Tag: Warehousing (page 1 of 2)

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.

Millenium SI Solutions for Common Warehouse Problems

Use Your Vertical Space

Look up and make sure you’re using all the vertical space available. Investigate storage media to take advantage of your clear span height. How much cubic feet of vertical space is not being used? Be sure to know how your design might impact your sprinkler design and fire code.

Analyze Your Department Space

Identify functions that do not require high ceilings in areas where lower stacking heights are dictated by the clear height. We often see unused overhead space where large departments like packing and shipping are performed.

Consolidate Locations

If you have multiple locations for storing the same item, consider combining them to create better warehouse space utilisation. This can be done during the putaway process and as a standalone function.

Drop Shipping As An Option

If you store and ship large items, consider utilising some form of drop shipping to reduce your in-house inventory and costs.

Use Off-Site Location for Overstock

If you store a large quantity of excess inventory for a few items, consider some type of offsite storage for the excess, thus freeing up space for supporting the fulfillment operation.

Mezzanine Installation

If your building layout permits, consider the use of a mezzanine to house functions that do not require high-bay storage. These can be expensive and are fairly permanent, but will maximise warehouse space utilisation.

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.

Racking safety checklist

Use this handy racking safety checklist to check your racking’s condition and ensure that it is being used safely.

It’s important to have your warehouse’s racking inspected by a professional on a regular basis to ensure that it has not become damaged and still meets all building and safety regulations.

Whilst professional racking inspections are important, it’s just as important to keep up with your own regular checks to make sure that employees are always working in a safe environment.

Familiarise yourself with the different parts of your racking and then use this handy checklist to perform regular safety checks.

  • Racking use

Your racking will have been designed, built, and positioned according to safety regulations and with its original purpose in mind. It should not be used for a different purpose unless this has been cleared with an expert.

Is the racking being used as it was intended?

Is it in the correct location?

  • Check for damage

Racking can easily become damaged over time, particularly in warehouses where machinery like forklift trucks are used. Inspect the different parts of the racking for signs of damage like dents, rust, and missing or loose parts.

Parts to inspect include:

  • Beams
  • Posts
  • Base plates
  • Frame bracing
  • Beam safety locks
  • Column guards

 

  • Debris

Your racking and the area surrounding it should always be kept clean and tidy to prevent accidents and avoid it becoming damaged. Empty packaging should be removed and disposed of immediately and not left on or around the racking.

Is the racking and the area surrounding it free from rubbish and debris? 

  • Maximum load

Your racking will have a maximum load limit that should always be adhered to. Make sure that all employees are aware of what this limit is and check that it is being adhered to.

Is maximum load limit being adhered to?

Is there anything extra leaning up against the racking?

To book a professionalrack safety inspectionfrom one of our qualified personnel, give us a call on 01942 603 344 or email info@millennium-si.co.uk.

When To Use Cantilever Racking

Cantilever racking is a type of storage system which is used for all sorts of purposes and typically appears in builder’s merchant yards and factories. Like any racking system, cantilever racking is very versatile as well as being strong.

Cantilever racking is at its most useful when used to store longer lengths of materials and items, which typically consist of sheets of wood, steel, tubes, pipes and so on. A cantilever system can also be used to effectively store odd shaped items which might otherwise take up a lot of space in a warehouse or other storage facility.

The typical cantilever systems we see in use today are used to store items that can be up to 10 metres long and up to a 30,000kg in weight. The arms used are usually around 2 ½ metres with adjustment possible depending on the size of materials stored.

The other great thing about using cantilever lever racking is the ability to add to it over time as storage requirements increase. You can simple add to the bays as time goes on to massively increase your storage capacity.

Cantilever racking can be used indoors and outdoors (as long as it is galvanised). Please get in touch if you would like to know about the racking systems we have available.

Is Your Warehouse Ready For Black Friday?

This November is likely to be a record breaking month for mobile smartphone shopping with 10bn predicted to be spent this year. Meanwhile overall spending across all devices is predicted to top 20bn.

The behaviour of online consumers in recent years has been shaped by Black Friday, an event imported from the United States where retailers offer large discounts on their items. Unlike the high street where peak times tend to be the run up to Christmas and the January Sales people are understandably keen to purchase presents online in November to take advantage of low prices.

All this extra spending on online purchases will certainly increase the demand for storage and distribution facilities and bring added pressure to capacities. So how can you adapt your warehouse space to this demand?

Fortunately, there are several ways including the introduction of mezzanine floors to maximise unused headroom. Investing in additional racking and shelving will also help increase storage space significantly. Investing in double racking for example will mean pallets can be stored two deep.

If space is restricted then you could consider reducing the number of access aisles to further increase pallet storage capacity.

Why You Need Warehouse Crash Barriers

Warehouses can be dangerous places for staff when fork trucks are constantly moving around and racks are stacked high with various goods. This is where crash barriers act as an important safety feature.

The number of injuries in the transport and storage industry numbers approximately 2,500 every year. Each one of these incidents will not only result in injuries and even fatalities in some cases but also damage to goods and time off work for those with seriously injured.

Crash barriers then are an essential feature all warehouse designs should incorporate along with layouts that help minimise the potential for accidents to occur in the first place.

Warehouse barriers should be designed to serve a number of functions in addition to protecting workers. Barriers will minimise damage to racking which can be expensive to replace and reduce the impact of collisions with moving objects such as forklift trucks.

Warehouse crash barriers do this by spreading and absorbing the force of impact, which dramatically reduces the injuries likely to be sustained. They also act as a means to slow down vehicles during collisions.

If you require more information about installing racking and safety features in your warehouse, give us a call.

How To Make Pallet Storage In Industrial Warehouses More Efficient

One of the first things to do when you have identified a warehouse suitable for your storage needs is to assess how that space is used for optimum efficiency.

To do this you will need a storage professional to help you not only help plan how the space will be used but also increase the profitability of your warehouse. Of course a lot about planning your space will depend on the kinds of products you will be storing and how much traffic is likely to be entering and exiting the building.

When it comes to the pallets themselves there are three important areas to keep think about:

The size of products
The ideal use of space is to store your products according to their common sizes although this may not always be possible. The focus either way should be to keep the fastest moving products nearest the exit door so that productivity can be maximised.

The number of pallets
When calculating how many pallets you need to fill the available rack space you should also allow for growth in stock levels over time.

The size of your pallets
It is important to allow some clearance around your pallets rather than have them tightly packed together. A forklift truck should have enough room to pick a pallet out of each slot without risking damage to surrounding products.

There are of course plenty of other factors to consider including the rent per sq ft and so on but the above should help get you started. If you need more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How To Improve Forklift Safety In Warehouses

Fatal accidents involving forklift trucks have been reduced significantly thanks to better safety procedures, training and advances in technology. Unfortunately, there are still just over a handful of fatalities each year so what can be done to improve safety to reduce accidents in today’s warehouses?

Driving a forklift truck brings its own set of responsibilities that can soon be overlooked if a driver is in a hurry and cuts corners. This is why proper training to drive forklifts is a must and compulsory in organisations.

Another factor, which is often overlooked is the general condition of the vehicle. Is it inspected regularly for signs of wear and tear? Tires are of particular importance if the vehicle is driven outside on rough terrain. Just like a car poor tyre condition can be a cause of many accidents.

It is also important to select the right forklift truck for the job. If there warehouse within which the forklift is operating has narrow aisles, then a vehicle with a good turning radius is a must not only from a safety point of view but in terms of productivity as well.

It is also important to plan the layout of your storage facility to ensure that forklifts can be operated safely.

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