A great way to increase warehouse efficiency is a well-planned layout.
“Layout and design is really an art as much as it is a science,” said Marks. “The devil is in the detail, determine if [buisnesses] are efficiently using every square footage of the warehouse.”
Smith Corona takes the stock in their A category and makes sure that it is closest to the trucks for maximum efficiency. We keep the B category closer to the trucks, but not as close as the A category. The C categories are put in the back of the warehouse since orders don’t call for those products as often as the other categories.
Marks suggested that companies take the time to figure out a warehouse layout by taking stopwatches and timing how long it takes to complete specific tasks – like the time it takes to pull inventory after an order hits the floor.
“Pick out specific jobs and time how long it is taking,” said Marks. “You will uncover lots of mysteries when you do that. The only way to do this is by physically observing and tracking the floor.”
This process can take weeks but can determine specific places in the warehouse that are slowing down your businesses efficiency.
By using a stopwatch strategy, you can have your best selling products within close reach for maximum efficiency.
“The first priority is to keep everything within reach,” said Crawford. Crawford makes sure that her inventory is always easily accessible and visible to keep her business running smoothly.
Another factor that can come into play is the season. Look into order profiles and the pace of your inventory. Then you can plan your layout and flow based on the season, said Sidell.
If you aren’t sure what to change or you are having trouble determining a layout that works for your warehouse, Marks suggested hiring an outside consultant on LinkedIn or from professional societies.