When it comes down to it, working in a small warehouse can make maneuvering stock extremely challenging. Efficiently managing inventory is a primary focus for any successful small business. Your WMS (warehouse management system) will only run smoothly when your warehouse organization and inventory are kept in order. Your warehouse management system really needs to allow for a smooth flow between your showroom floor and the warehouse itself. This way whatever your customer wants is easily accessible. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than walking into the warehouse only to find that the product you’re looking for is not in the right place or is out of stock. Here are some ideas to help organize and manage your inventory when working within the confines of a small warehouse.
- Sticker and Label. Make sure every piece of stock in the entire warehouse is labeled and stickered correctly. If you’re using an SKU (stock keeping unit) it’ll make this process a lot easier. Searching for specific items on the shelf shouldn’t be a headache, it should be as easy as 1-2-3. Check the label, check the number and make sure it correlates with the label on the item. Note: it helps to label the shelves themselves so as to narrow down the search.
- Keep It Together. It’s a very simple concept but it’s extremely effective and will save your picker’s time and energy. Keep all similar products in the same place. Creating specific zones of the warehouse will help your navigate the space much more efficiently. For example, if you’re searching for a specific kitchen appliance, it should be located where other similar kitchen appliances would be. Keep the toasters near the toasters and microwaves near the microwaves. It’s just common sense.
- Stack it. Depending on the shape and size of your warehouse, wherever possible, stack items vertically rather than horizontally. This will dramatically save space in the long run. In the case of oddly shaped furniture, this might not apply, but boxes and pallets can be stacked neatly, conserving much needed space. It’s also important to note that keeping your high selling products stacked at the front and your lower selling items behind will save you a lot of unnecessary rummaging.
- Keep it clean. Make sure you keep the warehouse clean of dust and dirt and clear of any obstructions and obstacles that may be in your path. It’s important to be able to move freely within the space without having to move obstacles, such as over stock or old packaging, out of the way. Be meticulous when it comes to the cleanliness of your warehouse, as it could make all the difference when trying to find that needle in a haystack.
- Shelve it. Making sure you have the right shelving system for your inventory is so important when it comes to warehouse management. There are so many options out there on the market, but your best is to consult somebody like Shaw Material Handling Systems, Inc. that specializes in warehouse storage solutions and machinery.