Those who have studied efficiency in the warehouse has found that 50 to 60 percent of travel time is wasted in material handling facilities. The main objective is to reduce lift truck travel distance and time in specific ways which truly help prevent product damage and equipment abuse. Some of the most frequent efficiency barriers to many warehouses are discussed below.
New product lines are stored where there is extra room, not necessarily where it makes the most sense. Regularly handled items are separated due to storage handling requirements or to size. Because of increased business, Stock-Keeping Units or also called SKUs have proliferated. Order-picking and replenishment speeds are lessened due to bad lighting. The lift truck fleet is very small and more round trips are needed using the same equipment. Forklifts experience slowdowns and detours because of poor equipment maintenance and uneven floor surfaces. Ineffective warehouse layout normally leads to ineffective workflows and dead-end aisles.
There are 3 main areas to focus on if any of the mentioned problems seem familiar at your place of work, or if you are aware of ways to be much more efficient overall:
The layout of the storage, shipping, and receiving areas: Direct the way your product flows by utilizing a facility layout or by drawing a series of arrows. The best facilities provide a single direction, well-organized flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows go in numerous different directions, or double backwards in any spots or go in the opposite to the desired direction, then you have determined your inefficient areas.
Work to improve access to product destinations, minimize travel distances between destination and source, lessen bottleneck areas once you have identified your trouble spots. This can be done by re-vamping any lift truck and high-travel congestion places.
Cross-Docking? For objects which quickly move throughout your facility, consider cross-docking options. The cross-docked inventory is not stored inside the warehouse. It is transported from inbound delivery almost directly to outbound shipping. Some of the sorting and consolidation is usually done within the shipping areas. The simplest items to cross-dock are normally bar coded products with high inventory carrying expenses and predicable demands.