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image of redesigned warehouse

Rethinking You Warehouse Design? Consider This!

As a commercial or industrial warehouse owner, you are aware that your needs can change and vary based upon the challenges before you. Optimizing warehouse storage solutions are integral to running a tight ship in a fierce and competitive industry. To meet the challenges that are required of an industrial or commercial warehouse, we must optimize our warehouse for our experience.

When Should A Warehouse Get Redesigned

Warehouse operations are often long-term investments, so we must make sure that they are primed to meet our long-term goals. When it comes time to consider a warehouse redesign with Arizona’s leading warehouse outfitters, we must first ask and answer a few questions.

First, let’s take a look at a few common reasons for modifying the layout of a warehouse.

  • Inadequate Safety Practices — Warehouses are beholden to considerable safety practices and regulations. If a company is falling short in this area, a redesign may be necessary not just for efficiency, but also for the safety of everyone around.
  • Additional Storage Requirements — Some companies will vary their supply needs based on the ebb and flow of the season. Additional outside factors may suggest the need for additional storage, such as booming sales or a new marketing campaign.  Also, if your aisles and pallets are already filling up, you might need be space anyway.
  • New Product Introduction — Whenever a new product is brought to market, the storage needs must be ready to accommodate it. If you are introducing a new line or series of products, consider prepping now with a warehouse redesign.
  • Introduction of New Equipment — New operational equipment can dramatically change the workspace requirements of an entire warehouse. The introduction of pallet racks, conveyors, or even heavy lifting tools may demand a larger footprint.

Key Advantages to an Optimized Warehouse Design

It is easy to see how an optimized warehouse redesign can positively benefit our operations. With that being said, this can also become a costly procedure.

There are advantages both financially and professionally that can arrive with an optimized warehouse layout, so let’s take a closer look at how KACO Outfitters can help.

  • Optimize Workflow and Company Logistics
  • Boost Current and Future Storage Space
  • Safer and More Employee Friendly Workspace
  • Reduce Expenses Due to Inefficient Storage Practices

Maximizing a warehouse for success not just today but tomorrow is the goal at KACO Warehouse Outfitters. To tackle any of the problems or solutions posed above, let’s get on the phone with professionals who can help.

Call KACO Warehouse Outfitters For A+ Stocking and Storage Solutions

For the better part of 30 years, KACO Warehouse Outfitters has been supplying storage solutions to satisfied customers throughout the state of Arizona. With a focus on high-quality shelving and premium storage products, KACO Warehouse Outfitters is delighted to offer unbeatable prices and outstanding customer support to clients in need.

KACO Warehouse Outfitters stocks all supplies in its local warehouse to provide fast-acting customer service with in-house delivery, installation, and design operations. Schedule a free consultation today at KACO Outfitters!

image of designed warehouse

The Reasons to Hire a Professional Warehouse Designer

Even though you may think you can design your own warehouse, there are many good reasons to use a professional warehouse designer instead. It’s unusual for anyone to who’s not a professional to have all the skills and knowledge to do this. Let’s take a look at the reasons why using a professional warehouse designer is a better option.

Maxing Efficiency

Efficiency is a critical factor in warehouse design. The better the efficiency of your warehouse design, the better the revenue. Designing a warehouse is not a one-size-fits-all task. No two facilities are the same. The layout of a warehouse design will affect efficiency. Everything from equipment to type of storage systems plays a role in warehouse design. A design professional can analyze the unique and specific needs of your warehouse to develop the best storage system for both vertical and horizontal space that is available in your warehouse. Plus, a warehouse designer professional will determine the best rack systems and equipment to use in your warehouse. The end result is that you get the best plan to maximize space for efficiency.

The Latest Technology

Professional warehouse designers use the latest technology to yield efficient handling, operational flexibility and maximum product storage. In addition, they can advise you of the latest software and technologies to optimize loading, reduce handling, ramp up communication, streamline picking processes and optimize shipping.

A Current Operational Assessment

There’s more to warehouse design than just planning for space. It entails a deep analysis of your current operations along with a plan for future growth. An experienced warehouse designer will consider the current growth rate of your facility and plan for expansion and overstock storage.

