5 Innovations To Make Your Warehouse More Efficient

An effective warehouse is the core of your business. But how to make sure it runs as efficiently as possible? The truth is that technology, storage, and safety methods are rapidly changing, and it’s important to keep up. Follow these innovative tips, and you’ll ensure your warehouse not only reaches peak efficiency, but also remains effective and relevant long into the future.

1. Go Smarter, Not Bigger

When storage space feels tight, a lot of people start to think that the solution is to invest in additional storage space or even relocate to a new warehouse. However, you can save money and moving time by going smarter with the space you already have.

Examine how much aisle space you actually need and go smaller when possible. Consider taller shelving and racking pallets in higher densities. Make sure items that you use / need access to often are in lower, easy-to-access areas while more long-term items are stored higher up (or further back) and in greater densities.

2. Offer Specialized Training

A major problem a lot of warehouses have is not just employee error, but also poor employee retention. However, both can be curbed when the right training programs are offered. All employees should receive regular training on the latest safety and efficiency procedures, for example. Some outside companies even offer highly specialized training programs just for warehouse workers, and these can be very useful in increasing production.

Good employees are also more likely to stay when you offer such training, as it will increase their skills and give them a brighter future.

3. Update Forklifts

The forklift has long been a warehouse staple, but it’s important to make sure that you’re only using the most current ones that have less room for error. For example, telescopic forklifts involve a telescopic forward reach boom, which allow for more flexibility (with precision!) and can both place and retrieve objects more efficiently. Always make sure your forklift operators are fully licensed and experienced with each kind of forklift you utilize.

4. Connect Employee Phones

Most businesses these days rely on mobile communication platforms, and warehouses are no exception. Make sure employees have updated phones and apps that connect well with each other. It’s also important to consider the future of tech in this area. For example, windows programs are projected to become outdated on mobile devices in the next few years, so switching over to newer platforms in a good idea. Always run tests before programs are actually implemented during workdays.

5. Go for Automation

As far as new storage technology goes, one innovative solution you will want to consider is automated storage. Involving the use of robotics and computerized organization, automated storage helps to cut organizational costs in the long run and increases accuracy and productivity. For example, a robotic arm can be used to retrieve precise items as needed, allowing for tighter storage spaces and decreased need for human intervention. And thanks to the rapid speed of orders being received and carried out, the amount of orders being fulfilled in a day will increase.

It’s also worth noting that automated warehouse storage helps to lower warehouse accidents and increase safety. By relying on precise computerized settings, there is less room for human error. In fact, the key human workers you will need present at the warehouse will be there simply to oversee operations and carry out the few tasks that computer and robotic automation cannot.

Ensure Warehouse Location Flexibility With These Labeling Solutions

Have you recently felt pressure on your product inventory and location management processes due to the huge increase in SKUs from e-commerce and omni-channel operations? If so, you’re not alone. The demand for quick delivery of products means warehouses need an up-to-date labeling system that quickly tracks items in order to get them to the customer as soon as possible. Read on to learn more about just how important a flexible labeling system is to your warehouse and its profitability.

The Importance of Keeping Up with Identification Labels

According to Gregg Schiltz, the chief operation officer of ID Labels, today’s environment requires a warehouse storage racking system with new identification labels that are flexible and can accommodate change in promotions, changing seasons, and momentum. He goes further to say that maximizing inventory is a real challenge for warehouse managers. However, a functioning label system overcomes this challenge.

Why is Flexible, Racking Labeling So Popular?

Warehouses are frequently using racking labeling more often. This is because it works well with inventory fluctuations, location changes, and third-party fulfillment.  “We’re seeing growing demand for barcode labeling solutions that can accommodate our customers’ needs for rack location identification flexibility,” Schiltz said. He goes on to recommend flexible labeling products for any warehouse facility looking for maximum capacity.

In-Place Bar Code Labels Have Too Many Challenges

Many warehouses still rely on in-place barcode labels and find themselves facing challenges. According to Schilitz, the labels can get easily damaged or peel off. Also, he states that these barcodes are nothing short of time-consuming, not to mention unproductive, especially when you need to remove old labels for new ones. This is both tedious and time-consuming. Warehouse managers could save time by simply sticking a new paper barcode over an old one, but is this really a viable solution? Not for the long term. Customers will see this as lazy and unappealing. Also, if the new label doesn’t completely cover the old one, this can lead to scan errors and loss of productivity.

Choose Flexibility in Warehouse Labeling

Keeping track of inventory, changing prices, and collection of data all depend upon barcode labels. A well-run, efficient warehouse needs flexible labeling to keep up with fluctuation prices and other changes in product. A label that is durable will easily stick to beams, racks, boxes, and individual products. In addition, choose a label with a quick-release top coating so it’s easy to relabel when the need arises.  Another option includes magnetic barcode labels, especially for cold/freezer warehouses.

