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No matter how well-staffed your warehouse might be, or how hard your teams work, every warehouse will encounter a few slower periods.

These lean periods can stem from a combination of factors, both internal and external. No matter what the cause, the impact of reduced productivity on your warehouse can have a huge effect on your business, your finances, and your teams.

What causes lower productivity in warehouses?

If your team is having a harder time getting orders out the door, it could be because of a number of root causes, including:

  • Poor warehouse layout: Sometimes, the simplest explanations are the best – if the warehouse itself is arranged in a way that makes it more difficult to locate items, or even more difficult to simply get around (thanks to narrow aisles, incorrectly placed racks, and the like), then your team could find themselves struggling to meet their goals
  • Difficult inventory locations: The same could be said for where the goods themselves are kept. Even if your team has an easy time navigating your shelves and racks, if the most popular items are kept in a difficult-to-access location, or too far away from their destination, it can make them more difficult to pick with the speed they might need to.
  • Incorrect inventory counts: Of course, even the perfect inventory locations might not help if your systems have inaccurate information about how many of a given item are in stock. If you’ve received an order for an item that’s out of stock, but the system still believes you can fulfill the order, it could lead to your teams heading out on a wild goose chase across the warehouse, wasting valuable time that could be spent fulfilling more viable orders.

The solution to keeping these issues from affecting your warehouse’s productivity sounds simple in theory, but may be trickier to put into practice -preventing these issues where they start.

Preventing Common Warehouse Productivity Issues

Optimized layouts: The importance of a sensible, clean warehouse layout can’t be overstated, no matter how long your warehouse has been around, or what industries it serves. If your pallet racking is too close together, or if your shelves are more maze-like than they are grid-like, it can slow your team down. Make sure your warehouse has clearly-defined through lanes and intersections where traffic can naturally flow to their destination, allowing your staff to pick orders that much more efficiently.

Proper storage for each item: If you have items that can’t fit on normal pallet racks, it may create an easier (and safer!) environment for your team and inventory to look into alternate storage methods like bulk storage racks or gravity racks to help your items find a home that makes more sense for their size and shape.

Clear labeling: Make sure to keep a clear, accurate, and easy to use barcode or RFID system for each of your items, and make sure the warehouse labels you use throughout your storage can clearly communicate the location, identity, and easy tracking of each item your teams pick.

Prioritize safety: In the rush to get things done faster, it can be easy to lose sight of safety concerns. However, by keeping your team safe and providing an easier and safer path to their destination, you can actually encourage safer, freer movement throughout your warehouse, and let your teams pick their items with less slowdown or concerns. With strategic placement of guard rails throughout the warehouse, you can help create a more natural – and safer – flow of traffic in high-demand areas.

If you want to know more about how our shelving & storage options can help your warehouse work better, contact Shelving Inc today!


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