There are few things as uniquely frustrating as warehouse logistics. Ask any distribution centre supervisor whether he enjoys the Christmas period and you’ll get a snort of derision in reply. It is extremely difficult to run a business that relies on seasonal peaks. At one end of the spectrum you’ve got months that are so slow you only need to use half of your equipment, says About.com expert Martin Murray. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got months that are so busy you can’t rent surplus resources quickly enough.
Warehouse logistics are enough to drive an unprepared workforce to despair. However, a workforce that is ready to meet the demands of a season peak is inevitably able to deal with the transition from slow to fast, and back again, with relative ease. A successful distribution centre knows the importance of maximising warehouse space with clever systems and efficient use of pallets and stillages.
Start Thinking In 3D
If you’re not already utilising the 3D potential of your warehouse, you should be. There’s no real excuse for wasting fifteen or twenty feet of overhead racking space. If you’ve got a building that’s thirty five feet high, use thirty foot of it for storing pallets. You could effectively double or even triple the amount of space in your distribution centre. As the experts at WarehousingTips.com point out, it will cost you the same amount of money to heat and light the space. All that you’ve got to do is invest in some extra racking facilities.
Organise Around Your Pick Schedule
If you want to be a successful distribution company, you have to know your pick schedule like the back of your hand. That means being familiar with which products are low frequency picks and which are high frequency. Being intimate with this knowledge is the only way to maximise the potential of your warehouse space. If you don’t know how frequently a certain item is picked for distribution, you simply can’t tell which warehouse location is going to be best for that product. This will result in high frequency products being placed in hard to get locations and low frequency products being placed in the most easily accessible areas, says EzineArticles.com journalist Suzanne Asher. An efficient system, this is not.
Think About Investing In Technology
Automated pick vehicles are actually very common these days. They might be expensive to implement, but they can save a company up to 70% of lost expenditure. Though there are myriad reasons why human pickers might be better than automated systems – the reality is that human employees are slow. They have to walk back and forth to the pick area and they have to manually correct mistakes. It’s true that advanced technological systems aren’t for every warehouse. Yet, it’s important that you consider all of the options when it comes to maximising warehouse and pallet space. After all, efficiency is key to a successful business.
Work With The Seasons
If your business relies on seasonal peaks, it’s vital that you know how to work with those peaks. One of the very best ways to maximise space with clever pallet systems is to always make sure that out of season stock aren’t on the main floor. Carry out regular inventories and use them to familiarise yourself with the products that you distribute. Your main aim should always be efficiency – if your warehouse doesn’t run efficiently, you’ll lose money.
Author Bio: Lucy Collins is a distribution and warehouse logistics consultant. He can usually be found teaching companies how to maximise their space with clever pallet systems. He recommends Avatan handling equipment and pallet storage solutions.