Category: Warehouse Capacity

Innovative ideas to make your warehouse more efficient

Most businesses are always looking to be more efficient, but never more so than in the present day. A variety of difficult business conditions mean that warehouse and logistics operations are increasingly looking to save money and space. Oftentimes, the best way to do this is to invest in technological solutions – upgrading the infrastructure that your business relies on every day.

Some of the improvements that can be made to warehouse and logistics infrastructure are more familiar, while others are more on the cutting edge. From smarter shelving to roving robots to simply investing in your staff, here are five innovative ideas to make your warehouse space more efficient.

Smarter storage for your warehouse: While there are plenty of cutting-edge technologies you can apply to your warehouse, an equally effective solution is simply to reappraise your storage. A higher density form of pallet racking could easily increase your available storage space by more than half – or double the amount of floor space you have available for other tasks – giving you ample room to grow.

Employee training : Many warehouse and logistics businesses offer some sort of training to employees to help them carry out their roles, often in the realm of health and safety. However, by going above and beyond to offer additional skills training, you can both improve the quality of people’s work and reinforce the ties that bind them to your business. Offering and incentivising training courses can be a great way to sharpen skills, improve practices within your warehouse or logistics operation, and even to fill roles that you may be struggling with or anticipating a need for.

Automation: Warehouse automation isn’t just the future – for many businesses, it’s the present. While Amazon has been the front-runner in this field, they have kept most of their advances to themselves. Numerous companies have stepped into the breach to develop similar autonomous robots and other automated systems, which shepherd pallets and individual items around the warehouse.

The advantages of automation are numerous. Autonomous vehicles and robots can be more reactive, as they receive an order from a WMS and immediately know where to go to carry it out. They also present safety benefits, as they can support heavy loads and pose no risk of injury to human operators, with sensors to prevent them from colliding with people. Their suitability for menial, repetitive work also reduces the physical and mental load on human operators, who can be moved to other tasks.

Tips on How to Effectively Plan a Warehouse Layout Design

Principles of an Efficient Warehouse Layout

Before you start designing your warehouse, you should understand what you’re trying to achieve with your warehouse layout design.

Here are 3 major principles to keep in mind when planning your warehouse:

Space

Consider how to maximise the space you can afford, taking into consideration storage, stock, offices, working areas, empty pallet storage, battery charging, etc.

With a wide variety of vertical racks and freestanding equipment, you should be able to design your warehouse in the way you need it initially, while being flexible enough to change it in the future if desired.

Flow

Warehouse flow can be summarised as the uninterrupted movement of materials, people, and traffic within your building.

Your first goal should be to cut down on any areas of high traffic or potential for cross-flow crashes.

So, each activity that an employee performs must be located as close as possible to the activity that precedes it and proceeds from it.

That also means materials used to perform those activities should be situated as close as possible to each workstation.

Your second goal should be to eliminate as much movement and disruption as possible.

Accessibility

Every product and all products on pallets should be accessible by everyone, usually without the need to move one product to get to another.

That means structuring your pallet racks in rows that are wide enough to accommodate pallet jacks and trucks, and stacking and stocking items strategically for minimal interference with one another.

What Is External Racking?

Are you looking for a way to utilise your yard space that will be completely unaffected by adverse weather conditions? External racking could be the solution for you.

External Warehouse Racking is a storage system that has been galvanised to ensure that the racking will have the longest lifespan possible.

By galvanising the racking you are providing the system with extra protection, ensuring that rust and corrosion are not a problem that you will encounter.

If you have an outdoor space, installing an external racking system will provide useful space for your materials whilst utilising the available space.

Where Could External Racking Be Used?

There are multiple applications that external racking is ideal for:

  • Outdoor retail storage
  • Storage yards
  • Builders Merchants

Advantages of External Racking:

  • Weather resistant – the racking is galvanised to prevent any rust and corrosion
  • Ideal for cold or damp locations
  • Utilising available space in your facility – outdoor space is often under-utilised, outdoor racking allows you to use this space efficiently

Disadvantages of External Racking:

  • The racking must be galvanised to protect it from the elements – this increases the costs and often lead times
  • The products stored must also either not be affected by the elements or be protected from them – this may mean protecting the racking with some form of cladding
  • The floor area must be concreted, flat and level as in an internal warehouse

If you would like more information regarding warehouse racking solutions, call us today on (01942) 603344 or email info@millennium-si.co.uk to arrange a no obligation visit.

5 Critical Pallet Rack Safety Hazards

Physical damage to the pallet rack

Often this damage occurs from lift truck collisions. Sufficient clearance space and clear aisles are both great ways to prevent this kind of damage. Always encourage employees to promptly report all minor impacts or observable damage.

Misaligned Racking Safety Hazard

This can cause collapse or failure of your pallet racking system. During inspection, use the manufacturer’s instructions to check that racks are properly aligned, plum, and level.

Loose Floor Fittings

OSHA is clear that rack columns are bottom-anchored to the floor with column base plates secured with anchor bolts.

Suitability of forklift truck

Your material handling equipment and pallet jacks should be sized to meet your needs.

Weight of stored goods versus capacity of racking system

To prevent dangerously overloaded racks, ANSI/RMI MH16.1 suggests posting the maximum permissible unit load, average unit load, and maximum total load per bay.

In the end, whether your racks are damaged, overloaded, improperly anchored or misaligned, they’re a serious safety hazard that can result in serious injury. OSHA recommends warehouse managers develop a thorough maintenance and inspection program. Be liberal with safety audits that include everything from pallet rack signage all the way up your material handling equipment.

How To Keep Your Warehouse Clean

Top tips on how to keep your warehouse clean and safe

  1. Keep an updated cleaning schedule.
  2. Clear your bins regularly. Bins should never get to the point of overflowing.
  3. Have cleaning supplies available for your staff at all times.
  4. Give employees areas to keep clean.
  5. Clean as you go, ensure everyone tidies up after themselves. It is highly recommended that your staff clean litter such as metal shavings as they work maintaining the standard set by your firm and keeping the area hazard free.
  6. Recycle the rubbish that you can.
  7. Provide staff with the correct safety equipment.
  8. Barriers – there are a range of barriers you can get for your warehouse to ensure complete safety of your staff members and keep restricted access to vehicles such as forklifts. This not only keeps your warehouse cleaner, but also ensures organisation.
  9. Label shelving and floors to ensure your staff know where everything is located.

How To Increase Your Warehouse Capacity Ready For Brexit

If you’re a business owner relying on imports and exports for your business to function, Brexit is most likely going to be an unwelcome distraction this year. Uncertainty over supplies is going to be the biggest problem, therefore stockpiling is going to be the best answer to getting through the uncertainty in March.

Carrying more stock, however, means freeing up more storage space and doing that can mean taking a fresh look at how you use your warehouse space and where possible reconfiguring it. Reconfiguring your warehouse space is likely to be far more cost effective than moving to a different warehouse and it saves the time involved in moving everything.

To begin with it’s a good idea to do an inventory of the stock you already have. You will need to factor in any likely increases in stock levels and how much demand there is likely to be.

Next take a close look at your current storage methods – you may find that pallet racking needs to be replaced so that it makes better use of the space available. If the space between racking is overly generous then you could add considerably more storage capacity and still provide enough space for your forklifts and pickers.

If you are taking on extra stock, then it will be important to make sure that you can easily access stock that will be in higher demand in the coming months. This means distances to the exits should be shorter than for products you are storing long term.