7 ways to optimise warehouse spaces

Those working in logistics recognise that the existence of non-optimized warehouses and distribution centres is more frequent than would be desired. Existence of unnecessary product, ending the stock of required products, excess movements, low productivity, lack of visual management or highly dependent employees are some of the symptoms of this problem. In this context, it becomes essential to define a better organisation so as to improve the management of materials and operation flows. Here are seven principles that will achieve storage excellence and undoubtedly bring benefits such as improved productivity, greater flexibility in the management of operations, reduced occupied space and the stock level, as well as improve the service level.

 

1) Organisation by product family and rotation

Storage areas must be arranged in accordance to the rotation requirements of the stored products. The high-speed products should focus on a prime area (commonly referred to as Golden Zone) and be near the exit site. Those who have less rotation should be arranged in more remote areas. The products should be stored according to weight, size, shape and packaging, and they should be stored in the same area of other products of the same family. Placing products that are often ordered together next to each other is also a way to optimise storage and handling solutions.

 

2) Fixed location by reference

A product (reference) should be stored in one location, ie, no duplicate locations for the same reference. This location should be stable so as to create work habits. These should, however, be periodically reviewed according to the rotation. If the amount requires more than one location by reference, a visual management system with backup references should be used.

 

3) Flexible Layout

The provision of storage must be flexible, allowing the locations to be changed easily and providing extra capacity both in terms of available locations and in terms of machinery for handling stockpile. Flexibility should also strengthen the existence of inbound and outbound routes.

 

4) Standardisation and Visual Management

The focus on standardisation and visual management improves the basic organisation of the job. It helps create working habits on operators by improving the productivity of storage tasks, such as replacement or picking, as well as facilitating the introduction of new improvements.

 

5) Operation Control

A clear definition of team performance indicators, alongside with the allocation of responsibilities to the team and the simplification and optimisation of the workflow are some of the aspects that will help keep the operation under control.

 

6) Error Control System

All references and corresponding storage locations must have implemented a permanent error control system in order to make visible the problems (eg low or wrong locations or stock breaks), ensuring that corrective actions are taken and avoiding recurrence in future.

 

7) Accessibility, Ergonomics and Safety

Accessibility, ergonomics and safety are compelling aspects. Make the products accessible through the corridor; storing heavy products in a low position (the hip point) in order to facilitate the picking, identify products with labels facing the access corridors and bet on appropriate handling equipment.

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