13 Tips for Your Ultimate Warehouse Design & Layout
We recently spoke to Cody Adams, Formaspace (https://formaspace.com/)'s Production Manager, to get his recommendations on how to improve warehousing operations at your facility. While Cody wants to issue a disclaimer right off the bat saying, "there's not one perfect warehouse layout design for everyone because every industry and warehouse is unique," he hopes you'll find the following collection of tips useful:
TIP 1: Learn More about Your Warehouse Operations by Engaging Outside Experts to Assess Your Warehouse Layout
Be open to the idea of getting expert advice. Warehouse design has changed a lot in recent years, as large distribution centers (DCs) have moved away from single channel to multichannel inventories and even smaller warehouses have begun to automate many operations.
An experienced set of eyes can quickly scan your warehouse layout and spot signs of trouble, which can range from visible dust settled on products in storage (indicating obsolete inventory) to inefficient use of use of dock space (such as when put-away areas aren't cleared out quickly enough).
Formaspace offers its Rapid Plant Assessment consulting services to warehouse and factory operators. In as little as 30 minutes, we can offer practical suggestions to help make your operations more efficient (https://formaspace.com/articles/material-handling/tell-fa...).
TIP 2: Use the 5S Process to Improve Efficiency and Reclaim Non-Productive Warehouse Storage Space
If your warehouse has been in operation for many years, "stuff" has a way of accumulating in places that should be used for valuable inventory and stock.
We recommend the 5S process (https://formaspace.com/articles/manufacturing/launch-5s-p...) popularized by "The Toyota Way" to reclaim floor space. Once you reclaim your floor space, go vertical for increased storage density (https://formaspace.com/articles/laboratory-furniture/pharmaceutical-company-saves-1-million-annually/).
TIP 3: Implement a Warehouse Management System (WMS) to Collect and Analyze Measurable Historical Data
In today's competitive business environment, data collection is imperative. Today's Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), not only track inventory, they collect critical operational data.* Often, WMS can make radical recommendations, such as changing your product slotting philosophy away from conventional product value-based ABC categorization toward often counter-intuitive yet highly-efficient approaches, such as floating inventory warehouse layouts.
*You can also rely on insights garnered from Process Mining tools, which we've written about recently (https://formaspace.com/articles/material-handling/process-mining-helps-manufacturing-assembly/).
We recommend implementing automated asset tracking data collection methods to avoid downstream errors — manual entry is a no-no. Go a step further and assign unique tracking numbers to assets, don't rely on serial numbers (which are often not unique). And don't just track movable assets, track your fixed assets as well.
Armed with accurate data, you'll be able to improve forecasting. For example, you can use asset tracking to find out how often inventory is picked throughout the year — use drop shipping directly from the manufacturer for SKUs with low seasonal demand.
TIP 4: Identify Warehouse Best Practices and Make Realistic Goals for Improving Your Warehouse Design
Many consultants use the acronym FAST (which stands for Flow, Accessibility, Space, and Throughput) when making recommendations to help you achieve warehouse design best practices. The FAST acronym is also useful for communicating upward to senior management (KPIs can be associated with each category).
Acronyms aside, it's important to find current information on best practices in the warehousing industry that can apply to your individual circumstances (e.g. an apples-to-apples comparison). Trade associations and other industry information sources can help.
Armed with a sense of industry best practices (such as product order cycle times), you can establish your own set of measurable metrics to track and improve upon.
Here are some key areas to work on:
Read more ... https://formaspace.com/articles/material-handling/13-tips-for-ultimate-warehouse-design/?utm_source=openpr&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=article-090617
Formaspace advances the spirit of discovery and creation through the design and manufacture of custom business furniture. Our furniture marries form to function with flexible solutions for clients in the laboratory, industrial, and office environments.
Formaspace serves over 80% of the Fortune 500, as well as universities, governments, small businesses, and individuals.
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