In the world of business, there’s few things more impressive than the sight of a well-organized warehouse buzzing along.

Inventory arriving at its destination, workers travelling to and fro—when properly arranged and organized, your warehouse can achieve productivity levels you never thought possible. One of the best ways to help maintain productivity and improve safety is through good traffic flow optimization.

In the context of warehouse management, “traffic” refers to the flow of workers and product from one point in the warehouse to another. Much like the kind of traffic you encounter on the road, warehouse traffic can begin to affect travel and productivity if not managed and arranged carefully, not to mention the potential safety hazards that can arise. If your warehouse has a traffic problem that’s starting to get out of control, here’s a few ways to keep it manageable (and safer):

 

Carefully map out vehicle routes

One of the fastest ways to alleviate traffic concerns is to get a better understanding and mapping of warehouse layouts to plan your vehicle routes to allow forklifts to move more easily. A lot of people think traffic management consists of simply moving your warehouse shelving and pallet racks around until you have a clear path, but if you really want to maximize efficiency there’s a few other things you’ll need to consider. Take into account the motions that forklifts can take, such as reversing, turning, and sudden stops. When possible, make all vehicle routes one way—it may add additional steps when locating inventory, but it can keep traffic flowing smoothly and more than make up the difference in time saved. Finally, remember to consider lane width as well. Make sure all lanes have a buffer zone slightly wider than the width of your largest vehicle to reduce the risk of accidents. This may begin to affect storage space, but the unused space can be regained elsewhere and the safety benefits will more than make up for it.

 

Keep vehicle routes free of obstruction

Even if you’re keeping an eye out for bigger, more obvious hazards like pallets and dropped cargo, obstructions are still a common source of injury and traffic snarls, resulting in decreased productivity. Make sure all major traffic lanes are kept free of things like cables, watch carefully for developing potholes or major spills, and try to use a porous material like concrete for your floors to increase tire grip and prevent liquid from accumulating.

 

Install proper lighting and signage

An easy and effective way to reduce traffic congestion is with proper signage and route markers. Using reflective paint or tape, set down guide markers on the floor to better indicate paths, hazardous areas, and the like. Make sure you have sufficient industrial lighting to light the way and keep busy intersections marked with needed signage so everyone knows when to stop and look for traffic.

 

Designate pedestrian zones

Much like major city intersections, pedestrian zones need to be carefully marked and indicated to prevent vehicles entering these areas by accident. Install vision panels and mirrors in doors and around corners to help improve area awareness, clearly mark all footpaths so that they’re obvious to both the people walking them and the vehicles trying to avoid them, and provide as much physical separation as possible to prevent any potential accidents or crossover.

 

Make sure all workers are trained on vehicle usage and safety

Even for your staff that isn’t using the forklifts, you need to ensure all your workers are trained in what areas the forklifts need to travel in, speed limits, and so on. Provide regular training seminars on what’s expected from the forklift drivers, train workers on emergency plans when needed, and keep everyone aware of where forklifts travel and when – even temporary visitors.

One Response to “Red Light, Green Light: Warehouse Traffic Management Tips”

  1. This looks amazing! The new era is coming for the warehouse automation.

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