesses have had to purchase warehouse space to ensure they have sufficient inventory. In fact, the number of warehouses in the country has risen quite a bit over the last few years.
It doesn’t matter if your warehouse is a recent acquisition or if you’ve had one for decades. The fact of the matter is, the better your warehouse is organized, the more efficient and profitable your business is going to be.
If you’re in need of a better warehouse organization, keep reading. Listed below are some tips that every warehouse manager ought to try.
1. Keep It Clean
This first tip might not have to do directly with the organization of your warehouse. However, if your warehouse is clean, it’s going to be easier to keep things organized (and you’ll likely be more motivated to do so).
Taking the time to clean also gives you an opportunity to take stock of the space. You never know when you’ll find an item you thought was missing. A clean warehouse is also easier for your employers to work in, and it helps reduce injury risk.
2. Eliminate Clutter
Once your warehouse is clean, spend some time clearing out clutter. Work through the warehouse in sections and pull everything out. Then, get rid of anything that’s unnecessary.
This might end up being a multi-day project, but it’ll be a worthwhile one.
The less stuff you have floating around in the warehouse, the easier it’ll be for you to make sure everything stays organized. You’ll also be able to keep track of what you have more easily and avoid making mistakes when it comes to counting your inventory.
3. Maintain Lean Inventory
This might seem counterintuitive at first. In reality, though, maintaining a lean inventory (meaning you keep on hand only what you need and don’t have a lot of extras) is a great way to keep your warehouse organized.
The less you have crammed into space, the simpler it becomes for you and your employees to find what you need. There are also fewer opportunities for things to get lost or misplaced.
4. Focus on Safety
When you’re trying to decide which aspects of your warehouse to organize first, think about the safety of your employees.
If there’s an area of your warehouse that poses a potential risk (maybe there are a lot of objects that aren’t stored well and could fall down, for example), that ought to be your top priority.
If you organize while focusing on safety, you’ll have peace of mind, and your employees will be able to work faster and be more productive.
5. Utilize Your Space
Make sure you’re making the most out of your warehouse space.
Sometimes, you might assume the space is too small, but the problem is actually the way you’re using it. Take a look around and see if there is any wasted space that you could be utilized in a better way.
While you’re on your journey to maximize your warehouse space, make sure you’re not accidentally making things harder for your employees. For example, avoid blocking pathways or arranging things in a way that hinders their efficiency.
6. Reduce Shipping Container Volume
If you minimize the number of shipping containers you have in your warehouse, you’ll be amazed at how much more streamlined your operations become.
The fewer decisions your employees have to make when it comes to choosing a shipping container, the faster they’ll be able to work. Limiting shipping container volume helps people avoid decision fatigue and makes them much more productive.
7. Monitor Mistakes
Make sure you’re keeping track of mistakes that people make as they go about their jobs, too. This will help you figure out where the pain points are for your employees and will help you prioritize your organization’s mission.
Often, you can eliminate mistakes by streamlining a specific process and making it more efficient. You’ll never know where to start, though, if you’re not conducting regular checks on your employees.
8. Use Stackable Shelf Bins
Stackable shelf bins are a godsend for storing small items that you need to use on a regular basis.
Since you can stack them, they’re easy to store and don’t take up a lot of space. They’re small and lightweight enough, though, that you can easily get them down and get what you need without worrying about causing an avalanche.
Keep several of these bins on hand on your shelves and desks to help everyone stay organized and access what they need.
9. Streamline the Shipping Station
In many warehouses, the most disorganized and cluttered area is the shipping station. With so many labels and boxes everywhere, it’s easy for things to become a mess if you’re not careful.
Make sure the shipping area is set up in a way that maximizes productivity and makes sense for your employees. For example, keep all the scissors, tape, and other packaging materials in a bin together.
You may also want to time your employees going through the packing process to see where there are hiccups and figure out what you can do to smooth them out.
10. Take Time for Training
If you take the time to train your employees about proper organization techniques and explain the reasoning behind them, they’ll be more inclined to maintain the new system.
Having regular organizational training meetings also gives you an opportunity to teach your employees about new organization tools. You can read on here on the benefits of things like cantilever racks, and then you can share that information with your team.
Time to Become a Warehouse Organization Master
Warehouse organization can be pretty intimidating, especially if it’s been a long time since your warehouse has undergone a thorough reorganization.
If you remember these tips, though, you’ll have an easier time sorting through the mess and getting your warehouse back in order.
Do you need more advice on warehouse organization and management? Do you need to do a better job of organizing other aspects of your business?
If so, we’ve got lots of helpful resources for you. Visit the business tips section of our site today to learn more.