The unprecedented rise of eCommerce in the last years has led to a rapid growth of the average warehouse space.
To keep up with demand, the US businesses will need 330 million square feet of additional warehouse space by 2025. With the growing inventories and spaces, warehouse managers will need to invest in smart systems.
Here are nine warehouse organization ideas, from easy fixes to structural updates that can save as much as 90% of your usable space.
Why Invest In Warehouse Organization? 3 Scientific Reasons
Numerous studies have confirmed the correlation between our physical and mental wellbeing and our living or working environment. Let’s look at the research and case studies that show how issues in warehouse organization affect employee satisfaction, productivity, and consequently, revenue.
1. Employee Satisfaction
A review published by Public Health England showed that a disorganized physical environment hinders creativity and can lead to job dissatisfaction.
The same review found that improving your employees’ physical environment can even reflect on your employer brand. In their case study, they write:
“[The company] reported that they made better use of the workspace which reduced costs and generally raised the brand image.”
Besides motivation, well-organized warehouses are safer as they reduce the risk of workplace injury. Better warehouse organization improves your employees’ safety and motivation, lowers your turnover rates, and even increases the chances of attracting top talent.
Princeton University Neuroscience Institute conducted a study to demonstrate how clutter influences the ability to concentrate and process information. The research showed that clutter overburdens the brain with stimuli and distracts attention from the task at hand.
Another study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to examine the effects of visual clutter on brain function. It showed that disorganized spaces can affect the brain’s responsiveness and suppress its performance.
How this affects your employees’ productivity?
Working in disorganized spaces, people are more prone to making mistakes, becoming slower and tiring easily — all of which directly affect your productivity.
3. Return on Investment (ROI)
While some warehouse organization ideas and solutions may take a substantial amount of effort or investment to implement, they are likely to more than make up for it by sealing the above-listed revenue leaks and increasing efficiency. Investing in a healthy and safe warehouse environment as well as employee satisfaction pays off, often in a few months.
How To Organize A Warehouse
Once you identify your reasons to improve your warehouse organization, it is time to act. To determine the scale of the work ahead and the steps to take:
1. Study Your Floor Plans
Evaluate the space you have against the space you need. Is clutter the result of special constraints or utilization? Also consider the flow among your rooms, including hallways and all the nooks and crannies.
Your goal is to guide the people and the goods seamlessly through their stations, so try to identify any obstacles to their movements, or possible segmentations to reduce collisions.
2. Think Horizontally And Vertically
To maximize the utilization of available space, observe your warehouse horizontally and vertically.
- Do you have any dead corners or empty slots?
- Are your shelves wide and tall enough to accommodate the items without excessive empty space?
- Do your shelves run up to the ceiling or stop mid-way?
- If you were to run your shelves all the way up, what type of assistance would your employees require to handle the top-shelves?
- What kinds of goods would be able to store there (maximum weight capacity)?
And so on
3. Interview Your Teams
Your employees are the best source of warehouse optimization insights. Ask them to identify their pain points as well as share ideas for improvement.
4. Visit Other Warehouses
Learn from your peers and competitors. From the most advanced warehouse organization technology to small hacks, your peers can provide a wealth of ideas and inspiration.
5. Consult Experts
Modula has been a global leader in developing innovative warehouse organization solutions. Our experts are here to provide guidance and solutions to your storage requirements.
Easy-To-Implement Warehouse Organization Tips For Quick Gains
If you need quick and easy fixes to organize your warehouse space, here are 10 tips to get you started.
1. Assign Container Types To Categorize Inventory
Why? To identify and retrieve the product types you need in a quick scan of the warehouse.
How? Arrange all your inventory in boxes or containers of suitable sizes or materials. Take into consideration the possible risk of wetness and condensation and make sure to select waterproof options if needed.
2. Develop A Detailed Labelling System
Why? To obtain information about the contents immediately.
How? Include the item name, quantity, and expiration date (if applicable) on each box or container. You can also use barcoding to track the stored goods.
3. Create A Shelving Hierarchy
Why? To make the most frequently circulated items more accessible.
How? Place the packages and even the supplies your teams use regularly within their reach, so they require no bending, stretching or ladders. This will push the less used items higher up or further back in your shelving plan.
