5 Warehouse Design Errors to Avoid

For inventory-based companies, the warehouse is the most important stage in operating value-driven logistics. Designing your warehouse for greater efficiency makes a big difference to the customer, the bottom line, and the vendors in your supply chain. Here are five mistakes to avoid in your warehouse.

1. Reliance on paper

Filling out paper forms is a waste of time. A warehouse management system is one of best tools you can have for optimizing your warehouse. This software helps you track inventory levels, movement of product and materials, transactions, and more. It can work with barcodes, scanners, mobile devices, and RFID chips to keeps tabs on who’s doing what, how long it takes, and where to quickly find specific SKUs or equipment. You can also use reporting tools to help make crucial decisions and reorganize layouts or redefine job roles to make improvements.

2. Inefficient Storage

Some companies fail to appreciate the importance of storage solutions that maximize space and make material handling easier. Look for high density solutions. Minimize the space used for low-density items. Install pallet racking to utilize more of the space overhead and clear floor space for equipment at the same time. A well-planned pallet racking system organizing goods into rows and columns allows faster order picking by reducing the distance needed to reach stock. Of course, you will also need an adequate fleet of lift trucks to fully benefit from it.

3. Lack of Zoning

Establishing separate zones for each product line can also help boost productivity. For instance, a primary zone adjacent to the loading dock could be established for high-volume or bulk items and a regular crew assigned to receiving, picking, and shipping these items. Make sure equipment is always available and aisles allow room for traffic. Other zones are established farther away as items become less difficult to handle or less urgent. This way there is always a priority to follow in conserving time and effort.

4. Disorganized Picking Paths

If you aren’t planning out the efficient picking paths for your entire stock, you’re limiting your own pick rates. This means slower time to customer, longer supply chain cycles, and needless labor costs through wasted time. It can be difficult to create optimized picking runs in the face of changing demands, but teams should be able to complete order selection near the dispatch area, or have the tools to communicate quickly.

5. Poor Health and Safety Conditions

Clean and organized doesn’t ensure a safe environment. Proper management of health and safety issues means looking for potential risks as well as identifying the usual ones. Often, health and safety get overlooked as long as things are running smoothly, raising the odds that some kind of accident will occur. Encourage your employees to report any conditions they feel are unsafe, whether it’s a slippery floor or a poorly stacked pallet. Near misses should count as accidents. Take measures to see they don’t happen again.

Managing a warehouse effectively requires coordination of all these factors. Continuous tracking of assets, employees, procedures, and both the cultural and physical environment must take place. By avoiding these pitfalls you can implement a sound platform and refine or adjust processes for further improvements. If your warehouse design is poor, you’ll find yourself in crisis management mode almost daily instead of being in the driver’s seat.