How to Take Control of Your Inventory: Tips for Organizing a Warehouse

When there is more product than can be displayed or kept in the storefront or office, then warehousing is needed. Warehouses provide a safe and protected environment for products until they are ready to pass into the hands of customers. This keeps the store and/or front office free of unnecessary clutter. However, when the warehouse is a confusing jumble of product, trash and miscellaneous debris, then the costs associated with warehousing rise, not to mention the safety risks for the employees (or possibly customers) who try to navigate through the sea of items.

The Benefits of Organizing a Warehouse

Organizing a warehouse increases cost efficiency, productivity and safety. When the warehouse is well-organized, inventory space is maximized – meaning more products can be stored in less space. And space costs money. Less space equals less expense. An organized warehouse also provides inventory accuracy, further driving down overhead.

When employees can find what is needed quickly because the warehouse is laid out in an orderly manner and there is easy access to products, then labor productivity should also increase. The well-ordered warehouse communicates that the company is efficient, customer-oriented and smart and expects the same attitude from its employees. This becomes even more important if the business is one which allows customers access to the warehouse.

Organizing a Warehouse Begins with Creating a Work Space

When the warehouse looks more like a garage sale than the heart of a smooth-running business, it is time to develop a plan for changing the status quo. The most important thing about organizing a warehouse is to begin. The first thing that needs to happen is trash removal. Discarded pallets, boxes and packing materials need to come up off the floor. Once the trash is gone, clear an area and set up work tables for sorting. Be sure that garbage cans are conveniently located to keep mess off the floor and empty them frequently.

Setting up Storage to Sort and Shelf is an Important Step in Organizing a Warehouse

Whether your warehouse uses shelving or cabinetry for storing products, be sure that they are laid out in neat rows and anchored into place for safety. The organization of storage units will be vital for efficient product retrieval and proper inventory management. Use the tables to begin sorting. Start with one item or one category of items and work until it is fully separated. Place this into the storage unit working from bottom (shelf or cabinet) to top, leaving some space to add more of the items discovered during the sorting process. Be sure to place the heaviest items in the bottom section of storage to protect against injury. Keep in mind when organizing a warehouse, heavy items stored high where retrieval is problematic can be an accident waiting to happen.

Effectively Organizing a Warehouse Requires you to Give Everything an Address

Clearly label each storage location by row and unit. Assign alphabetical designations to each row of shelves (A-Z). Then assign a numerical label to each shelf or cabinet drawer. In this way, every item has its own address such as A-1 – which would designate first row, bottom shelf. Create a database for each address which includes the product number, its description, location and quantity. This step is crucial to ensure proper inventory management. It will also make retrieving products for the customer a quick and efficient process. If the warehouse is used by the customer, this system will skyrocket customer satisfaction for the purchase experience.

The transformation in the warehouse from garage-sale to business-sale image will begin the moment commitment to organization gets put into practice. Organizing a warehouse is invaluable for an efficiently run business.

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