Keeping a clean and organized warehouse affects much more than just aesthetics. It can boost your efficiency, keep employees happy, reduce errors, minimize safety hazards and lower costs. There are many ways to optimize your warehouse, so let’s look at a few of the top strategies.
How to Keep Warehouses Organized
Growing e-commerce retailers, physical stores and wholesalers often face new challenges as their inventory grows more extensive. As they start out, their stockrooms might feature a largely ad-hoc organization system. Once their needs become more complex, they may find themselves wondering about personal situations like how to organize Etsy inventory most effectively. But in general, businesses will want to create a warehouse layout that wastes less time, movement and space.
Whatever goals you have for your growing inventory, follow these tips for how to organize a warehouse most effectively:
1. Create an Efficient Layout
To make the most of your building, you’ll need to maximize warehouse space. Ensure that different areas have a logical setup and defined spaces for specific tasks like receiving and shipping. Create clearly marked forklift paths and use a smart shelving system. Once you have a dedicated space for all your warehouse operations, make sure they’re all fully stocked with the tools needed for the tasks. For example, the packing area needs a steady supply of tape, packaging and other packing materials.
Are you wondering how to organize inventory in a warehouse? Keeping like items near one another is a great first step. It can make your warehouse simpler to navigate. For instance, if your company caries apparel, you might divide your stockroom into men’s and women’s sections and further separate items into logical categories for your operations. Your system should make it easier for workers to find the items they’re looking for and reduce the walking distance between commonly paired items.
Ensure your workers have everything they need to quickly meet all the requirements for fulfilling orders. Talk to them about pain points for more insight and to identify opportunities to reduce warehouse travel time and make organization systems more logical.
2. Keep It Clean
A warehouse must be easy to navigate and orderly. If not, products can be hard to find. Plus, those who see the clutter may wonder if your organizational practices extend to other parts of your business. Aim to schedule cleaning duties on a daily and weekly basis. Complete small routine tasks throughout the day to keep all areas orderly and clean. Then, you can consider taking more time weekly to tackle bigger cleaning obstacles, such as reorganizing shelves.
3. Customize Your Layout to Your Business
Each business has its own inventory characteristics. One company’s warehouse organization system might look totally different from another, even in similar industries. You might commonly sell one type of product with another or use many small products that are easy to mix up. Create storage solutions that match your needs, like placing frequently paired products next to each other or using drawers to organize small products.
Also, place your most frequently purchased items where they’re easiest to access. That might be toward the front of the warehouse or close to the shipping and receiving dock.
4. Practice Lean Inventory Management
With a lean inventory, you only keep the necessary items on hand and minimize any excess stock to streamline your processes. Workers have less to look through, and it’s easy to keep clean — perfect for warehouse stockroom efficiency. Keeping a lean inventory is much simpler with effective stock control tools like Finale Inventory. To ensure you only restock products when you’re low, it’s critical that your software can keep an accurate count and update in real-time.
5. Take Advantage of Vertical Space
A common strategy for many warehouses struggling to accommodate a larger inventory is to build up. Instead of dedicating more floor space, a storage facility can make better use of the space they have by building taller shelves. Most warehouses have high ceilings and plenty of room for vertical storage. Be sure to invest in a sturdy shelving system that can accommodate high stacks and find equipment to help your workers reach items stored on higher shelves.
6. Adopt a Safety-First Attitude
Preach safety to your workers and keep the warehouse clear of risks, like tripping hazards or blocked exits. Mark paths clearly with separate lanes for pedestrians and forklifts. Also, organize your shelves so heavy items are closest to the floor, and your lightest items are on the highest shelves. This measure keeps them from becoming top-heavy and liable to fall. It also makes heavy items safer to lift, which prevents injuries.
7. Use Labels
Keep labels consistent and understandable. They should also be in line with your POS system, if applicable. Be wary of commonly confused characters, such as lowercase L’s and numeral ones. Choose a readable font that makes it easy to distinguish between letters. In addition to merchandise, you’ll want to label spaces like work areas and hazards. If necessary, use an inventory serial number tracking solution to label any products you need to track as individual units or batches.
8. Guide Workers Through the Warehouse With Barcode Readers
Once you have a logical warehouse organization and layout with an excellent labeling system, you can use technology to make your storage system even more efficient. Finale Inventory’s turnkey barcode reader integration can direct workers through the warehouse in the most efficient path. It does this by telling workers what products to pick, one by one, in alphanumeric order based on their locations.
9. Monitor Your Process and Rates
Every warehouse will have errors from time to time. Make sure you understand where yours tend to occur. You might want to reduce travel times in the warehouse or invest in new technology that could speed up part of the process if errors are common.
How Finale Inventory Keeps Stockrooms Organized
All of these practices can help boost efficiency in a warehouse. Improving safety can eliminate costly injuries, while a strong labeling system can shorten picking times. These changes can add up to create an efficient warehouse.
A great way to make warehouse organization easier is with Finale Inventory. Our cloud-based inventory management software can keep a careful eye on your products for real-time updates and improved accuracy. It can track products between multiple warehouses or at several sublocations within a single facility. This added feature gives you the ultimate flexibility in how you organize and operate your stockroom.
Our software also integrates with your order management system, whether physical or through e-commerce platforms. Finale Inventory integrates seamlessly with Etsy, Amazon, Overstock and many other e-commerce platforms so you always know how your sales impact inventory. It can even provide thorough stock auditing and help you analyze the performance of your warehouse processes.
Finale Inventory offers end-to-end inventory tracking, so you can monitor your products as they move from receiving to storage to shipping. Warehouse management features such as packing and shipping operations let you track inventory being prepared for shipment or transfers. We also offer features such as dynamic reorder point calculations, which help you manage a leaner inventory with less risk of going out-of-stock.
Another reason to love Finale Inventory is our world-class support. When you sign up for a free trial or a paid plan, we put you in touch with a dedicated account manager. Your account representative will help you configure our powerful, flexible software features to best suit your operations and organization. That means Finale Inventory can truly support your ideal warehouse organization and make your whole team more productive without having to change the processes that already work well for you.