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How to Organize Warehouse Shelves For Maximum Efficiency

Posted July 21, 2022

Knowing how to organize warehouse shelves means keeping a lean operation and making the most of the space in your facility. Organized warehouse shelves are essential to inventory management and keeping you functioning at peak efficiency. Even if your facility is operating well, optimizations to your shelving organization can prepare your warehouse for growth.

How do you know how to organize warehouse shelves for maximum efficiency? Naumann/Hobbs, your strategic material handling partner, offers warehouse design and layout planning services to help you make the most of your space. Organizing your warehouse can be as simple as finding ways to optimize space, installing the right shelving, and using the right equipment.

Let’s look at the details and cover some need-to-know information about how to organize warehouse shelves for maximum efficiency.

How Do You Plan a Warehouse Layout?

Sometimes things are best left to the pros. Working with the warehouse layout and planning specialists at Naumann/Hobbs can ensure you’re making the most of your space. However, if you want to go at it alone there are a few things you can do to help plan a warehouse layout that can maximize the room you have at hand. 

Here are four steps to take when considering how to plan a warehouse layout.

Get a Blueprint of Your Space

A good place to start when planning your warehouse layout is with a blueprint of your space. This will help you accurately understand the layout of your facility. You can use the schematics to note major features of your facility and notice any features that might require a workaround, like columns or sloping floors. Also, make notes of floor space reserved for offices, restrooms, docks, and other square footage that might not be used for storage.

Find the Best Way to Optimize the Space

Your business needs will determine how to best optimize your warehouse layout. Do you need room for light assembly or manufacturing? Kitting? Ecommerce product storage and shipping? From there, you might consider how you’ll plan storage, production zones, and workflow areas. 

Find the Right Shelving

Warehouse layout and organization hinges on having the right material handling equipment. The shelving you choose will depend on how you’ll be using it. For example, using a double-deep reach rack is perfect for creating high-density storage. Standard selective pallet racks are an extremely versatile choice for general applications.

While you’re at it, consider the powered equipment needed for your space. If you’re taking advantage of a narrow-aisle layout, it is important to be aware that a standard forklift might not be able to maneuver in this space. You might need a narrow-aisle forklift to get the job done. 

Implement and Test the Design

When the design is in place, walk the perimeter to ensure that everything is operating as it should be. Make notes of any snags or bottlenecks that might occur. You might find further ways to potentially optimize your space in your review.

8 Tips for Organizing Warehouse Shelves and More

After you’ve planned an efficient warehouse layout, you’ll need to organize your shelves. There are many methods for organizing your warehouse shelves, each with its own set of benefits and applications. The right warehouse organization practices for your business will help ensure you’re operating at peak efficiency.

Take a look at these eight tips to see if you can find ways to streamline your operations and keep warehouse shelves organized.

Go Tech Savvy with a Warehouse Management System 

The right warehouse management system will be invaluable in keeping your facility organized and efficient. You can count on your warehouse management system to assist with functions including inventory management, work creation and execution, reporting and analytics, and more. 

Get the Right Racks for the Job

The kind of racks you use in your warehouse depends on the kind of materials you’re handling. For example, high-turnover retail products in facilities that rely on forklifts to keep materials moving might be best organized on drive-in/drive-thru racks. If your warehouse relies on a FIFO (first in, first out) operating procedure, you might prefer to use pushback racking that keeps the oldest products moving forward.

Learn more about how to get the most from your warehouse shelving. 

Go Vertical with Storage Space

Expanding racking toward the ceiling and taking advantage of storage space above docks and doors can ensure there’s room for everything you need to store. Consider using higher space to store low-turnover products or even adding a second tier of space with a mezzanine.

Label All Shelves and Racks Clearly

Easy-to-read labels make staying organized easy. The right labeling system can even simplify and speed up the order picking process and improve the flow of traffic in your warehouse. The label might contain a barcode, a SKU, and even a picture of the product.

Sort Inventory by Storage Needs

It might be a good idea to store items with similar storage needs or of similar types together. This can help your warehouse stay organized and make order picking easier. Other parameters you might use to organize inventory include physical size or selling frequency. Organizing inventory by similarity is called slotting. 

You can keep a map of storage locations for slotted products to help warehouse employees quickly locate inventory items as needed.

Get Rid of Dead Inventory

Dead stock or inventory surplus is a problem many businesses are facing as 2022 progresses. However, holding on to inventory that just isn’t moving might equal wasted space on your warehouse shelves. From lost profit to higher carrying costs, dumping dead inventory can keep operations lean. 

If you’re warehousing ecommerce products, consider offering dead inventory as a gift with purchase. You might also be able to recoup a small return on your investment by selling the stock to a liquidator. A smart inventory control and replenishment system can help you avoid dead inventory.

Keep a Clean Warehouse

Cleanliness is essential to warehouse organization. In fact, the benefits of keeping a clean warehouse extend beyond organization. A clean facility can:

  • Encourage workers to be meticulous in their tasks
  • Maintain a professional appearance and work environment
  • Help keep inventory management accurate
  • Prevent on-the-job injuries and accidents
  • Reduce maintenance costs

Need help keeping things clean? Check out Naumann/Hobbs’ selection of sweepers and scrubbers.

Scheduled Maintenance for Equipment

Your warehouse equipment works hard to keep your operation moving. Preventive maintenance is key to keeping your equipment in good working order and even keeping operating costs down. Naumann/Hobbs offers a number of forklift service programs to ensure that your equipment is in top shape.

Can Organized Warehouse Shelves Improve Productivity?

Strategic warehouse layout and organization strategies can definitely help improve productivity. Implementing organization practices in your warehouse can aid in:

  • Reducing wasted time in your facility
  • Saving money and reducing warehouse costs
  • Improving energy efficiency in your facility
  • Cutting labor costs without eliminating workers
  • Eliminating loss from expiration and improper storage

An organized warehouse is an efficient warehouse. With so many benefits to having organized warehouse shelves and an efficient operation, it’s easy to see why many companies rely on the services of Naumann/Hobbs to keep materials moving. From understanding how to organize warehouse shelves to ensuring the right racking is in place, let Naumann/Hobbs find a solution for you.

Contact Naumann/Hobbs today by calling (866) 266-2244 for additional information. You can also contact Naumann/Hobbs online.

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