Striped lines on warehouse floor

 

From wire utility carts and NSF carts to fancy battery-powered models, mobile carts are a common sight in many warehouses these days.

Their mobility, storage capacity, and durability is valuable for any warehouse that needs extra storage, but if your warehouse is a little more pressed for space you may find yourself having a hard time moving those carts around.

Much like forklifts and other types of heavy machinery, it’s always handy to try and clear a path for these carts to get to their destinations and carry products around. Here’s a few quick tips to get your carts around the warehouse more easily without causing further traffic or slowdown in item handling:

 

Track the current movement of your carts

Do you have a set path carts have to follow, or are they called into service as needed at various points? Are they only used for certain steps of the picking process, or are they used throughout the warehouse for picking of individual items for order fulfillment? The best way to start improving traffic flow is to understand where and how your carts move through the warehouse.

 

See what else is moving products

Mobile warehouse carts aren’t going to be the only thing that ships products around, and getting these items to cooperate is going to go a long way towards minimizing traffic. Your warehouse probably has gravity conveyors to help with inventory, not to mention other vehicles like forklifts. Start off by checking the path those take—are the warehouse conveyors lined up in a way that you can easily follow to your destination? Are there clear spots along the typical forklift path for the carts to move through, or will you need to widen aisleways?

 

Check aisle width

Speaking of aisle width, this can be a huge contributing factor to your cart movement. There’s a balance to be struck here—narrower aisles can help items get picked more easily, but wider aisles can accommodate for traffic and vehicle movement more easily. After you get a better idea of your carts’ typical traffic patterns, focus on widening those aisles. Move your pallet racks and warehouse shelving around as needed to let traffic through more easily, but make sure to not accidentally cramp another area.

 

Measure travel time

Finally, even after making the adjustments, you’ll want to continue to track travel time and make sure everything is flowing as needed. With both manual and automated carts, track their time to each destination (both the items’ locations and the picking/shipping area where they’re processed) and see where further hangups happen. If one particular intersection looks like it’s always a problem, you may have an opportunity for further revision and action to be taken.

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