More money is in your business. You just haven’t accessed it yet.
It doesn’t have anything to do with selling more or raising your prices or marketing your services. It literally is in your business. And, by literally, we mean in your storage space.
Here’s what we mean…
In this article, you’ll learn several easy adjustments in the warehouse solutions industry:
- What the 80/20 rule is, and how to use it to increase profit and save time effectively
- Benefits of storing items within hand’s reach
- Several counterintuitive storage tips we’ve picked up. They range from embracing empty space to building vertically instead of horizontally
- Save money by training employees on OSHA rules and regulations
- The importance in creating an in-house policy that aligns with your business goals
- Why providing optional and mandatory employee training and practicing it is beneficial
- Incorporating an inplant modular office to boost employee morale
- And more…
We, at Specialized Storage Solutions, like to call it the 80/20 rule. This simple adjustment cuts wait times on multiple deliveries. Your shipments get out faster. One-time customers turn into committed customers because of your fast shipping process and consistent, quality customer service.
How it works…
Store 20% of your fastest-moving products closest to the loading dock. Store the rest—80% of your (slower-moving) items—farther back.
Warehouse employees will spend less time making multiple 1-3 minute trips to the back and front of the storage facility. You save more time…and more money.
Even Faster Load Times
Faster load times assist in automation and maximize productivity and cost efficiency. To speed up load times, store the top fastest-moving item closest to the loading dock AND within hand’s reach. The less employees move, the faster your product ships, and the sooner your customer receives their product.
Counterintuitive Tips We Picked Up Along the Way
Over our 25 years of doing business in the storage solutions industry, we’ve come across a few counterintuitive storage tricks to make the most of your storage space and reap the financial benefits.
Ideal Storage System Isn’t What You Think It Is
One of our favorites is create a storage system where any product can be stored anywhere.
Your top-selling product may not be your top-selling product in the future. It could be replaced. It may be discontinued. A new product is introduced. Your business is always changing; you need a flexible storage space that goes with the changes and works for you, not the other way around.
Empty Space is Good
Aren’t storage spaces supposed to store items? Having empty space in your facility sounds ironic. But it’s not, and here’s why.
Some empty space is necessary because you need to factor in future business growth. When your business does grow, you need space for more product. Making room for future product allows for an easier transition during that growth period. And, by embracing the empty, you turn the idea of future business growth into a reality.
But what if you’ve assessed your storage facility and realize you don’t have any more space? What now?
Our guess is you do.
Build Vertically, Not Horizontally
We normally think of storage as spread out, not “spread up.” Vertical space is one of the most underrated assets in the storage world. Yet it creates more space, increases efficiency, and promotes a healthier and safer working environment.
Even if your storage racks are at the 18-inch mark (racks must be 18 inches below sprinklers, according to local building codes), you can always install a mezzanine office. Since the mezzanine office is off the ground level, it increases capacity and productivity without the expansion. We’ve installed several, and the results have always been positive.
(However, if you’ve already installed a mezzanine office and maximized the storage facility’s vertical space, it is time to upgrade and lease a larger storage facility to keep up with your business growth.)
Save Money by Training Warehouse Employees
In order to have an efficient warehouse facility, you need properly trained employees.
What Employees Need to Know
Employees need to be familiar with standard warehouse procedures and protocol. They also need to understand how to operate and handle warehouse equipment and systems.
Not to mention, how to fulfill customer orders, as well as receive, count, and store inventory. It’s not uncommon (and, in fact, is recommended) to utilize digital devices to track inventory; warehouse employees should know how to use such devices to better streamline warehouse processes.
Standing for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, OSHA tries to protect work-related accidents, illness, and death from happening. With the act being signed by President Nixon in 1970, OSHA rules and regulations must be followed at all times.
Warehouse managers and employees need to be aware and follow OSHA rules and regulations to the T. That way, a safe working environment can be maintained, as, since the creation of OSHA, occupational deaths have dropped by 62% and injuries have decreased by 42%.
Forklift or Vertical Parts Lift?
In creating a safe working environment, it’s important to decide what operating equipment to use in your storage facility. Forklifts may be a warehouse standard, however, it’s known to have caused up to 95,000 injuries and 100 deaths.
It’s also expensive and can be loud, compared to vertical parts lifts, which are more low-maintenance and just as efficient. For this reason, we recommend that warehouse employees use a vertical parts lift over a forklift since it’s a safer option.
Create an In-House Policy
Other than following OSHA and local and state regulation, create an in-house policy for warehouse employees to follow. This process should be personalized and streamlined to fit your warehouse solutions goals. Feel free to incorporate the 80/20 rule or any other efficient, cost-effective solutions into your policy.
Keep Up With Training
A lot of times, new employees will only be trained once, and that’s it. Not staying up to date with new and improved training methods creates an unsafe workplace environment. This jeopardizes employees’ safety, increasing injury risk, temporary and permanent disability, and workers’ compensation. To avoid this, regularly provide mandatory and optional training for employees throughout the year.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice the training regularly. While warehouse managers shouldn’t micromanage, they should point out areas employees need to improve on…for safety and productivity purposes. For instance, employees need to lift product from the legs, not the back. This will decrease the chances of back injury.
By providing consistent opportunities, creating in-house policy, and promoting employee safety, you’ll have less employee turnover. This means less time allotted to training new workers, which slows down productivity. With less time wasted, you improve costs meanwhile protecting workers from injury and harm.
Utilize an Inplant Modular Office
Inplant modular offices have many benefits, cost-effectiveness and efficiency being two of them.
Easier to Observe Daily Operations
For one, managers don’t have to be out and about on the warehouse floor. Instead, they can easily watch daily warehouse operations from inside. In fact, managers have an easier time observing the operations from inside versus being in the middle of the “comings and goings.” This allows for managers to see if employees need help and provide them the support they need in a timely manner. At the same time, employees can easily flag managers to come over and help out.
Since inplant modular offices offer managers an easier view on daily operations, managers can spot overperforming employees. They can then reward these employees with bonuses, praise, recognition, and awards. Regular recognition and appreciation create a positive work environment. Employees will want to wake up and come to work, working at the best of their ability.
Because of this motivation, you’ll see an increase in productivity. Shipments will be unloaded and loaded faster. Employee morale will improve. And customers will be happier because of faster shipping times—all thanks to consistent employee recognition and appreciation.
These warehouse solutions tips can help you leverage your warehouse facility, improving your profits, impressing your customers, and paving the way for future business growth. Know that some of these tips take time to integrate—such as regular, consistent employee training. While others are more instantaneous—moving 20% of your fastest-moving product to the front. Feel free to use all of these tips or pick and choose ones that fit with your warehouse design.
Overall, our goal is to provide warehouse solutions to you that will create space, maximize efficiency, and increase profitability.
Warehouse Solutions Summary
- Use the 80/20 Rule: place 20% of your fastest-moving product closest to the loading dock (80% towards the back)
- Load and unload faster by placing the fastest of the fastest-moving product within hand’s reach
- The idealized warehouse space makes it so you can store any product anywhere
- Embrace empty space, as you need it to store future product when your business grows
- Build vertically, not horizontally by installing a mezzanine office in your storage facility
- Train warehouse employees on OSHA rules and regulation, as well as your in-house warehouse policy
- Keep up with this training
- Utilize an inplant modular office so managers can help employees and provide praise
Have any questions or comments? Want to know how you can leverage your storage space and save thousands? Contact Specialized Storage Solutions for advice on effective warehouse solutions.