When trying to optimize their supply chain operations on an ongoing basis, one potentially beneficial change many managers overlook time and again is reorganizing the floor plan of their warehouse or other industrial spaces. The reason why is relatively straightforward: In the course of identifying inefficiencies, he same old patterns and layouts are hard to single out when there are so many more moving pieces to consider.
However, experts largely agree that the layout of a warehouse should change as the organization grows, shifts focus or otherwise might need to make critical changes to its operations, according to Camcode. As such, if you're considering such a change, there's an obvious place to start. You need to think about what your current needs are, and what can be rearranged within your facility to get you to your next organizational goal.
Spelling out what those needs are, and what can be done to meet them, is key in understanding how to proceed, the report said. The more specific the goals are, the easier it becomes to figure out if a layout change is appropriate to facilitate a positive change.
When it comes to looking at the ways in which your current layout may lead to success - or impede it - there are three main areas to examine, according to Dear Systems. First and foremost is how easily everything flows through your warehouse. That includes not only your inventory, but also your employees and equipment; talk to workers about what works and what doesn't in this regard, and you may find some areas where even small changes make a big difference.
Another important consideration is how well you're utilizing your space, and whether the idea of growing "up" rather than "out" is a better path forward, the report said. Obviously, there is a finite amount of square and cubic footage in any facility, but it's likely that you're using a higher percentage of the former than the latter. With that having been said, however, the third consideration - accessibility - comes into play here. If it's not easy for workers to get to certain areas or items, that can lead to unexpected slowdowns in efficiency.
Some basic ideas
In many cases, inefficiency starts at the point of entry, according to the Logistics Bureau. When your receiving department doesn't do a good enough job of organizing shipments and making sure their contents are disseminated to the proper spots in the warehouse, it creates a major logjam that can take time to untangle. Changing the floor plan in this area, adding shelves and the like could all help with organization.
Likewise, the other big hurdle many logistics firms face is that their pickers and packers take too long to pull items off shelves, the report said. With that in mind, reorganizing so they have less distance to cover on most picks - changing both where they pack and your most popular items are stored will go a long way.
Of course, these ideas are fairly broad and your own needs will vary significantly, but even a cursory examination of your needs could lead to big positive changes