People 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 objective is to be able to reduce forklift travel distance and time in certain ways which help prevent damage to products and machine abuse. Several of the most frequent efficiency barriers to many warehouses are discussed below.
New product lines are stored wherever there is extra space, not necessarily where it makes the most sense. Regularly handled objects are separated due to size or to storage handling requirements. Because of increased business, SKUs or Stock-Keeping Units have proliferated. Order-picking and replenishment speeds are reduced due to poor lighting. The forklift fleet is very small and more round trips are required utilizing the same machinery. Lift trucks face slowdowns and detours due to poor equipment maintenance and uneven floor surfaces. Ineffective warehouse layout usually leads to dead-end aisles and ineffective workflows.
There are 3 main areas to concentrate on if any of the above concerns seem familiar at your place of work, or if you know ways to be more efficient overall:
Storage, Shipping and Receiving Layout: Use a facility layout and draw a series of arrows that reflect the way your product flows. The best facilities offer a well-organized, single direction flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows go in many different directions, or go in the opposite to the desired direction or double backwards in any spots, then you have determined your inefficient spots.
Work to improve access to product destinations, lessen travel distances between source and destination, lessen bottleneck areas when you have identified your trouble spots. This can be done by re-vamping any forklift and high-travel congestion places.
What is cross-docking? Consider cross-docking options for items which rapidly move throughout your facility. The cross-docked inventory is not stored inside the warehouse. It is moved from inbound delivery almost directly to outbound shipping. Some of the consolidation and sorting is normally done in the shipping areas. The easiest objects to cross-dock are normally bar coded products with predicable demands and high inventory carrying costs.