Warehouses are an essential component of the supply chain, but they’re by no means cheap to operate. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Operating a warehouse means investing in land, facilities, machinery such as fork lifts, assets for storage such as shelving and cooler or freezer storage areas, and, of course, manpower.
Greater efficiency means lower operational costs. It’s the goal of every warehouse to optimize operations for the maximum output at the lowest possible cost. The more inventory that is stored in and, more importantly, moved through a warehouse, the healthier the bottom line. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to optimize the layout of your facility, a goal aided immensely with the use of warehouse bar code labels.
Optimization Begins with Data Collection
In order to determine where improvements can be made, you must first gain visibility into where things stand currently. That means knowing which products are picked and shipped most frequently, how long each product remains in storage on average, and how much maintaining unused inventory on-hand impacts the bottom line.
Warehouse bar code labels are the key to collecting this critical data. When your shelves and racks are labeled with easily scanable bar code labels, the need for manual documentation is eliminated. This alone saves man hours and also reduces the errors likely with manual data collection methods.
Combine warehouse bar code labels with inventory management and asset tracking software, warehouse bar code labels lay the foundation for a streamlined and automated data collection process. The best warehouse inventory management software applications enable users to analyze their data by running a multitude of reports, providing key visibility into the inventory that moves most frequently, seasonal changes in demand that may impact space utilization optimization, and shows how long-term storage of unused inventory impacts the bottom line.
Utilize Data to Transform Your Warehouse into an Efficient, Optimized Operation
Armed with data that provides complete visibility into your warehouse operation, you can now develop a comprehensive plan that optimizes the layout of your facility to make the most efficient use of space. That means storing the most frequently picked inventory near packing or shipping areas as well as on the shelves and racks that are easiest to reach.
Making these changes means your staff will spend less time navigating through the building to access fast-moving inventory as well as less time traveling from the far corners of the facility to shipping areas. With in-demand inventory on lower, easier-to-reach racks and shelves, less time is wasted securing ladders and other equipment needed to access the difficult-to-reach areas. Store the inventory that generally spends longer time in storage before shipment in these areas, minimizing the time spent on difficult inventory picking tasks.
Warehouse Signs and Rack Labels Reduce Labor Demands
Warehouse aisle signs, hanging and fixed-mount warehouse signs, and outdoor and indoor dock signs are solutions that round out any comprehensive warehouse optimization initiative. By clearly marking aisles, docks, and specific areas of the facility, staff can more quickly locate the precise areas of the building where the needed inventory is stored.
Hanging and fixed-mount warehouse signs, warehouse aisle signs, and warehouse rack labels work cohesively together as part of a comprehensive warehouse labeling solution with a drill-down effect. Hanging and fixed-mount signs are generally used to designate broad areas of the facility, with aisle signs designating more specific locations, and finally, rack labels offering the most precise identification to aid in rapid inventory identification.
The combined effect of optimizing your facility’s space utilization and implementing a comprehensive warehouse sign and bar code label solution creates a fully optimized, efficient operation that’s foolproof even for new, less experienced warehouse employees. It’s an investment that will pay handsome dividends in the form of a healthy bottom line, an efficient supply chain, and happy customers and stakeholders.