For warehouses and operational spaces, one primary area of concern for managers is how to maintain an effective working space that allows continuous improvement and safety for workers. Both manual handling and operational handling come with risks in busy, sometimes confined, warehouse spaces, and this means that carefully planned storage is key.
Trialling new approaches
Various racking systems are now in operation. In Ontario, a car plant is using a new system that is designed to optimise storage density for manufacturing component parts and to save space. The Toyotetsu plant is storing its components in hand totes and plastic boxes, organised by size and weight.
Pickers use tugging trackers every half hour, which allows workers to enter the pick area, find the things that they need, add the parts onto the cart and transport them over to the welding zone safely, speedily and accurately. The investment has been made after the company recognised the impact that growth would have on this part of the operation – putting undue stress on existing flow racks and creating a squeeze.
Similar approaches are being taken for bin racks in Ireland, with warehouse operators increasingly investing in newer model storage systems, from providers such as Duffy Discount (https://www.rackzone.ie/bin-racks). Custom flow rack systems can be integrated with newer model generic flow rack systems to eliminate aisles by optimising space and density. Better organised storage and packing can lead to a 10pc increase in usable floor space and can increase vertical space solutions with bi-level storage zones.
Additionally, with the right storage, the space between roller chutes can be reduced and the length of racks can be increased. Better labelling also helps to grow efficiencies, thereby slashing wasted time.
These new packing solutions are also often complemented with tighter picking processes that improve pick rates, ensuring inventory is replenished back to front, with denser storage reducing travel time.
For finance managers, the good news is that better storage bins are a low cost investment in the operation, that can create valuable cost savings. These measures all support continuous improvement methods, reducing wasted time and movement, lessening damage, creating a safer environment and increasing productivity overall.
When viewed as a whole, better organisation of warehouse space can allow businesses to sell more and take on bigger orders to grow their operation and grow their profits.