Spring Cleaning Your Order Picking Operation
As spring quickly approaches, many of us will be tidying up our desks, throwing out old paperwork, and preparing our workspaces for the new season. Will you be doing the same in your order picking operation?
Piles and piles of inventory can be a real pain when trying to find products to fulfill orders- this is especially true of order picking operations where seasonal products are rotated in and out as the months go by. If your warehouse looks like a big mess, or just needs a little organization, the most important thing to do is to just start organizing – it can seem to be an overwhelming task, but once your warehouse is organized, you will notice the improvement in efficiency and productivity in order picking.
Organize your warehouse by what works best for your business – either stocking materials by products that sell quicker than others or by groups of products most frequently sold together or by seasonal items. As your product mix will probably change over the years, plan your storage needs based on current and future order picking needs, taking into account your projected growth.
First, throw away empty boxes and packing materials to clear aisles and shelves. When new boxes come in the door, either throw them away immediately, recycle them or move them to an area where they can be reused. Not only will you free up valuable space, you’ll make your order picking and storage workspaces much safer for your workers.
Implement a “handle once plan” – try to handle things just once, instead of moving an item from one location to another, then moving it somewhere else before picking it. Instead, organize items on storage racks, and label the shelves so you know what items are located. Assign products that belong within the same categories to a specific shelving area or aisle and label them. Make sure you put the same items in the same shelves each time so that pickers can better remember where things are located.
Racks within a warehouse enable businesses to maximize their use of space and to organize products efficiently while facilitating order picking operations. But, you can’t just start throwing pallet racks up in your warehouse without having some type of plan and layout. Consideration needs to be taken for shipping and receiving areas, staging areas, assembly and/or production work cells and aisle width. Use your “spring cleaning” time to re-evaluate your use of racking and how you can optimize it for your order picking processes.
You should also use this time to evaluate whether you’re utilizing the proper storage medium. Standard pallet racking systems can be used if you store large pallets of varying, medium-to-large goods, but carton flow racking is better for small or individual parts, in most cases. Using modular racks that can scale to fit your warehouse configuration minimizes wasted space. Plus, if you use racks that can be easily adjusted to product mix changes, you can just reconfigure the racks and use them with different products, saving money.
UNEX is a one-stop shop for all your order picking and storage needs, offering portable or stationary racks that maximize space utilization – and best of all, can grow as your business does. Our Pickologists have organized warehouses from new builds to well-established facilities. Our expertise will help you maximize your warehouse space for optimal storage to help you be better organized, so you can meet your demanding customer service requirements.