Optimizing Warehouse Layout: Strategies for COOs

A carefully planned warehouse layout, along with a barcoding system, and appropriate automation provide a foundation for growth.

Jeff Johnston

Consulting Manager

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Table of Content

    How goods move through your warehouse facility affects your organization’s overall profitability.

    That may seem like an overstatement, but a quick look at the data related to labor, errors, and even simple floor space show that warehouse operations are crucial to productivity and, ultimately, profitability.

    Assess Your Warehouse Layout

    Before making any changes to your warehouse, you should take the time to assess your current situation. Begin with what needs to happen. Activities like receiving, picking, packing returns, and shipping are important in most warehouses. How are they set up? Where do bottlenecks occur?

    Another important part of operations is the warehouse management system (WMS) in use. How does it integrate with other systems? What information can be gleaned from your WMS? Can it be used as you continue to assess and move into planning for optimization?
    overhead view of a manufacturing plant

    Dynamics 365 Buyers Guide for DistributionDynamics 365 Buyers Guide for Distribution


    Create a plan for organizing the activities in your warehouse. Your WMS can facilitate this stage.

    Most warehouse operations should focus on picking and the picking path but consider the overall flow of traffic through your operation. Consider where things are stored, and what the layout looks like. It may seem like a good idea to store like things together, but does that add unnecessary travel time as pickers gather orders?

    Consider setting up zones or implementing wave picking. Floor markings can help improve the traffic flow and efficiency within the various zones. Using clear, easy-to-understand labels is another relatively simple change that can make a big impact on productivity.

    As you create a plan, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. In such cases, beginning with one zone or section can make for easier implementation.

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    This guide will provide an overview of the entire platform and answer questions about features, selection, purchasing, implementation and support of the Dynamics 365 suite of solutions.

    Useful Tips

    Some of the most helpful changes in a warehouse are so simple that they’re easily missed. For example, using vertical space drastically increases the amount of product your operation can process. The type of shelving in use may make the work easier or more difficult. Optimizing the width of the aisles is another relatively obvious action that is frequently overlooked.

    Consider setting a schedule for regularly cleaning, organizing, and auditing the entire warehouse. This provides an opportunity to liquidate unused inventory and it may help you identify areas where efficiencies can be improved.

    Creating standard operating procedures for employees and providing maps and pick routes can reduce training time as well as improve productivity—both of which can reduce labor costs. If you don’t already have an RFID or barcoding system, it’s an investment worth considering.

    The Magic of Automation

    One additional step in optimizing your warehouse operation is to automate everything it makes sense to automate. This is another excellent reason to carefully consider your WMS. A system that can easily integrate makes automation a simpler process.

    Automation reduces human error. When tasks are repetitive and easily automated, humans can turn their attention to other, more complex tasks. Automation also saves time, so the result of appropriate automation is improved accuracy and increased productivity.

    A carefully planned warehouse layout, along with an RFID or barcoding system combined with a strong WMS and appropriate automation provide a foundation for growth in the future. We can help you create and implement a warehouse optimization plan for your organization that is based on your needs and future plans.

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    Jeff Johnston

    Consulting Manager

    Follow Me: