Your small business may not have the sprawling storage warehouse of your dreams, but you can leverage the space in a warehouse of any size to work for you. Your warehouse layout affects the efficiency of your employees, safety of your products, and success of your inventory management processes. Audit your current use and layout of your warehouse space to make changes to help your business run smoother.
Consider the Warehouse Use
Having a clear understanding of the use of the space and activities that take place in the warehouse helps you redesign the layout for efficient, organized use. Common activities that take place in a warehouse include receiving goods, storing merchandise, picking and packing orders, preparing shipments, assembling items, and handling administrative tasks. Some spaces may serve multiple purposes, but you need enough room to handle all of the activities efficiently. If you use forklifts to move products, you need plenty of space for the equipment to move through the warehouse.
Look at your current layout. Does it support all of the necessary activities that happen in your warehouse? Talk with your warehouse staff to identify inefficient layout features. They’re the ones who work there every day, so they likely have some input on better ways to arrange the space.
Draw Up a Plan
Apply the input and space use information you collect to reworking the layout. Inspect the physical space as you put together your drawing of the new layout to decide how you can best use the space. You might need to rearrange your racking, adjust the aisle width, and change the location of different products. Moving items that sell quickly closer to your packing and shipping area can make the picking process faster. Sketch the new layout plans on a piece of paper using a scale drawing to make sure everything can work within the space as planned.
Find More Space in a Small Warehouse
If your warehouse space is limited, it may seem impossible to make the space efficient and capable of holding everything, but you can often create found space with some changes. Every warehouse is different, and your warehouse needs are different than other businesses, so use the suggestions and adapt them to fit your business. Some options for finding more space in your current warehouse include:
- Narrowing the aisle width to allow more rows of racking
- Moving warehouse office space to another location in the building
- Eliminating outdated, damaged, or poorly selling products
- Moving any activities out of the warehouse that you can perform somewhere else
- Reducing the amount of inventory you keep on hand
- Adjusting slots to fit products exactly to allow more items to fit on racking
- Hanging hooks or shelves on open wall space including areas above workspaces, docks, and doors
- Removing any supplies, materials, or tools that aren’t used in the warehouse
- Avoid overstocking packing supplies by getting smaller delivers more frequently
Reworking your warehouse space allows you to use best practices for inventory management to keep your business running efficiently. Maximize the available space to improve your layout for greater organization and efficiency.