IMPROVE FORKLIFT TRAVEL TIME

When you are a warehouse manager, the name of the game is efficiency. One of the biggest and over looked time-eaters is forklift travel time. Did you know that warehouse studies have found that 50-60% of travel time is wasted in most warehouse facilities? And this is due to a variety of factors, such as:

 

Fleet is too small, requiring multiple trips by the same forklift

Poor maintenance and floor conditions create detours and slower travel times

New product lines being stored wherever there is room for them

Aisles are used by people, equipment and extra product overflow

Popular items are separated because of size or storage handling requirements

The warehouse layout doesn’t work with the flow of traffic

Dead-end aisles using the incorrect forklifts

Poor lighting reduces travel and order-picking speeds

Increased number of SKU’s make organization difficult

 

The goal is to minimize travel time while preventing injury, product damage and forklift abuse. It certainly isn’t the easiest of tasks. If you recognize any of the above in your warehouse, here are some tools you can apply to help your team run more efficiently.

 

Evaluate your layout of receiving, storage and shipping. 

Get a layout of your facility or even just make a sketch. Draw arrows to reflect which way your product flows. Of course, a well-designed facility will have single direction flow from receiving to shipping. If your arrows go in different directions, multiple turn-around areas or go in opposing directions, then you have found your areas to address.

 

Look for ways to reduce bottlenecking and congestion in high-traffic areas. 

Improve routes to product destinations. Minimize travel distance from popular sources to popular destinations. Consider placing inventory that moves quickly from receiving to shipping in a special area, not necessarily stored in the warehouse. Removing these items from the general flow can help to move them out faster and increase general flow for your warehouse.

 

Look to improve your use of space. 

Travel time increases when there is a shortage of floor space. You might want to consider using vertical racks and converting to a narrow aisle strategy. By doing this, you can get more inventory within the footprint of your warehouse. Talk to a warehouse professional for ideas to help maximize your warehouses limited space.

 

Decide the best place to store fast-moving SKU’s. 

Manage your inventory with a well-organized inventory tracking system. But also use your common sense and experience to create an efficient, safe working environment.

 

Review all of your SKU’s and SKU groups to evaluate your fastest moving items.

Place these fast-moving items closer to their destinations, as well as on ground level. This can minimize your retrieval times significantly. Balance order-picking locations to lessen congestion in certain aisles. Constantly move your inventory with seasonal or changing demands from the marketplace.

 

Manage your inventory with a well-organized inventory tracking system. But also use your common sense and experience to create an efficient, safe working environment.



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