How to Improve Warehouse Productivity with Efficient Storage Solutions

 

Warehouse efficiency and productivity is the holy grail for most businesses, and if it isn’t, then there’s going to be a problem further down the line. Efficient storage solutions such as warehouse racking, heavy duty shelving, workbenches and systems that work are the key to unlocking your warehouse’s productivity potential.

To illustrate this point, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the solutions available to you to improve your warehouse productivity. So not only can you save time, but you can also save money.

 

Productivity metrics and how to measure them

Businesses can measure warehouse efficiency and productivity in several ways. Common metrics include:

  • Order picking accuracy
  • Order cycle time
  • Order lead time
  • Average warehouse capacity used
  • Peak warehouse capacity used
  • On-time shipments
  • Cost per order

 

These are just some of the metrics you can measure in your warehouse to improve productivity, and we’ll take you through the measuring process of each one that has a formula. Furthermore, we’ll also be recommending some of our favourite storage solutions and systems to help improve the processes you already have in place, which should move the needle on those all-important metrics.

 

Order picking accuracy

The order picking accuracy allows visibility over how accurately products are being picked from the warehouse for customer orders. You can improve your overall warehouse efficiency by monitoring and increasing the picking accuracy. Poor order picking accuracy can lead to increased labour costs, inaccurate stock-taking, delayed orders and poor customer satisfaction. The standard setting warehouses typically hit 99.89% when measuring order picking accuracy.

To begin your journey to 99.89% accuracy, the first thing to consider is the way in which you arrange and store your products. Having an effective storage system in place is key to increasing order picking accuracy, and that includes the kit you use. The Storalex industrial shelving units from Tufferman are a great place to start, offering superior strength and durability.

Other ways to improve order picking accuracy include strategically placed items, such as arranging your warehouse in order of best sellers, employee input on strategy, and monitoring and measuring the KPIs effectively.

 

Order cycle time

This is the average time it takes for an order to be shipped, measured from when the customer places the order. The ‘cycle’ includes all the processes that happen in between the order being placed and the order being shipped, such as accepting the order, picking and packing, and getting ready to ship the items. The shorter the order cycle time, the shorter the order lead time, which both combine to contribute to customer satisfaction.

Improving the order cycle time involves combining effective processes with the kit you utilise. For example, do you use workstations or melamine shelving? Do you use storage boxes on your industrial shelving units? Which bits of equipment can you use to make your processes easier to execute? Obtaining feedback from employees about both the storage products and procedures is crucial to the success of your metrics, too. The staff that carry out the order cycle are best placed to make recommendations on tweaks and adjustments.

 

Order lead time

The order lead time is the average time it takes for an order to reach the customer after they’ve placed it. The shorter the order lead time, the better. The calculation for order lead time is typically your order cycle time plus the time it takes to ship.

 

Average warehouse capacity used

Average warehouse capacity used is a crucial KPI for warehouse managers to monitor, as maximising the space you use means your storage solutions are more effective – meaning less time wasted trying to find the items you need. The best warehouses are utilising an average of 92.54% of warehouse space outside of peak times (such as Christmas).

 

Peak warehouse capacity used

Whereas average warehouse capacity is the average used in a set period of time, peak warehouse capacity is a KPI to track how well a warehouse uses its space in its busiest periods. For example, this is a useful KPI as it allows businesses to plan for flexing space during seasonal periods. The front running warehouses will be utilising 100% of warehouse space during peak times.

To reach 100% of peak warehouse capacity used, as well as increase the average warehouse capacity used, warehouse managers should consider expanding their warehouse vertically instead of outwards. This allows them to maximise the space they use, especially if they narrow down the corridors between industrial shelving units. Given that it’s boltless and easy to assemble, Storalex is the go-to option for this.

 

On-time shipments

This KPI is all about how efficient your shipping processes are and is measured using the following formula:

Number of orders shipped on time or in advance / Total number of orders shipped.

The speed at which you turn around your orders and ship them can be a fantastic yardstick for the productivity of your warehouse. The quicker you get the orders out, the happier your audience will be, and the more efficient your warehouse can be deemed to be. With the best storage solutions in place to aid your systems and processes, you can turn around your orders even quicker.

