Modern storage methods in practice

Picture of Posted by Bill Denbigh

Posted by Bill Denbigh

February 10, 2022

The pressure to achieve more in your warehouse with the same or fewer resources requires finding creative ways to achieve efficiency and accuracy throughout warehouse operations. Let’s review some modern storage methods that work in practice. With everything you have going on in the warehouse, it’s a good exercise to review this list and make sure you’ve implemented the methods that will work in your warehouse.

1. Understanding cubic dimensions

While it may seem like a massive task to enter every stock keeping unit (SKU) and unit of measure (UOM) in your warehouse and then measure all stock locations, it is something that needs to be done because it is the starting point for every aspect of warehouse optimisation if you want to make the best use of space. Without a clear idea of your cubic dimensions, the following modern storage methods simply won’t work. It’s a big job, but start with one product line, one area of the warehouse or one unit of measure. Once you have made the first measurement, you can move on to the next.

2. Standardise your packages

You need to know the sizes of your packaging, as this allows you to choose the correct packaging and possibly pick directly from the shipping package. If you have an embedded Transport Management System (TMS), you’ll have even more opportunities to optimally pack your trucks and apply shipping labels early in the process.

3. Standardize labels

Another modern warehousing method is to brand products yourself, because uniform labels on products throughout the warehouse increase productivity and improve accuracy. Having your receiving labels placed on packaging in a consistent position and orientation along with uniform identification codes will also provide significant benefits.

4. Organise Cross Dock into fast and slow areas

Manage your cross dock proactively, assigning areas where cross dock goods will be located for very short periods of time versus longer periods. This allows your warehouse to have more efficient space management within the cross-docking area.

5. Align storage with ABC locations

Once you understand the cubic dimensions of goods and locations in your warehouse, you want to place the right goods in the right locations based on Cubic Velocity as a modern warehousing method. This can have a huge impact on your picking rates and picking accuracy. Recognise that the ABC placement method is not a simple thing – build a regular repositioning process into your stock plans to ensure you respond to the most current situation.

6. Get a streamlined return process

Many returns areas resemble a warehouse sale, where the stockpile grows and the pressure increases to get the goods back into the saleable stock as quickly as possible. Make sure to focus on quality control and warehousing of ready-to-sell goods. Make sure you keep track of the average return cycle time so that you are always focused on the development of the returns area.

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