Sustainable Design Initiative

With a professional warehouse designer, you’ll get an environmentally sustainable design. This will help the environment and also save you money in the long run. Design professionals can help you select eco-friendly options to conserve water, reduce waste, minimize energy usage and optimize the facility for eco-friendliness.

The Right Permits

Professional warehouse designers have experience with all the permits that your facility will need. They also know how to get the job done quickly to avoid costly delays.

All around, a professional warehouse designer can make all the difference in developing a system to meet your operational challenges. With all the benefits of a professional warehouse designer, you can’t ignore the fact that it’s better to hire one than to try and do it yourself.

 

image of designed warehouse

Key Factors in Warehouse Design

When it comes to warehouse design, there are a few key factors to think about. You’ve got to think about outbound logistics, what happens in the warehouse and outbound logistics. Whether your company has one warehouse or multiple warehouses, the choice of location will influence costs, efficiency and service. If fast service is a part of your service, you’ll want to have the warehouse located close facilities of your carriers or close to where your customers are located. In addition to lead time and supply chain velocity, you’ll also need to think about the processes in the warehouse, storage, receiving and dispatch volumes. The goal is to focus on network optimization. How quick are your inventory returns? What’s the strategy for the best customer service. Also, there are physical requirements. Is your process manual or automated? And when it comes to inbound logistics, you’ve got to consider these questions. What are the lead times for incoming deliveries? Where are your supplier located? How reliable are your suppliers?

All About the FAST Concept

The FAST concept is the acronym for flow, accessibility, space and throughout. You can apply this concept to the layout of your warehouse design. The objective of FAST is to enable smooth workflows with an emphasis on warehouse location and service. It’s a tried and proven concept that you can use when designing a warehouse.

Once you know how many warehouses and their locations, then think about structural design and capacity. In order to focus on structural design and capacity, as yourself these questions.

  • What takes place in the warehouse? What are the daily operations? What areas do you need for intake, storage, packing, picking and dispatch? Where will you locate any value-added services?
  • What are the characteristics of the products? What types of products are stored? Are these products fragile or hazardous? Will you be using cartons or full pallets for storage? Are there rules and regulations for the storage of the products? Is any type of control needed in the environment, such as temperature control for frozen goods?
  • Does the season affect the storage? If volumes vary depending on the season, you’ll have to allow the proper capacity for this. Does your warehouse handle returns from customers? If it does, you’ll likely need extra space for this processing and storage.

Applying the FAST Concept to Warehouse Layout Design

Let’s begin with F for flow. Here, the concern is the uninterrupted flow of movement, including people, products and traffic. The goal here is to ensure there are no cross-flow clashes in the operations of the warehouse. There should be a logical sequence of operations inside the warehouse. A smooth flow of operations includes no disruption and a limited amount of movement. Time is money. With uninterrupted flow, you’ll be maximizing revenue.

Accessibility not only includes being able to get to the product, but to the packaging unit. Can the product be assessed via a truckload or a pallet load? How do the products in your facility get from one place to another? You’ll need to think about whether or not the strict policy of first-in-first-out (FIFO) applies to your product, since you’ve got to be certain that you’re in compliance.  In the case of bottled water, you may have to access inventory in a store stock room. For example, with pharmaceuticals, access may be needed to fast-moving stock area, and that takes space.

Let’s move on to space. Warehouse space should always be maximized for stock processing reasons and for operational storage. All space should be planned and utilized wisely. Keep in mind that you’ll need space for offices and working areas. Be sure to make optimal use of the cubic capacity of the space and not just the floor area. Build flexibility into the operation by using the best storage media that can evolve. This way, when your operations grow, you’re in place strategies can grow with it.

Throughout entails the nature of the product and its velocity. Characteristics like size, dimensions and shape have to be taken into consideration. The velocity of the product will depend on the volume of what’s moving in the warehouse. Use data media to assist in the layout of the design, and get the facts.  The better the data; the less the risk.

Without a doubt, there’s a lot to think about in warehouse design. It’s not an easy or simple task. Planning and designing is an important undertaking that requires a lot of thought. The main point is to understand that flow, accessibility, space and throughout must be in place for maximum efficiency. If you’re not certain on how to do this, consider consulting a specialist with plenty of experience in warehouse design. A specialist will be able to ensure that your warehouse design and operations work for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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!