The individuals who study warehouse efficiency have found that approximately 50 to 60 percent of travel time is wasted in nearly all material handling facilities. The goal is to reduce lift truck travel distance and time in certain ways that help prevent equipment abuse and damage to products. Several of the most frequent efficiency barriers to numerous warehouses are discussed below.
The new products would not always be placed where it makes the most sense, these products are often stored wherever there is extra room. The frequently handled things are separated due to storage handling requirements or to size. Due to increased business, SKUs or Stock-Keeping Units have proliferated. Replenishment and order-picking speeds are lessened due to poor lighting. The lift truck fleet is very small and more round trips are needed utilizing the same machine. Lift trucks face slowdowns and detours due to poor equipment maintenance and uneven floor surfaces. Ineffective warehouse design usually leads to dead-end aisles and inefficient workflows.
If any of the above problems seem familiar at your place of work, or if you know ways to be more efficient overall, there are 3 main areas to concentrate on:
Shipping, Receiving and Storage Layout: Use a facility layout and draw a series of arrows that reflect the way your product flows. The best facilities offer a single direction, well-organized flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows go in numerous different directions, or go in the opposite to the desired direction or double backwards in any spots, then you have determined your inefficient areas.
When you have identified your trouble spots, work to improve access to product destinations, lessen travel distances between destination and source, decrease bottleneck areas within the facility and re-vamp any lift truck and high-travel congestion areas.
Cross-Docking? For objects that rapidly move throughout your facility, consider cross-docking options. The cross-docked inventory is not stored inside the warehouse. It is moved from inbound delivery almost directly to outbound shipping. Some of the sorting and consolidation is usually performed in the shipping areas. The simplest objects to cross-dock are typically bar coded products with high inventory carrying expenses and predicable demands.