In inventory management, effective product storage is a common business principle. A properly organized warehouse will make it easier to find specific goods and pick them for a customer order. While picking strategies can simplify the process, it only makes sense that the storage space itself is clean, clear and indexed in a way employees can understand. Moreover, during a physical inventory count, it’s necessary to know what items may require disposal after being on the shelf too long. It’s therefore essential that businesses improve their storage strategies overall for a more productive and efficient workflow at the distribution level.
Establishing a fitting warehouse
The first step in working out inventory storage space is to ensure the warehouse actually works well with business operations. Aero Fulfillment noted many companies put a priority on square footage, when that’s not necessarily the only thing to consider. On the most basic level, there should be considerations for the ground floor staff in terms of the building. It should have adequate infrastructure for heating and air conditioning so it’s never too hot or cold and the floors aren’t hazardous.
For logistics, there’s a matter of placing loading docks in areas that are easily accessible and won’t be affected by inclement weather. Within the structure itself, the electrical set up should be as such that employees can easily recharge equipment such as a NAV Barcode Scanner, as well as provide hardwire network coverage. This latter part is important to consider if the structures being used to stock merchandise can cause radio interference, preventing proper Wi-Fi coverage. Speaking of Wi-Fi, it may be necessary to extend coverage regardless if the company intends to implement the Internet of Things by connecting equipment and storage units for tracking purposes.
In terms of product placement, there’s the matter of creating the right layout, usually a zone system, to better organize the warehouse. It should be categorized so employees can easily remember the location of specific goods for picking. Of course, an alternative to this particular strategy is to prioritize items based on the expected time it takes to retrieve them, according to Inbound Logistics. In this method, inventory turns take less time to adhere to, and opens up new strategies as to how the warehouse should function.
Understanding the movements of products and people
Once a company understands how its warehouse is built, it would make sense to review the storage space from an employee’s perspective. Taking a walk around the place may help supervisors and administrators better understand the situation on the ground floor. It may also be useful to observe foot traffic either directly or through data analytics by linking together time to pick with product placement. In this way, there is a better sense of the routines that occur when orders appear. It also gives companies a visual idea of the frequency of merchandise and inventory movement on a daily basis.
With the placement of items in mind, it’s important to consider product rotation in the present and future sense when creating the ideal warehouse storage space. This is especially crucial when the primary role of the company is not manufacturing but distribution. A good plan to consider is adding a specialized area dedicated to merchandise received from suppliers, and then rotating it into the warehouse accordingly. This can help streamline operations, especially when they go in two directions. It can also establish how much space is actually necessary and what a company should dedicate specific areas to.
Businesses looking to improve their inventory management should check out the “Keeping the Physical World and the Virtual World in Sync” white paper today.