The people who study warehouse efficiency have found that approximately 50 to 60 percent of travel time is wasted in most material handling facilities. The objective is to reduce lift truck time and travel distance in particular ways which help prevent equipment abuse and damage to products. Some of the most common efficiency barriers to numerous warehouses are discussed below.
The new products would not always be positioned where it makes the most sense, these products are usually stored where there is extra room. The regularly handled things are separated due to size or to storage handling requirements. Due to increased business, SKUs or also called Stock-Keeping Units have proliferated. Order-picking and replenishment speeds are lessened due to bad lighting. The forklift fleet is too small and more round trips are required utilizing the same machinery. Forklifts experience detours and slowdowns due to uneven floor surfaces and poor machine maintenance. Inefficient warehouse layout usually causes inefficient workflows and dead-end aisles.
If any of the mentioned issues seem familiar at your workplace, or if you know ways to be more efficient overall, there are 3 main areas to focus on:
The layout of the shipping, receiving and storage areas: Direct the way your product flows by using a facility layout or by drawing a series of arrows. The best facilities provide a well-organized, single direction flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows go in the opposite to the desired direction or double backwards in any spots or go in numerous different directions, then you have determined your inefficient spots.
After you have identified your trouble spots, work to improve access to product destinations, reduce travel distances between destination and source, reduce bottleneck places in the facility and re-vamp any lift truck and high-travel congestion areas.
Cross-Docking? For items which quickly move throughout your facility, consider cross-docking options. The cross-docked inventory is not stored in the warehouse. It is moved from inbound delivery almost directly to outbound shipping. Some of the consolidation and sorting is often done in the shipping areas. The simplest things to cross-dock are typically bar coded products with predicable demands and high inventory carrying expenses.