Individuals who have studied efficiency in the warehouse has found that 50 to 60 percent of travel time is wasted in material handling facilities. The main goal is to minimize lift truck travel distance and time in particular ways that help prevent damage to products and equipment abuse. Several of the most frequent efficiency barriers to many warehouses are discussed below.
New product lines are stored wherever there is extra room, not necessarily where it makes the most sense. Regularly handled things are separated due to size or to storage handling requirements. Because of increased business, Stock-Keeping Units or SKUs have proliferated. Order-picking and replenishment speeds are reduced due to poor lighting. The forklift fleet is very small and a lot more round trips are needed using the same machine. Lift trucks experience slowdowns and detours due to poor machine maintenance and uneven floor surfaces. Ineffective warehouse layout usually leads to ineffective workflows and dead-end aisles.
There are 3 main areas to focus on if any of the above concerns seem familiar at your place of work, or if you are aware of ways to be more efficient overall:
The layout of the shipping, receiving and storage areas: Direct the way your product flows by using a facility layout or by drawing a series of arrows. The best facilities offer a single direction, well-organized flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows double backwards in any spots or go in the opposite to the desired direction or go in numerous different directions, then you have determined your inefficient spots.
Work to improve access to product destinations, reduce travel distances between source and destination, reduce bottleneck areas once you have identified your trouble spots. This can be done by re-vamping any lift truck and high-travel congestion places.
What is cross-docking? Consider cross-docking options for objects which rapidly move throughout your facility. The cross-docked inventory is not stored inside the warehouse. It is transported from inbound delivery almost directly to outbound shipping. Some of the sorting and consolidation is normally performed in the shipping areas. The simplest objects to cross-dock are usually bar coded products with predicable demands and high inventory carrying expenses.