Messy-Warehouse

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According to a study conducted by Real Simple magazine, the average American spends 55 minutes per day searching for lost or misplaced items in their home. What if they were to calculate how much time was wasted by workers searching disorganized warehouses and workplaces for inventory and supplies?  January is national “Get Organized” month. With the start of a fresh new year, it’s the perfect time to commit to organizing your workplace and business. Cutting down on clutter, deep cleaning the warehouse and organizing inventory increases efficiency and productivity while reducing error and safety hazards.

We will be posting tips all month long to help you get organized. But first, here are some important steps to follow when taking the plunge:

1. Where To Start?

While you may have several areas in your business that need organization, identify which spot is making operating smoothly the most difficult. Has there been a repeated customer service issue that could be prevented? Remember, your employees are your best resource! Be sure to ask them what their biggest obstacles have been this year.

2. When To Start?

Warehouse-Workers

Source: bloomberg.com

While everyone in your company wants a cleaner and neater environment to work in, it may be difficult to find volunteers willing to put in the extra hours of work. Have a meeting explaining the benefits, and even offer a reward for their hard work. Who doesn’t love pizza while organizing? Most importantly, join in on the fun. Supporting your employees by helping will only help motivate them.

If your budget cannot allow the extra hours of overtime, don’t give up.  Luckily, finding an hour or two in a regularly scheduled day, week, or even month to work on organizing can steadily have an effect.

3. How to Start

Warehouse-Cleaning

Source: mattressessale.eu

Come up with a game plan. Make a list of what needs to get done in the first area you’ve chosen. Having a laid out map or plan will help you not miss important areas. More importantly, the satisfaction of tackling each area will feel great! For example, choose when you will give the area a deep cleaning. Before or after the organizing? Will you need to hire outside help? When will inventory be taken? Could purchasing more storage or shelving be helpful in keeping your warehouse more orderly? Be sure to decide when tackling each of these steps will work best for you and your employees.

Once you’ve followed these steps, it’s time to get started. Here are a few basic tips to help you along the way:

1. Clear The Aisles

Messy-Warehouse-Aisle

Source: billypossum.com

Aisles in a warehouse cluttered with inventory, boxes and pallets are never helpful to a business. Not only does climbing over mountains of boxes add extra time in locating product, it creates a huge safety hazard. Be sure to organize the items blocking your aisles and find them homes.

2. Use A Labeling System

Warehouse-Labeling-System

Source: aalhysterforklifts.com

If you haven’t already, it’s important to implement a labeling system to keep your inventory organized and easily located. Every product should be given a category, and eventually products of the same category should be within the same aisle. Several guides are available online, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to embrace technology and use an electronic system instead.

3. Utilize Vertical Space

Source: dexion.com

Source: dexion.com

The best feature of industrial shelving is the ability to stack your inventory both vertically and safely. With the right shelving, precious storage space in your warehouse can be doubled or even tripled in size. Imagine all of the product in the above photo stored in the same space without the top three levels. Impossible!

4. Identify Your Commonly Picked Items

Pareto-Principle-80-20-Rule

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Be sure to store your best sellers or most commonly-used items grouped together and in an area that can be accessed easily by workers. Follow the 80-20 Rule which suggests grouping together the 20% of your SKUs that complete 80% of your orders. Be mindful that this area will have the most traffic and avoid storing the items in an area that will need to be accessed by a forklift or will take a lot of time for someone to walk to.

5. Identify Overstock

An item that often takes up precious space in a warehouse is inventory that isn’t moving as quickly as you’d like it to, if at all. Be sure to note these items and begin to clearance them or sell to another company. Although you may be losing a small amount of profit, any amount made is better than the cost of it sitting in your warehouse.

 

Remember, your warehouse didn’t become disorganized overnight, and sorting it back into normalcy will not get done quickly either. Remind yourself and your team to be patient, ask for help when needed, and take their time.

 

 

 

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