We’re a couple of weeks in to March and starting to have some nice Spring days now Storm Doris has done her worst. This is a great time of year to re-evaluate how your warehouse is organised and make sure you’re getting the maximum use out of every square inch. Here at Ecotile Flooring we are very focused on this at the moment as we’re making room for our 4th machine due in June and we won’t have much storage space left! Even if you aren’t facing this particular challenge getting a jump start on spring cleaning your warehouse is still a great idea because it puts more money in your pocket. Why? Because an organized and efficient warehouse is a more profitable warehouse. Follow these tips for spring cleaning your warehouse today:
1.Design a simple organisational plan and stick to it
The first thing to do is analyse your workflow. A time and motion study can be really useful here to see if any time and energy is being wasted on longer journeys between products that are often sold together. Make sure all employees are aware of your plan so that they can keep everything organized as they work. It’s very tempting during a busy shift to cut corners and not return things to their proper place. This will cause confusion and waste time down the line so once your plan is in place review it every week to make sure it’s still being followed.
2. Your most popular products should be the easiest to access
Use the 80/20 rule: keep the 20% of inventory that is ordered 80% of the time in an easily accessible zone of the warehouse. Use your sales data to determine which items need prime warehouse positioning and which items can be stored out-of-sight. Every 3 months review which stock items have been sitting on the shelves all quarter. Do you need to hold as much stock of this as you do? Is there a demand for it at all? If warehouse space is really tight have a flash sale every 3 months to get rid of slow moving stock and create space for more valuable items – this also generates a nice little cash injection which is always welcome!
3. Stack Vertically
Vertical stacking is great for warehouse organization because it creates more space, utilizes all parts of the warehouse, and altogether looks more orderly. In recent years there have been some game-changing developments in the types of racking available that mean all that previously wasted space is now accessible. It may also be necessary to invest in a new forklift but if you can hold higher levels of stock you can do longer production runs which introduces savings through efficiency and economies of scale so the investment will soon show a return. Alternatively, installing a mezzanine is another option for making use of empty space especially if some of your products are not too heavy. Jungheinrich forklifts Penwright racking solutions
4. Allow plenty of space for Goods In/Goods Out
Mistakes happen when you haven’t got enough room to work freely and check your work. The loading area should be spacious enough to allow them to verify shipments, manage inventory, and unload efficiently. It may seem that the area would be better utilised by squeezing in more stock but calculate the cost of returns, sending orders out again (you’ll be paying for the shipping this time if it’s your mistake) and the damage to your reputation from inconveniencing customers and you’ll soon realise it’s the best use of space.
5. Warehouse technology is your friend
It can seem like adaunting prospect to set up a bar coding system especially if you have thousands of SKUs but in this day and age it’s the only sensible way to manage your inventory. The time saved at stock-take alone will make it worthwhile and errors will decrease dramatically. Let’s not forget that Industry 4.0 is on the way and those companies that don’t invest in the latest technology will be left behind.
Lucinda O’Reilly, Exports & Marketing Director is an integral part of the team that has grown Ecotile Flooring in to the successful manufacturing business it is today. Over the last 20 years she has successfully employed her skills in sales and marketing to ensure Ecotile Flooring is recognised as the market leading manufacturer of PVC interlocking floor tiles. Lucinda’s love of travel means the Ecotile brand is dominant all over Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and India.
To ensure compliance with export regulations Lucinda has gained accreditations from the Chamber of Commerce in Incoterms & Export Licence Controls and Export Procedures & Documentation and has completed the Institute of Export course on Incoterms 2020. She is a member of the Institute of Export, was a finalist in the Natwest Open to Export competition in 2018 and was instrumental in Ecotile Flooring winning a Queen’s Enterprise for International Trade in 2017. Lucinda has recently been interviewed by BBC News and Channel 4 News for her insights on Brexit and is an Export Champion for the Department for International Trade.