Stay Efficient and Keep Up with Demand

Customers do not want to wait for their product. With Amazon offering next or even same day delivery, consumers are getting used to quick delivery. That means the way you run your supply chain needs to keep up with the demand for almost instantaneous delivery. With the right flexible labels, your warehouse will run like a well-oiled machine. You’ll be able to quickly find what you’re looking for and get it out to the customer quickly. Warehouses that fall behind on labeling technology will also find themselves falling behind the competition. Instead, bring your warehouse up to date with the right labeling system.

 

How To-Vertical Warehouse Management

If you’re like many successful warehouse managers, you may one day find yourself struggling with space. After all, increased demand leads to increased inventory! But instead of making an expensive move to bigger storage facilities or wasting time and money building additions, you have another option. You can increase your profits and efficiency by optimizing your existing vertical storage space. 

Whether you’ve already moved into a new warehouse, recently took over a warehouse space or are a longtime manager looking to increase efficiency, these tips will help you with vertical warehouse management:

Start at the Base

All “towering” projects need a strong foundation to stand on! So, start by looking down instead of up. Take a look at what you plan to store closest to the bottom of your storage stacks (which should generally be what you need to access most often), and make sure there is enough space vertically for your largest items. When positioning shelving units, there should always be enough space between them for you, your employees and the equipment you use (like fork lifts) to maneuver as needed. Once you make these base decisions, you can start looking upward. 

Store the Same Items Vertically, Not Horizontally

Instead of putting your entire inventory of one item on the same shelf, you can stack them and store extra units vertically on higher shelves. This way, you can increase your access to a wide variety of items while still having a clear count of your back stock. This way, you can always stock up on depleting units down below by simply shifting everything down. 

Consider Investing in New Shelving

Especially if your current shelving doesn’t allow you to store things all the way up to the ceiling (or at least as high as your forklift / access tools can go), it may be time to make a change. If you are storing heavy items up top though, always make sure that your shelving is secure and tip-proof. If you have the means and the space, you may also want to consider adding an access walkway in some higher areas to essentially create a “second floor” for easy storage and access. For smaller, “loose” items, you should consider keeping them in stackable drawers for easy access and safe storage. 

Never Stop Focusing on Efficiency

Efficiency should always be the top-most priority, above fitting as much as you can into your warehouse. In turn, your storage options will be maximized and the warehouse will not feel cramped or overburdened. For example, it’s tempting to just cram as many things as possible into a tight space. But then you risk burying things you need to access. By keeping things as neat as possible and only storing like items together, you will maximize your efficiency and storage ability. Consider using clear labels so that there is no confusion among employees where things should be stored. If you have the means, divide your warehouse into different zones and dedicate a “theme” and a forklift to each. 

Follow these tips, and watch as your warehouse is transformed!

Improve Your Warehouse Design and Functionality with Industrial Shelving

Maximizing the potential of your warehouse space is key to not only keeping your business running, but also ensure its growth in the future. Making the most out of any warehouse space really comes down to two things: quality storage units and good planning. If your warehouse feels like it is pushing its storage limits day after day, it isn’t necessarily time to move to a bigger space — investing in good industrial shelving can instantly make your warehouse feel twice as big if not bigger. 

For warehouses in Arizona, good storage and planning is not just beneficial— it’s an absolute must, thanks to our frequent high temperatures and intense sun. All warehouses ideally should be insulated and not have any sun-exposed areas, and it is also important to keep items sufficiently elevated off the floor to avoid dirt, dust and sand contamination. For more information on Arizona warehouse design and layout, just contact the experts at KACO Warehouse Outfitters! 

In the meantime, it’s worth noting the different types of industrial shelving work best under different situations. At KACO, we are proud to offer a wide range of shelving solutions to assist with Arizona warehouse design and re-organization. 

Types of Industrial Shelving to Know 

  • Steel Shelves – This type of shelving is ideal for many warehouses, as it provides maximum strength for heavy products and large loads of materials. Steel shelves also come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and heights, fitting into almost any kind of warehouse.
  • Boltless Shelves – This type of shelving takes only minimal time to install, and it can serve as a quick solution for warehouse spaces that are packed to the brim (or about to be). This type of shelving does not contain screw-in bolts and can be secured with just a simple rubber mallet. Because they do not have side brackets, they can also be loaded from any direction, making them a highly efficient solution. 
  • Closed Shelves – For loose materials or those that otherwise need to be secured, closed shelving units offer both protection and organization.
  • Wire Shelves – Wire shelving units have become increasingly popular over time, as they are effective, highly customizable and attractive in appearance. While used primarily in service industry settings, wire shelves are also very suitable for lighter warehouse materials and warehouse office storage space. Wire shelving usually comes in a shiny chrome finish, but it can also come in stainless steel, zinc, and more. 
  • Widespand Shelves – Also known as “bulk shelving”, widespand shelves are ideally for large-shaped, bulky items. And with a typical weight capacity of between 1,000 lbs and  2,500 lbs, they are also a wonderful solution for heavy and/or stacked products. These kinds of shelves are offered in a range of sizes, but the most popular ones are between 6 ft and 8 ft high. 
  • Mezzanine Shelves – This type of shelving essentially adds another floor to the warehouse. It is most suitable for large warehouse spaces with a lot of height.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Industrial Shelving

