Do you find yourself running out of warehouse space or seeing warehouse costs rising continually? Perhaps you think that a bigger, better and smarter warehouse is what you need. While you may not be entirely wrong, you might want to consider the design of your current warehouse space before looking for new locations.
Here is what you need to keep in mind when you look at your current warehouse design with a critical eye.
#1 Has the warehouse been designed on the basis of current/previous data and metrics?
Before you build a warehouse, you need operational data. Check and see whether the data is current or are you relying on historical data that has no relevance today.
You need to check for current daily shipment and receiving cycles. Keep margins for fluctuations and temporary overflow. That is your current requirement.
Now make a projection for 6-7 years into the future. Does your current design hold-up to those numbers?
#2 Are you relying on an unsuitable/ inefficient racking systems and MHE for the storage media?
Your storage racks must face the receiving area. This way forklift operators can drive straight in and pick up material to carry to the storage bay.
If the racks for storage are at a 90% angle to the forklift path, your workers waste time in slow movements and there could be bottlenecks too.
Strike the right balance between efficient movement of goods and MHE, and storage capacity to keep costs at a manageable level.
#3 Are you utilising warehouse storage space efficiently?
A well-designed warehouse keeps sufficient space for a goods receiving area, and makes sure it is separate from the unloading bays. This way if deliveries coincide with dispatch, then goods, people and vehicles will not jostle each other for space. Also, less crowding means less confusion and reduced chances of errors or risk of injuries.
#4 Have you given enough thought to cross-docking?
Does your business need to pick up goods from upstream suppliers and send it on to downstream customers quickly? Do you find yourself wasting time and space in storing these materials?
Perhaps you need to consider a cross-docking system where, unlike a typical warehouse, you do not offer storage racks but rapid transit of materials.
#5 Is the picking and shipping process seamless or complex?
In an ideal scenario, the picking path should terminate at the packing and dispatch area, and not to another corner of the warehouse. Aim for the shortest route possible to save time and effort. Your products vary depending on market fluctuations but keeping the more popular and often shipped products together will improve throughput.
Keep these points in mind while designing your current or new warehouse and get better warehouse capacity.