The people who study warehouse efficiency have found that about 50 to 60 percent of travel time is wasted in most material handling facilities. The goal is to reduce lift truck time and travel distance in particular ways that really help prevent product damage and equipment abuse. Several of the most frequent efficiency barriers to numerous warehouses are discussed below.
The new products will not always be positioned where it makes the most sense, these products are often stored wherever there is extra space. The regularly handled things are separated due to storage handling requirements or to size. Because of increased business, SKUs or also called Stock-Keeping Units have proliferated. Replenishment and order-picking speeds are reduced due to bad lighting. The forklift fleet is very small and a lot more round trips are needed utilizing the same machinery. Forklifts face slowdowns and detours because of uneven floor surfaces and poor equipment maintenance. Ineffective warehouse layout usually leads to dead-end aisles and ineffective workflows.
If any of the above issues seem familiar at your place of work, or if you are aware of ways to be much more efficient overall, there are 3 main areas to focus on:
Storage, Shipping and Receiving Layout: Utilize a facility layout and draw a series of arrows that reflect the way your product flows. The best facilities provide a well-organized, single direction flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows go in many different directions, or double backwards in any spots or go in the opposite to the desired direction, then you have determined your inefficient spots.
After you have identified your trouble spots, work to improve access to product destinations, lessen travel distances between source and destination, decrease bottleneck places within the facility and re-vamp any lift truck and high-travel congestion areas.
What is cross-docking? Consider cross-docking options for items that quickly move throughout your facility. 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 usually done in the shipping areas. The easiest items to cross-dock are typically bar coded products with high inventory carrying expenses and predicable demands.