Individuals who have studied efficiency in the warehouse has found that 50 to 60 percent of travel time is wasted in material handling facilities. The main objective is to reduce forklift time and travel distance in specific ways that really help prevent equipment abuse and product damage. Several of the most frequent efficiency barriers to many warehouses are discussed below.
New product lines are stored where there is extra space, not necessarily where it makes the most sense. Frequently handled things are separated due to storage handling requirements or to size. Due to increased business, Stock-Keeping Units or SKUs have proliferated. Replenishment and order-picking speeds are lessened due to poor lighting. The lift truck fleet is too small and more round trips are needed utilizing the same machine. Lift trucks face detours and slowdowns because of poor machine maintenance and uneven floor surfaces. Ineffective warehouse layout normally causes dead-end aisles and inefficient workflows.
If any of the above concerns seem familiar at your workplace, or if you know ways to be much more efficient overall, there are 3 main areas to focus on:
The layout of the shipping, receiving and storage areas: Direct the way your product flows by utilizing a facility layout or by drawing a series of arrows. The best facilities offer a well-organized, single direction flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows go in many 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, reduce bottleneck areas within the facility and re-vamp any lift truck and high-travel congestion places.
Cross-Docking? For objects that quickly move throughout your facility, consider cross-docking options. The cross-docked inventory is not stored in the warehouse. It is transported from inbound delivery almost directly to outbound shipping. Some of the sorting and consolidation is often performed within the shipping areas. The easiest items to cross-dock are typically bar coded products with predicable demands and high inventory carrying expenses.