Warehouse flow is a major factor of your industrial efficiency. A sluggish flow will have a negative impact on more than just profits, so keeping your products moving is essential. But how can industrial storage facilities improve their flow without dramatically increasing expenses?
There are several practical options available to warehouse operators for efficiency improvement. Below, we will list the top five tips for a quicker flow in your industrial warehouse.
1. Invest in high-quality industrial shelving.
Heavy duty industrial shelving is one of the best investments a facility can make towards improving warehouse flow. Shelving that is not rated for the weight of your inventory disrupts flow and poses a risk to employee safety. Similarly, not having enough industrial storage racking will negatively affect efficiency.
A high-quality shelving system provides optimal organization for workers to locate, retrieve and store inventory quickly. Even currently functional flow systems often see improvement from new warehouse storage racking with updated technology and accessories.
2. Review your warehouse layout.
When is the last time you reviewed your warehouse layout? As new inventory and storage solutions are added, changes must be made to accommodate them. Some factors to keep in mind when assessing your facility layout:
- aisle size;
- inventory shelf life;
- mobile equipment, such as forklifts, ladders, etc.; and
- distance an employee will travel to retrieve an item
Accessibility is key to an optimal warehouse flow, so do not ignore layout concerns.
3. Consider automation technology.
Automated storage and retrieval systems are a smart way to utilize unused vertical space. They also recover floor space, improve accessibility, and are able to lift inventory in a variety of sizes. The investment in an automated storage system is paid back quickly by its ability to lower labor costs, reduce picking errors, and instantly recover valuable floor space that can be used for additional revenue generating activities.
One of the most trusted names in storage automation is Modula. They manufacture economical vertical lift systems such as the Sintes1, and offer a solution for most warehouse efficiency needs.
4. Make use of mobile storage.
A common issue for many facilities is finding a compact system for heavy—and sometimes bulky—items. This is where mobile storage solutions such as ActivRac perform well. Mobile shelving utilizes existing industrial shelving or pallet racking to maximize floor space and improve accessibility. And here’s the best part: the system safely holds 7,000-30,000 pounds!
Dynamic mobile storage systems are effectively used in various storage applications, including:
- mechanical parts,
- athletic equipment, and
- heavy machinery.
Another effective mobile solution is industrial bins on carts. They come in a variety of sizes and can store and transport many items, such as supplies, tools or cleaning accessories.
5. Practice good housekeeping.
Speaking of cleaning accessories, a commonly overlooked warehouse flow factor is facility cleanliness. While it’s not imperative that the floors be scrubbed until sparkling, poor housekeeping can (sometimes literally) throw a wrench in your efficiency. Built-up grime and scattered inventory is a hazard to health, safety and productivity.
At the very least, all walking spaces accessed by employees should be regularly cleaned and free of dislocated inventory. Shelving and storage accessories should also be routinely checked for stability and wear.
With today’s warehouse technology, most flow improvements are quick and easy to implement. Many of them are also very economical when comparing the initial investment to the resulting return. Keep that in mind when considering any of the five mentioned flow solutions, and most importantly: don’t procrastinate on improving your industrial warehouse flow!
Let McMurray Stern Inc. find the best warehouse storage solutions for you.
We are the southern California authority on warehouse efficiency and storage systems. Contact us online or give us a call at 800-342-8994 today to speak with our knowledgeable team. You may also visit our website to view our quality industrial storage solutions.