10 Ways to Repurpose Your Current Warehouse Equipment Storage for More Efficient Solutions

Posted in

Warehouse Management

| Written by: MarkSmith

Today’s innovations in material handling equipment mean you can find efficiencies with more than just compact pallet racks or mobile shelving. Check out these 10 tips to create a more efficient facility:

  • Do SKU Audits. See exactly how many touches a particular part or piece of inventory has, and track how long it spends in transit. Use this knowledge to identify trends – and inefficiencies.
  • Use the Cube. The cube is the cubic space inside your facility. Think in terms of cubic feet instead of square feet – if you don’t use the cube, then you’re wasting space.
  • Consider Automation. Obtaining any kind of automated warehouse system or automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) can help create additional space in your existing facility footprint by taking advantage of previously unused space.
  • Analyze Your Operations and Picking Methodology. In a scenario with low level order-picking of cartons from pallets, you can reduce labor and create a safer environment by having lift truck operators rotate the pallets 180 degrees each day to create easy carton access, for example.
  • Re-Slot Your Warehouse at Least Annually. You know the 80/20 rule: 20% of your inventory represents 80% of your product movement. If this is true for you, put faster moving items closer to the dock to increase picking efficiency and create shorter travel distances. Re-slot annually – or more often – to keep this efficiency.
  • Use WMS. Warehouse management software (WMS) is designed to accurately and efficiently fulfill the various operational requirements of a wide variety of picking and order-fulfillment scenarios. When you realize the potential of having good data, it translates into fewer errors, less paperwork, and an improved overall performance.
  • Consider Using Fewer Package Sizes. Here’s a quick way to decrease shipping material expenses and reduce freight costs: Have only three or four shipping container sizes – or at least reduce the number of options as much as possible. Doing this also lets shipping personnel pack orders more quickly and efficiently.
  • Consider Buying Used Equipment. If purchasing pre-owned equipment can save you at least 25%, it may be a good option. Usually, you can find great cost savings in purchasing used material handling equipment.
  • Set Personnel Incentives Based on meeting or exceeding KPIs. You can incentivize warehouse employees to increase productivity with an eye toward key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Consider Leasing Capital Equipment. If you find efficiencies that could be created by replacing major equipment but you don’t have the required capital-expense budget, then consider the many leasing options available for material handling equipment and other such purchases.