4. Create Signage To Improve Orientation As Well As Employee Safety
Why? To help your teams navigate large spaces easily as well as to help them stay alert of the hazards and exit zones.
How? Place paper or electronic signages, much like those in large grocery and department stores, to help your teams find their way to the isles and stations they are looking for in large warehouse spaces. Use signages also to indicate potential risks such as slippery floors and difficult-to-spot stairs, and point to the nearest exits.
5. Distribute Maps
Why? To help teams navigate the premises. This is particularly useful if you hire seasonal staff.
How? Take inspiration from large shopping malls and their welcome boards with floor plans that help find the exact store(s) you are looking for. Map out your warehouse to reduce productivity loss on the account of your employees getting lost. Place maps at each unit’s entry point and even distribute the pdf versions to your workforce via email.
6. Make Warehouse Organization Everybody’s Responsibility
Why? To ensure everyone contributes to maintaining your shared space organized.
How? Hold regular training to remind new employees on the importance of good organization. Highlight the benefits they stand to gain such as greater workplace safety, their own and their teams’, healthier work environment, and greater job satisfaction.
7. Run Regular Warehouse Organization Audits
Why? To make these fixes sustainable and continuously optimize your space.
How? Schedule monthly or quarterly warehouse organization audits. Identify the task owners, interview employees, check-in with HR on any incident reports, and pull other data to generate insights to support further improvements.
Structural Warehouse Ideas For Long-Term, Big Gains
To see real change in your warehousing efficiency, you will want to think beyond labeling and maps. Human error and long lead times are some of the largest setbacks in operating large-scale warehouses – ones that storage automation resolves.
In this section, we look at two of Modula’s storage solutions that have helped companies like Audi, Biotec, and Dassault Falcon Jet improve their warehouse organization by
- Eliminate the need for forklifts and weight zeroes
- Maintaining specific temperature ranges
- Browsing 20,000 items to help the operator find just the one they were looking for in one click
8. Vertical Storage Solutions
Modula Lift, for example, can use every inch of a warehouse’s height to optimize space utilization.
The internal trays with a capacity of up to 2,200 lbs keep your goods or spare parts safe from damage or theft and are easily accessible at one click of a button, eliminating the need for expensive gear and strenuous physical effort.
A motorized central elevator moves the tray with the desired items and delivers them to the operator at an ergonomic height while your warehouse stays orderly and clean from piled-up boxes and papers.
Vertical storage systems have numerous advantages. They allow you to save up to 90% of your warehouse floor space. In other words: you can move into smaller warehouses or nearly double your current capacity.
Moreover, the Modula Lift can store virtually any type of products or parts in different sizes, weights, heights, and volumes. Thanks to the simple inventory management software and the visual picking aids, operators can quickly and easily identify the items needed, dramatically reducing picking errors.
Another warehouse organization idea is to implement a horizontal carousel system.
9. Horizontal Storage Solutions
Modula Horizontal Carousel, for example, is suitable for distribution and production areas which include intensive picking or when the ceiling height is insufficient for vertical storage solutions.
Designed to be extremely ergonomic, the Horizontal Carousels can be used in areas with architectural issues and complex geometry. It operates on horizontal rotation; as the operator “calls” a specific item, the carousel locates and rotates it from the depth of its shelf onto the surface.
Horizontal Carousels can be arranged in groups of up to four; as the operator picks the items from one of them, the others move and prepare the subsequent series of items, allowing up to 550 withdrawals per hour per station.
The automated warehouse solutions are completed with Warehouse Software Solutions which operates in real-time and comes with a user-friendly PC interface.
Warehouse processes can be fast, easy and even fun – to the benefit of all: clients, employees and business owners alike!
Consult Modula experts on warehouse organization⬇
Recap On Warehouse Organization Ideas
Warehouse organization can do wonders for your productivity, workplace safety, employer brand, and employee turnover.
- Easy, small-scale organizational fixes will bring quick gains in productivity. However, these are only as sustainable as they consistent.
- Structural upgrades such as automated storage systems result in large, long-term gains. While costly, they are sustainable and a nearly bullet-proof solution to your warehouse organization needs.
Find the right warehouse storage solution for your business!