The individuals who study warehouse efficiency have found that approximately 50 to 60 percent of travel time is wasted in most material handling facilities. The main objective is to be able to minimize lift truck travel distance and time in certain ways which help prevent product damage and machine abuse. Some of the most common efficiency barriers to a lot of warehouses are discussed below.
The new products would not always be placed where it makes the most sense, these products are normally stored wherever there is extra space. The regularly handled things are separated due to size or to storage handling requirements. Because of increased business, Stock-Keeping Units or also called SKUs have proliferated. Order-picking and replenishment speeds are reduced due to bad lighting. The lift truck fleet is very small and more round trips are needed utilizing the same machine. Forklifts face detours and slowdowns due to uneven floor surfaces and poor equipment maintenance. Ineffective warehouse design normally causes unproductive workflows and dead-end aisles.
There are 3 main areas to focus on if any of the above issues seem familiar at your place of work, or if you are aware of ways to be much more effective overall:
Storage, Shipping and Receiving Layout: Utilize a facility layout and draw a series of arrows reflecting the way your product flows. The best facilities offer a well-organized, single direction flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows double backwards in any spots or go in the opposite to the desired direction or go in many different directions, then you have determined your inefficient areas.
Work to improve access to product destinations, minimize travel distances between source and destination, lessen bottleneck places 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 things that quickly move throughout your facility, consider cross-docking options. The cross-docked inventory is not stored in the warehouse. It is moved from inbound delivery almost directly to outbound shipping. Some of the consolidation and sorting is usually done within the shipping areas. The simplest items to cross-dock are typically bar coded products with high inventory carrying costs and predicable demands.