You won’t be surprised to know that, as one of Illinois’ and Wisconsin’s largest suppliers of warehouse racking systems, we’ve been in a lot of warehouses and performed quite a lot of consultation regarding the best possible layouts for facilities. And since we spend so much time with warehouse managers, we also hear them talking about the problems they have to deal with. Sometimes we can fix these problems with the right industrial racking system, and other times they just need to vent about the problems they’re having!
Today we’re going to talk about some of the most common problems affecting warehouses, those mistakes that keep getting made again and again. Read on to find out more, then be sure to contact RMH Systems to find out if we can fix them for you.
Mistake 1: Sticking With Paper
There’s a very good reason that all of the most efficient warehouses have completely — or nearly completely — done away with paper. Yes, taking inventory on paper documents had its time, but that’s when there wasn’t an alternative. Many warehouse managers became wary of early computerized warehouse inventory systems, and they had good reason to with the unreliable computers of the time. Even though the time of unreliable warehouse inventory systems has passed, the fear remains. Every warehouse should be keeping track of the inventory electronically, even if it’s not the fanciest system with robots and drones.
Can RMH Help?: RMH has our finger on the pulse of warehouse planning. While we might not make the software to improve the efficiency of your warehouse, we do needs assessment and operational analysis that can help you make the right decisions and improve warehouse operations.
Mistake 2: Letting The Warehouse Get Messy
Just letting the place get messy can lead to a surprising drop in efficiency. If a forklift operator has to get off the seat in order to move some discarded shrink-wrap out of the way, or if the morning shift has to clear away the empty boxes of the night shift, it’s going to lead to production slowdown (not to mention fostering negative “us vs. them” feelings between the shifts). It’s also a good idea to keep the dust and dirt under control so that the warehouse isn’t leading to lung problems in employees.
Can RMH Help?: The mesh nature of our wire decking allows dust and dirt from above to fall to the ground below, where it’s easier to sweep away. During our design of your warehouse, we can make sure to include cleaning stations and proper space for storage/organization. We’ve also provided this article that details the biggest cleaning problems around the warehouse and how to address them.
Mistake 3: Failure To Optimize Warehouse Layout
If you brought a typical person into a warehouse and showed them the industrial shelves and racks, they probably wouldn’t be terribly impressed. To them, it’s just a bunch of interlocking steel pieces holding boxes. But in truth, the layout of a warehouse is (or at least should be) thought through intensely so that the most is being made of the space. Failure to do so can lead to inefficient traffic flow and slowed productivity.
Some of the optimization can be improved by simply putting the right inventory in the right place. Slow moving inventory can be regulated to the back corner (or sold at cost in order to make room for something that will sell). The biggest sellers should have the shortest path from truck to pallet rack to picking/packing stations, or to carton flow racks directly. Switching to a warehouse inventory software can also help you recognize patterns and traffic flow so that you can optimize the location of your inventory.
Can RMH Help?: This is a subject that’s near and dear to us, as it’s one of our primary services here at RMH. We are experts at warehouse planning and strategy, ensuring that every aspect of the warehouse — from pallet racks to industrial lockers to conveyor systems — all work together to optimize traffic patterns and make your warehouse as efficient as possible.
Mistake 4: Skipping Physical Inventory
There are a few reasons why a warehouse manager might want to skip inventory. It’s possible they think that it’s simply a waste of time, and that the amount of time it takes to do inventory can’t justify the few discrepancies that are found. Other times they’re simply afraid of the problems they might find and how that might reflect poorly on them.
Doing physical inventory is vitally important to warehouses. Inventory can identify a host of problems, from employee theft to software problems to improper employee logging techniques. Not having the inventory you think you have on stock can be embarrassing, especially if you’ve already sold it to a customer and have nothing to deliver.
Can RMH Help?: While we don’t perform inventory for warehouses, RMH offers an inventory survey service. Once your inventory is in order, we can take a look at your inventory and the way it is organized. This includes the turnover rate from inbound shipping to customer shipping, as well as how your inventory is distributed throughout the warehouse. Click that link to find out more about this invaluable service.
Mistake 5: Keeping Inventory That Doesn’t Move
If you have had professional warehouse space optimization performed and you still don’t feel you have enough space, you might think it’s time to build a new warehouse…and you might be right. If that’s the best next step for your business, then RMH will be there to provide your next pallet rack system.
But too many warehouse managers ignore an easy option: inventory reduction. Yes, we know that what-to-keep and what-to-get-rid-of is seldom up to anyone working in the warehouse, but they can be the catalyst for moving unneeded stuff along. Making a list of product that’s been wallowing in the warehouse for too long is the first step to convincing the decision makers that inventory sold at a loss will at least make room for inventory that will actually sell.
Can RMH Help?: If you absolutely must keep the inventory but haven’t had warehouse layout optimization performed, RMH can certainly find you some more space. And if the decision is made to build a new warehouse, we’d be happy to outfit it with any needed pallet racks and conveyor systems.
Ready To Become More Efficient?
Avoiding mistakes is one of the easiest ways to become more efficient, and the professionals at RMH Systems are ready to provide the services that will make your warehouse run as smoothly as possible. Click those links above to see how we’ll be your partners in warehouse efficiency.