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Tips for an Efficient and Lean Warehouse

Increasing warehouse productivity is a top priority for supply chain and warehouse managers. Today, competitive warehouses are experiencing pressure to handle and ship more material in less time. Compliance Specialist Brian McFadden outlines tips any warehouse operation can apply to increase efficiency and save costs by utilizing visual communication.

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Last presented on: 03 27, 2019

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Contents of the Tips for an Efficient and Lean Warehouse webinar:

Visual Communication Tips for Warehousing

  • Streamline the Flow
  • Maximize Your Space
  • Plan for Change
  • Use Floors for Quick Communication
  • Prioritize Improvements with KPIs
  • Focus on Safety
  • Safe Forklift Operation
  • Invest in Worker Training

Excerpt from the Tips for an Efficient and Lean Warehouse webinar transcript:

Visual Communication Tips for Warehousing

With the rise in e-commerce and consumer demand, warehousing success lies in maximizing efficiency and cutting unnecessary costs. You can help do this by implementing effective visual communication.

#1 Streamline the Flow
Our first tip is identifying where you can streamline movement in your warehouse, whether that means the flow of merchandise or the physical travel of your workers from one area to the next. When an object or worker has to move back and forth between the same areas — or around the entire warehouse — that represents wasted effort and time. Fewer touchpoints can translate into shorter lead times and lower costs.

Making it easier to navigate your warehouse, find the right products, and prep shipments for delivery will often involve reorganizing storage. This might mean moving your most popular goods to the most accessible locations, or keeping items that often ship together near each other. In many facilities, this is implemented as part of the second step of 5S, called “Set in Order.”

As you make changes in your warehouse, use clear signage to identify areas and show how the new system works. This will help your veteran workers quickly get up to speed, and can make training new hires a smoother process.

#2 Maximize Your Space
Next, identify where you can increase usable space. Scaling racks higher, for example, can unlock more storage area for items that aren’t needed frequently. At some point, though, you simply can't get any more space in a facility; what then? Look closely at the storage space you already have, and see if it’s being used effectively.
Is storage arranged to get the best balance of accessibility and volume? Do you have equipment on the floor that isn’t really needed? How about backlogs of seasonal stock, kept on hand even through the off season?

You may be able to work with your purchasing team to change how orders are placed, reducing inventories when it won’t negatively impact the business. This is sometimes called “Lean Warehousing,” and it ties into many other methods to improve business efficiency.


To get tips on achieving efficiency with the lean approach and practical guidance on maximizing the value of visuals in your warehouse, watch the full webinar now!

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Tips for an Efficient and Lean Warehouse Webinar