Industrial shelving is certainly not “one size fits all”, since warehouses comes in all shapes, sizes and purposes. While one of the first things to consider are the types of materials that need to be stored, there are some other things that must be accounted for:

  • Warehouse aisle space and width – Warehouse workers and visitors will still need to be able to move around the shelving and safely transport materials.
  • Potential storage weights – Even if any materials currently in stock are not very heavy, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a need for heavier storage capacity in the future.
  • Warehouse equipment – What kind of equipment or moving vehicles are being used / will be used in the warehouse? There needs to be plenty of space for items like fork lifts to move around, and shelves will also have to be strong enough to withstand being accessed by them. 

At KACO Warehouse Outfitters, we are happy to help with both shelving and warehouse storage planning. We provide a number of high-grade shelving solutions for a wide range of products and materials. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about warehouse arrangement, Arizona warehouse design in particular, and / or what storage solutions may be best for your specific needs

Phoenix: A Magnet For Distribution and Warehouse Facilities

The state of Arizona is proud of the area’s impressive success.  Phoenix, Arizona has done a wonderful job of preparing everything for big business, and this includes planning for logistics, distribution, and warehouse facilities.  E-commerce types of businesses are also providing a strong demand for labor which might typically be two to three times that of traditional warehousing operations.  The logistics partners have turned to Phoenix due to many combinations of factors such as labor costs and availability.  The benefits for Arizona are important with these factors determining the markets that are selected.  All of these important reasons for success are helping to support additional growth in numbers for Arizona’s incredible opportunities.

Arizona Fulfillment Centers

Opportunities for strong continued economic growth are looking positive with the success around the metropolitan Phoenix area for distribution and warehouse facilities.  The support is strong for the right scalable infrastructure, proponents of economic growth outlooks, employment opportunities, and business services.  All of this is strengthening Phoenix’s ability to provide better goods and services to other markets.  The availability of a strong talent pool and an educated workforce has been smartly supported with the Arizona Warehouse Design.   The distribution is a healthy part of the economy and this includes all the fulfillment centers located throughout the state with encouragement for a warehouse consultant.  With all of this excitement, Phoenix is celebrated as a magnet for distribution and warehouse facilities.  The expertise is appreciated with the labor markets and trained workers at the distribution warehouses, along with the products and services offered at Kaco to support the facilities.

Economic Growth

Arizona and the capital city of Phoenix, are in a good location nationally and internationally.  The geographical location has it situated next to several larger land mass states and close to international access for world-wide commerce.  This is all positive for transportation, commerce, distribution, and warehouse facilities.  Recognized as a leader with innovation and sustainability, Phoenix has a large city feel with support of the widest ranges of business services.  The successful growth has provided opportunities for recognition of the best state leadership with international achievements for businesses of all sizes.

Logistics and International Relationships

Distribution with transportation and trucking facilities are important for coordinating and the industry developments have helped with relationship building across the international borderlines and throughout the nation.  The positive developments and strengthened relationships are also important for the optimal economic outlook for Arizona.  Phoenix, as one of the largest cities in the U.S., has proven itself as a successful metro area with the best infrastructure to support the state’s growth industries.  The economic impact is also optimal for the residents and tourists of this impressively organized state.

International Port of Entry

With one of the most ingeniously placed U.S. Ports in National History, Arizona has positioned itself nicely as a leader with support of international trading.  The leadership offering the initial conception design through funding and construction of the International Port of Entry has also planned the sustainable solutions for logistics, trucking, distribution, and local support of warehouse facilities.  The state has proven itself successful with leadership and the nationally impressive innovation efforts to support the amazing growth, and thankfully the best types of growth. 

Phoenix has earned awards and recognition for its successful ability to sustain real growth with innovation through good leadership.  As one of the international leaders with e-commerce throughout the duration of the Internet’s existence, Phoenix continues to be situated in one of the hottest fulfillment markets.  It is also a location of one of the nation’s U.S. Presidential Office Points of Light as a leader throughout commerce, tourism/recreation, governmental public policy awards, Metropolitan Area Downtown District Development Initiatives, nonprofit management, and international trading port development awards.  The economic support and overall achievements are important for Phoenix as a magnet for distribution and warehouse facilities.  Once again, labor costs and availability are helping Phoenix lead some of the world’s most important innovation efforts for big business, e-commerce, and overall customer satisfaction for business to consumer markets.  The business to business support is strong with companies such as Kaco offering products and services to support the distribution and warehouse facilities.