For example, your picking and packing will be far more effective with organised and efficient workbench space.

 

Cost per order

This is a crucial KPI, as it measures the average cost to fulfil a single customer order from the minute the order is placed to the moment it arrives with the customer. The formula to arrive at cost per order is:

Total fulfilment costs/Total number of orders.

Costs involved can include packaging costs and, crucially, labour costs. The more productive your processes are, the lower your cost per order will be. Therefore, you can save money by improving your productivity in your warehouse.

Let’s round up the key ways to improve productivity, including using storage solutions.

 

Key ways to improve warehouse productivity

As we’ve seen, there are more than enough warehouse KPIs to measure warehouse efficiency and productivity. However, your primary asset when it comes to warehouse productivity is your space and how you fill it in the first place, not the technology available to warehouse managers today – although that does have its place.

In addition, the systems you put in place alongside the equipment you use are crucial. This includes strategically placed products for quicker picking processes, employee input on warehouse practices, monitoring and measuring KPIs, and reducing time wastage wherever possible.

However, by filling your square footage with the right equipment, you can make your space work hard for you. Couple that with foolproof processes, and you’ll be well on your way to moving the needle on those key warehouse metrics.

To wrap up, let’s summarise those critical pieces of kit.

 

SX340 Industrial Shelving

  • 4, 5 and 6 level bays available
  • 2mm thick powder coated European steel construction
  • 15mm thick chipboard shelves, tested to 340kg UDL per shelf
  • Total load capacity of up to 2,040kg UDL per bay
  • Single piece uprights increase bay stability
  • Purchase additional shelves to suit storage requirements
  • Boltless ‘stud & keyhole’ design, used within the UK for over 25 years
  • 4/5/6 x 15mm chipboard decks as standard with each bay
  • Built to ISO manufacturing standards and FEM approved
  • Suitable for daily use within a commercial/industrial environment
  • Low profile shelf beam design maximises storage space
  • Quick & easy construction, assembly mallet provided with each order
  • Full range of accessories such as joining tie plates available
  • Adjustable shelf height every 3.8cm (1.5 Inches)
  • Accessible from both sides, no cross bracing needed

 

SX400 Industrial Shelving

  • 15mm thick chipboard shelves, tested to 500kg UDL per shelf
  • Total load capacity of up to 2,500kg UDL per bay
  • Single piece uprights increase bay stability
  • Purchase additional shelves to suit storage requirements
  • Boltless ‘stud & keyhole’ design, used within the UK for over 25 years
  • 3/4/5 x 15mm chipboard decks as standard with each bay
  • Built to ISO manufacturing standards and FEM approved
  • Suitable for daily use within a commercial/industrial environment
  • Low profile shelf beam design maximises storage space
  • Quick & easy construction, assembly mallet provided with each order
  • Full range of accessories such as joining tie plates available
  • Adjustable shelf height every 3.8cm (1.5 Inches)
  • Accessible from both sides, no cross bracing needed

 

SX800 Industrial Shelving

  • 15mm thick chipboard shelves, tested to 800kg UDL per shelf
  • Total load capacity of up to 4,000kg UDL per bay
  • Single piece uprights with durable powder coated finish
  • Purchase additional shelves to suit storage requirements
  • Boltless ‘stud & keyhole’ design, used within the UK for over 25 years
  • 3/4/5 x 15mm chipboard decks as standard with each bay
  • ISO 9001 quality certification and tested to strict FEM standards
  • Suitable for intensive use within a commercial/industrial environment
  • Low profile shelf beam design maximises storage space
  • Quick & easy construction, assembly mallet provided with each order
  • Full range of accessories such as joining tie plates available
  • Adjustable shelf height every 3.8cm (1.5 Inches)
  • Accessible from both sides, no cross bracing needed

 

Workstations and workbenches

  • Industrial grade, heavy duty shelving.
  • Ready to use in minutes thanks to the quick and easy, boltless ‘snap in’ assembly system
  • Dual twist and lock support beams so you can configure the shelf supports to match any load
  • Four levels, adjustable every 50mm (suitable for hand loaded storage only)
  • Supplied flat packed, easy to transport and move around before assembly