More and more organizations are forced to address warehouse efficiency as the field of logistics changes. Inefficient processes cause UK warehouses to waste nearly 3,000 hours in packing, unloading, and inventory control every year. Warehouse efficiency is further hindered by inventory management issues like stockpiles of unsold goods. Similarly, global organizations with underperforming supply chains have trouble achieving profitability, which calls for a need to optimize everything from warehousing to distribution.
A report by Deloitte shows that 79% of companies with superior supply chains have revenue growth that’s significantly higher than average. Currently, warehouse operations are strained due to e-commerce’s increased demands. The warehouse industry is scrambling to keep up, and boosting efficiency is key to gaining ground. As part of this article, we’ll discuss the best ways to improve warehouse efficiency. Let’s begin!
1. Improve the Layout
Understanding your inventory’s size, weight, popularity, and storage needs is key to creating an efficient warehouse layout. This is the only way to store products in a configuration that makes the most sense for your business. It’s also helpful to understand how your staff works when redesigning your existing warehouse. Are certain areas of the warehouse prone to traffic jams? Does picking orders take longer than it should?
For example, a zoning system allows warehouse workers to select and store products efficiently. It makes more sense to keep bulky goods in extra-wide aisles rather than storing large and small items together. The logistics are different for larger and heavier goods. Moreover, reinforced shelving may be needed for heavier goods, generally more expensive than standard shelving. This is just one example of how changing your warehouse layout can improve efficiency. If you’re wondering about other ways in which you can organize your warehouse to make it more efficient, find out here.
2. Invest in a Green Roof
Add a sustainable roofing system to a warehouse to reduce the temperature inside. Although adding solar panels is an excellent way to make a roof “green” (more on that below), there are other ways. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Reducing the thermal load on a building by using plants and greenery.
- Installing light-colored reflective materials on the roof or painting it white to reflect solar radiation.
The reduction of heat transfer through a green roof decreases the energy used to heat and cool your warehouse. Dust and harmful gases are trapped in the plants on the roof, so the air is also cleaned. The only disadvantage is that the additional structural load must be considered when designing the roofing system.
3. Install Energy-Efficient Lighting
Making your warehouse more efficient could be as easy as changing the lighting. Traditionally, warehouse lighting systems have used HID or fluorescent lamps. As LED (light-emitting diode) technology continues to develop, these devices are now being used for many lighting applications, including high bay lighting. While LEDs are more expensive initially, they offer several advantages over the other types of lighting, including longer lifespans, higher efficiency (LEDs use approximately 30% – 70% less electricity), reduced heat emissions, and quicker reaction times (they can be switched on and off instantly).
Additionally, on-demand motion-sensor-activated lighting can help you save energy and money on your electric bill. Rather than relying on your employees to turn off the lights before they leave, your lights will shut off automatically when no movement is detected. Lighting your warehouse with motion sensor lights will help the staff navigate the most challenging, difficult-to-reach areas more safely and efficiently.
4. Add Solar Panels to Your Warehouse
Sunlight is the most reliable and cleanest energy source at our disposal, and you can harness it directly through solar panels. Warehouse owners who are trying to improve the efficiency of their organization and save on energy expenses are increasingly turning to energy-saving solar panels (also known as PV panels). Solar panels initially appear a bit costly, but one can expect a long-term return on investment, including lower electricity costs.
It takes a large surface area to utilize solar panels effectively, but this is precisely why they are such an excellent solution for large warehouses. An industrial warehouse’s electricity consumption can be covered up to 20% by rooftop solar panels. It is possible to install solar panels on different types of roofs, including metal roofs (provided they can support the weight), and they can also have multiple configurations.
Workplace safety, employee retention, and employer brand can all be enhanced by warehouse organization. Boosting efficiency with simple, minor organizational fixes can have a considerable impact. However, the upgrades to your layout and structure make the most difference, although they require a more considerable initial investment. Investing in structural upgrades such as a green roof or solar panels leads to significant long-term gains. These technologies are sustainable, nearly bulletproof ways to organize your warehouse and make it more efficient.
Thanks for the pointers you gave on improving the efficiency of a warehouse. I agree with your suggestion to improve the layout of a warehouse by understanding its inventory size and needs. In my opinion, a great way to improve the warehouse layout would be by investing in quality and effective racking systems.