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A lot of attention is paid to how items are stored, tracked, and picked once they’re in the warehouse – but what about actually getting them into the warehouse in the first place?

Unloading packages is never anyone’s focal point of designing a warehouse, but it’s an activity that should perhaps be given more priority than it is. Unloading shipments is the first step towards proper item handling and storage, and it can serve as a good “getting off on the right foot” for the rest of your warehouse operations.

But like so many other warehouse operations, it’s one that can quickly get bogged down in redundant steps, inefficient processes, and a whole lot of waiting. If you think your loading & unloading processes can get a little more pep in their step, here’s our favorite tips for streamlining how you unload products:

 

Tips for Unloading & Loading Products in a Warehouse

 

Focus on your inventory layout

Few things will slow down your unloading process faster than trying to ‘run against the wind’ by not working with the way your inventory is already laid out. When unloading products, take a look at how your wire shelves, pallet racking, and industrial shelves are laid out and prioritize items by popularity.

Take the most commonly-sold SKUs (or, perhaps more accurately, the most commonly-replenished SKUs) and keep them on the shelves closest to the shipping/receiving area. This will help cut down on a lot of time spent unloading items, and will keep your warehouse operations flowing a little more smoothly overall – particularly when it comes time to pick the items.

 

Update your dock equipment         

Fast unloading at a dock often requires the right tools and equipment for the job, and in a lot of cases simply installing some new fixtures can really up your teams’ productivity, and solve a lot of potential problems down the line. As space permits, equip your dock with gravity conveyors and rolling racks to help products move that much faster to their destination, and cut down on overall physical labor.

 

Improved dock environments

Above and beyond the equipment being used, the dock itself may actually be contributing to issues like product loss or increased handling time.

Loading efficiency can be impacted by the infrastructure of the dock used to receive product, and small changes can go a long way towards improving conditions. Upgrade your lights to industrial LED lights to improve visibility and prevent miscounts/lost products, strengthen weatherproofing to improve conditions for your workers and inventory, and better ventilation can help fresh air and heat cycle through the area better – this will be particularly welcome for loading docks in less-temperate areas.

 

By making these changes, you may just see an improvement in how your inventory gets loaded into your warehouse, and that can lead to positive changes throughout your entire operation.

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