Organize Your Warehouse
The first step in organizing your warehouse is to assign bin locations. A bin location is a designated storage space for an item. This may be space on a shelf, a pallet location, a floor storage area, or some other place where products are stored in your warehouse.
Carefully develop a meaningful bin location numbering system for your warehouse. Your computer system should allow you to use at least 10 characters (letters, numbers, dashes, etc.) as you identify each bin location. This allows you to set up a comprehensive “modular bin location system. For example, an item may be stored in location of “01-B-48-03.” This means that it is stocked on the third level, of pallet rack or shelving unit 48, in aisle “B”, in section “01” of the building.
When establishing bin locations, we suggest you follow these guidelines:
- In each aisle, have odd number pallet racks or shelving units on one side and even number pallet racks or shelving units on the opposite side. This reduces the need for warehouse employees to “back track”. That is, getting down to the end of an aisle and having to go back to where they started to find the next shelving unit.
- Wherever possible, have the same number pallet rack or shelving unit in the same relative location in each aisle,
- Within each pallet rack or shelving unit, label shelves or levels from the ground up. Floor level is always “0”. The shelf above it is “1”, etc. After all, it is possible to add shelves to the top of a storage unit. It is not possible to add storage space below the floor.
- Have large, easy-to-read signage to guide your warehouse personnel to the proper bin to put away stock or take material to fill customer orders.
- If you are going to utilize floor storage, outline storage locations using floor paint or heavy-duty safety tape. This will help prevent material from creeping into an adjoining material storage location.
A meaningful material storage system will aid employees in properly putting away stock, filling orders and maintaining an accurate inventory. Next month we will look at some effective rules for warehouse operations.