What To Know About Warehouse Permitting

Did you know that you need a warehouse permit for using a warehouse? Whether you’ve been in your current warehouse for years and are considering a redesign or you are moving into a new warehouse space entirely, you’ll most likely need a commercial and/or industrial permit to do so legally. 

But don’t worry; you don’t have to figure this out all on your own! At KACO Warehouse Outfitters, we are a full-service equipment and solution provider for warehouses and other similar industrial or commercial properties. Here’s what you need to know about warehouse permitting:

Warehouse Regulations Vary By City

While there are often some state regulations, what you’ll really want to look into are the regulations within your specific city. In Phoenix, for example, the city places concerns largely around high piled combustible storage (meaning if you are planning to stack flammable or otherwise potentially hazardouse materials in your warehouse, listen up!). In order to get approved for a warehouse permit, the permit application must show the planned location of any high piled storage areas and detail their dimensions and contents.

During the planning process, it is therefore crucial that you pay close attention to your city’s storage height and width restrictions, especially when it comes to potentially hazardous materials. You should be able to find this information on your city’s government website (hereare the high piled combustible storage regulations for Phoenix) or by submitting an inquiry with your local fire department. The fire department will be involved in your permit approval process to ensure there are no safety hazards or fire codes being violated.

General Permit Application Requirements

Different cities may have somewhat different requirements for warehouse permitting to be approved, but in general, here’s what you’re looking at:

  • The tenant / owner name and their current contact information
  • History of the building and its construction date
  • Warehouse layout / scaled floor plan that clearly depicts any high piled areas — a CAD floor plan may also suffice or be included in addition
  • Detailed information on the floor plan about the materials being stored in each area and their dimensions (height and square footage must be included)
  • A hydraulic placard on sprinkler risers that also includes the system flow densities as well as their dimensions (height in particular)
  • Any additional guidelines that have been followed as well as the last dates and results of any inspections 

Keep in mind that the city will primarily be looking at whether or not you’ve met all of their current warehouse regulations. It is important to become well-versed in these before proceeding with the application.

How Long Does it Take for Permits to Get Approved?

Sometimes it can take mere weeks, while other times approval can take months. The length of time that your approval takes will be dependent on a variety of factors:

  • The size of your warehouse and the complexity of the redesign or renovations
  • The amount of hazardous materials you have to store
  • Whether or not any information is missing from your permit application / proposal (the city will either ask you for the missing information or may even have you start the application process all over again)
  • The availability of government officials and the fire department (things tend to be busier in Spring, for example, when many other people are looking for permit approval). 

Getting Help from the Pros will Save You Time and Money!

It’s not impossible to get warehouse permit approval all on your own, but it can be a lot more difficult. And the last thing you want is to spend so much time drafting your proposal and planning your warehouse only to have it turned down, forcing you to start the process all over again. 

Enlisting the help of a professional, full-service warehouse outfitter for the process is crucial to saving you time and money. At KACO, for example, we have a lot of experience with filling out permits for different types of warehouses and other industrial properties, and we are also happy to help design the planned layout of your warehouse so that it is safe, efficient and meets local regulation requirements. 

Have more questions about warehouse permitting and what specifically applies to you? At KACO Warehouse Outfitters, we can help you figure it out! We have decades of experience furnishing warehouses with all that they need and making sure items follow regulations. Give us a call today! 

The Importance of Pallet Rack Maintenance and Inspection

Inspecting Pallet Rack Wire Deck Safety

For deck safety inspections, you’ll want to do the following:

  • It’s important to review every beam to make sure they are all uniformly leveled along the pallet loads.
  • Look for any breaks in the mesh decking, as well as the welds. The mesh should not show any signs of bowing or bending.

Inspecting Pallet Rack Accessories

For accessories inspections, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Anchors must be secured to baseplate.
  • Look for breaks in welds.

Inspecting Rails and Bracing

For rails and bracing inspections, you’ll want to do the following:

  • For rails, look for deformations and any broken welds between the arms and rails. Also, check for missing or loose hardware.
  • For horizontal and vertical bolted bracing look for missing or bent bracing. Like above, also check for missing or loose hardware.

Inspecting Push Back Rails and Push Back Carts

For push back rails and carts inspections, you’ll want to do the following:

  • For push back rails, check the alignment and look for broken welds, loose or missing hardware, and be sure to inspect the rails for debris. Clean as needed.
  • For push back carts, check the alignment and see if the wheels need to be replaced, check for broken or loose welds, and check for any missing or loose hardware.

In Conclusion

The above are just a few tips to help you get educated, but you always want to hire a professional to do the inspection and be sure they document everything.