Building and organizing an entirely new shipping warehouse from the ground up can be a daunting task. It’s best to have a plan in place long before you bring in even the very first item. Use the following tips as a starting point for setting up your business’ new distribution center.
When it comes time to start thinking about where and how to store your stock, you have some logistical decisions to make. You might organize items by SKU number, by manufacturer or even by the level of frequency with which each item is picked. Regardless of your choice, make sure to create a map of your layout to be used during the initial stocking process, as well as for employees to use going forward.
Labels and Colors
When organizing and laying out your stock room, don’t overlook the power of colors. Brightly hued shelf labels and end-of-aisle signs can make a stocker’s job far easier and more efficient. Assign a color to each category of item, and consider color-coordinating the subcategories as well. Create a legend to your color assignations and hang it in a prominent location within your shipping facility.
Packing and Shipping Area
As a manager, you may not have your hands in the shipping process every day, and as such you might not know exactly which shipping boxes and other supplies you require. The best way to find out is to talk to your employees who play an active part in shipping on a regular basis. They should be able to tell you what exactly it is that you need—and what you can skip.
Once you have all the necessary supplies, set up a specialized shipping area within your distribution warehouse. The size of your company will determine how large of a space you need, but even the smallest businesses should include a table or other flat workspace; accessible shelves (at roughly eye level) to store items like flat boxes and packing tape; and a well-organized spot for recycling and trash receptacles.
To make sure orders are fulfilled quickly and smoothly, you likely maintain a certain amount of back- or overstock merchandise in your shipping facility. The question is where do you store it? There’s only so much space on the stock room floor, so you’ll have to find an alternative location. Whether that’s an adjacent room or just a corner, make sure the area is just as well-organized as the rest of your facility. Also, be sure to instruct employees to check this area before ordering more of an item; not taking this step is a good way to end up with far too much product on your hands.
Your shipping warehouse has the potential to be an efficient, user-friendly space with logical organization and a functional design. With a bit of planning, it’s entirely possible to enhance productivity and ease the shipping process through the layout of your facility. Follow the above tips and take the time to truly consider the arrangement of the space. Doing so will result in maximum production and minimal customer wait time.