Increasing warehouse efficiency means increasing profit. This is probably obvious already, but how efficient is your warehouse, really? How much do you think about it? Are you making optimal use of the space you have, or are you creating an inefficient maze for your warehouse employees?
Regardless of how efficient your warehouse is, you can probably benefit from reevaluating your layout, so here are some tips to help you get the most out of it.
Maximising space is probably the most obvious goal for warehouse improvements, as space is a substantial cost, especially in urban areas. Reducing wasted space is always worthwhile.
As a starting point, make sure your pallet rack rows are laid out across the longer dimension of your warehouse. Not doing so will cost you almost 5% of your floor space. Another 5% can be gained by ensuring that you never place an aisle against a wall – ensure that all aisle give access on both sides.
Even those simple solutions can mean you need a used pallet racking supplier, such as http://www.rackzone.ie/. If you want to take things further, you can look into specialised movable pallet racking, which can increase your capacity by up to 40%, but it is quite an investment, so be sure to look into ROI before committing.
Huge amounts of employee time is spent simply travelling to restock or pick products, so if space is less of a concern, you may want to consider a layout to minimise travel time.
Two layouts that can cut down on distance are a ‘Flying V’ layout, which reduces the distance between the start location and almost any endpoint by 10%, but this requires sharp turns to access some aisles, so may not be appropriate for highly mechanised warehouses. For those, a ‘Fishbone’ layout might be more appropriate. This is slightly less space efficient, but keeps the distance benefit while making any endpoint almost a straight line from the start position.
If your warehouse is larger or your pickers pick multiple items per trip, flexibility and navigability are incredibly important.
The easiest way to improve these is by adding multiple cross aisles. While these take up storage space, they cut down substantially on travel time, as well as potential traffic jams in busier locations.