The best warehouse is one that is well-designed, tidy, has visual labels, robust systems and most importantly, has employees who care about it. Even if you are confident that your warehouse set-up currently supports the needs of your business and you are meeting customer requirements in terms of UK shipments and European pallet delivery, it’s still worth investigating if further improvements can be made.
You may be in a business where the popularity of your products fluctuates or changes on a seasonal basis. Those in the know refer to each product as a SKU (stock keeping unit) and where you place your SKU can influence how efficiently your team can access it when preparing a load. If you have a product that always sells well in spring e.g. a stylish picnic hamper complete with wine cooler, you need to place that SKU in the most accessible location in the warehouse. The SKU can then be picked, packed and replenished in an efficient time.
What you place your product in can also help or hinder your warehouse employees task when they pick and pack your goods. If you are using a racking system your shop floor employees may be able to insert products straight into the racking when complete, with the warehouse employees picking the products from their side of the racking as required. Containers should be easy to access and the most popular products should be at an optimum handling height if they are being picked by hand (waist-to-shoulder height).
The way in which orders are picked needs to correlate with your business needs. Your warehouse employees need to understand whether they need to collect single orders, multi-orders, or if you are going for another approach such as batch picking. You are seeking the fastest and most accurate method of picking items and whichever you choose make sure your team know about it and fully understand the process.
It’s also beneficial to make sure products are clearly labelled, this will save time when trying to locate something and can eradicate errors (your customer won’t be happy if they unload their pallet only to find they have cartoon character lunch boxes rather than the stylish picnic hampers they ordered for their spring launch).
Have a designated packaging area set-up with everything your warehouse employees need to hand. Invest in strong packing boxes, protective materials (such as bubble wrap), tape, shrink wrap and pallets and make sure stock levels are checked regularly. This will make shipping to UK customers and European pallet delivery more streamlined – just make sure packaging processes are standardised, so goods are always packed correctly.