Those who have studied effectiveness in the warehouse has found that 50 to 60 percent of travel time is wasted in material handling facilities. The goal is to be able to reduce lift truck travel distance and time in particular ways that truly help prevent machine abuse and product damage. Some of the most common efficiency barriers to many warehouses are discussed below.
New product lines are stored where there is extra space, not necessarily where it makes the most sense. Frequently handled items are separated due to storage handling requirements or to size. Due to increased business, Stock-Keeping Units or SKUs have proliferated. Replenishment and order-picking speeds are lessened because of bad lighting. The lift truck fleet is very small and more round trips are required utilizing the same equipment. Forklifts face slowdowns and detours because of poor equipment maintenance and uneven floor surfaces. Ineffective warehouse design usually causes ineffective workflows and dead-end aisles.
If any of the above issues seem familiar at your workplace, or if you know ways to be more effective overall, there are 3 main areas to concentrate on:
Storage, Shipping and Receiving Layout: Use a facility layout and draw a series of arrows reflecting the way your product flows. The best facilities provide a well-organized, single direction flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows go in many different directions, or double backwards in any spots or go in the opposite to the desired direction, then you have determined your inefficient spots.
When you have identified your trouble spots, work to improve access to product destinations, minimize travel distances between source and destination, decrease bottleneck places in the facility and re-vamp any lift truck and high-travel congestion places.
What is cross-docking? Consider cross-docking options for objects which rapidly move throughout your facility. The cross-docked inventory is not stored inside the warehouse. It is moved from inbound delivery almost directly to outbound shipping. Some of the consolidation and sorting is normally done within the shipping areas. The easiest things to cross-dock are typically bar coded products with predicable demands and high inventory carrying expenses.