Organizing shelves and racking is an easy, effective way to improve productivity in the warehouse and maximize your use of space. Here are some of our top tips for a better organization:
One of the best ways to make sure that your storage is organized and optimized, is to ensure that you are using the right kind of storage. If you have a lot of palletized stock, you should use pallet racks – you can store the entire pallet and load efficiently without having to unload. If you have a lot of longer products (pipes and timber, for example) then you should be using cantilever-type storage – you’ll be able to access and sort your products much more quickly and easily. For panels, worktops, boards, and the like, vertical storage racks are the way to go. While smaller volume, low throughput warehouses can use standard metal shelving to great effect, full-blown distribution centers will need to use the more heavy-duty type.
The key is to make sure that the type of storage you invest in is the right type for your business and operations – don’t skimp here, as the money you save buying high-quality shelving and racking solutions will be paid back in the longevity of the equipment, improvements in productivity and reduced health and safety issues.
You can organize your shelving or racking so that similar products are grouped together. So, if you have multiple items that are often shipped together – lamps and lightbulbs, shampoo and conditioner, pet leads and harnesses, for example – then it can make picking those products much quicker and easier if they are on the same aisle.
If you have the same set of products throughout the year, with no deviation, then it is easy for your pickers and loaders to find where they need to go. If, on the other hand, you have changing product sets or seasonal items, then the best way to clearly show where each item is located is by using labels. These can be attached to rack ends, individual shelves, ceilings, or floors – wherever is best for your site – and make picking easier, quicker, and more productive.
Once you have decided roughly where a product set will be located within your shelving system, try to be logical about exact positioning. This can mean that you sort goods by size (s – m – l) or by manufacturer name, for example. Whichever method of sorting you choose should be replicated across your site so that there is consistency and your employees do not need to remember different patterns.
It’s a fairly obvious piece of advice, but your fast-moving items should always be located at the easiest point of access – so within easy reach and at the beginning of your aisles. This makes the process of picking these items quicker, improving the productivity of your pickers, and it also makes restocking the shelves or racks quicker – improving your loader productivity as well.