Sectors

Logistics

Even when products are similar, every logistics warehouse is different because each has their own operational procedures and techniques. How inventory is received, stored, picked, packed, despatched and returned can vary greatly from one warehouse to another. By understanding the particular working methods of your logistical operations, WSL can find solutions to not only support your current working methods, but improve them.

Pallet racking for Puma's logistic warehouse

“WSL supported us throughout the planning and build process, any problems were dealt with quickly and professionally. The DC fit out was achieved on time and to Puma’s specifications.”

Puma

Management

Logistics is the process of systemisation and coordination which aims to simplify complex operations, primarily the movement of physical items, information, equipment and people between specific destinations.

Steered by strategic planning and organisation, logistics play a major role within a warehouse and is the mastermind behind operational sufficiency.

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Why Effective Logistic Management Is Important

The initial feel when entering a chaotic distribution centre with a ragged appearance is no control, possible health and safety issues, and low staff morale. A poorly organized warehouse with little in the way of logistical management will lead to slow, inefficient and unreliable service which will have severe consequences for the business. With poor planning and inadequate systems in place it would be difficult to achieve what should be at the forefront of any logistical operation; a superior service with customer satisfaction. A decline in profitability and an increase in costs would be the result, causing catastrophic damage to the business.

An efficient warehouse operation will receive, move and ship inventory in a timely manner with minimal disruption, damage or delays whilst ensuring the health and safety of personnel at all times. This successful operation is supported by the good practices and appropriate systems put in place by effective logistics management.

Are You Using Space Effectively?

Growth is a welcomed development for any business, however ensuring operations remain streamlined during rapid growth comes with its own challenges. A sudden influx of inventory and acceleration in product movement can lead to disarray and confusion in your warehouse if it is unprepared. When stock levels are heightened, clear visibility and accessibility is essential to ensuring your warehouse can cope with these changes. WSL can plan and construct your storage to ensure space is effectively used making your warehouse future ready and better prepared for business changes.

Radio Shuttle Racking

This compact storage system allows deep storage, eliminating aisle space and increasing storage capacity. Once a pallet has been loaded onto the channel, the radio controlled shuttle will carry the pallet deep into the lane, where it will sit until required. When pallets are loaded and retrieved from the same side, the method FILO (first-in last-out) is used, however if stock rotation is a priority then pallets can be retrieved from the opposite side enabling the FIFO (first-in first-out) method. A semi-automated system, the radio shuttle racking significantly reduces time spent by the operator loading and unloading, assisting the flow of goods passing through the warehouse.

How To Improve Logistic Performance

If your company is experiencing slowdowns and a decline in productivity then it may be time to review current logistic strategies to look at areas where efficiency could be improved. WSL will use our industry leading experience to first examine the physical aspects of your warehouse including the layout, storage systems, access and handling equipment to look for any deficiencies that may be having a negative effect on overall performance.

Planning Your Storage

Prior to any re-configurations or adjustments to your warehouse, careful planning is vital to ensure any implemented solutions successfully meet your current and future requirements. Our experienced warehouse storage design team will take the time to evaluate your current arrangement, inventory type, flow and space whilst obtaining a clear understanding of your future goals before using our extensive knowledge and expertise to advise you on the options available and the perceived benefits to your warehouse and business. With so many storage systems available we have filtered out three options we commonly use to assist the logistics industry:

Drive-In Pallet Racking

Drive-in or drive-through pallet racking is ideal for bulk storage or seasonal inventory because it offers high density storage with simple loading and unloading of pallets. If accessed from both sides this system can work on the FIFO method, however if stock rotation is not a priority and space is limited, the system can run from the wall with one access aisle and pallets will be retrieved on a FILO basis. This system is also suitable for cold storage as the storage capacity is high, reducing the cost-per-pallet for chilling stock versus a lower density system. 

Longspan Shelving

The manual storing of smaller items couldn’t be easier with this robust and very versatile shelving system which allows easy and direct access. Very adjustable, the system can be extended in length and increased in height with the use of stairs and walkways for higher level access – creating a multitier system.

In collaboration with the implementation of storage and handling there are with a number of other elements to explore if your goals of long-term sustainability and efficiency are to be achieved:

  • Utilize vertical space – When you look to the very top of your current racking and notice a clear area between the top and the ceiling, there could be potential for additional pallet racking levels. This will enable you to recover empty air space and use it for more effective purposes.
  • Increase storage depth – Storing your pallets back to back allows you to utilize the footprint area of your warehouse by reducing the number of aisles and replacing them with pallet racks.  This clever technique, known as double deep racking is ideal when stock rotation is not a priority however specialist trucks may be required.
  • Install a mezzanine floor –A mezzanine floor uses the height space in your facility to create more workspace without expanding the footprint area and depending on overall height space the floors can be multi tiered. This new space can be allocated to various departments to allow a more streamlined operation.
  • Reduce aisle width –You can reduce aisle width to increase pallet storage capacity by replacing unnecessary aisle space with racking so that more pallets can be stored in one area. Due to the reduced aisle size, narrow specialist trucks would be required.
  • Adjust departmental areas – Reorganize areas to ensure departments are better suited to the space in which they are allocated so that each department is using space effectively.
  • Rectify picking slots and locations – If there is empty space around your stored items you could consolidated these sections so that more slots and locations can be created.
  • Rethink your layout – A layout which provides suitable access to all areas, adequate goods in, sufficient packing areas and storage solutions that are suitable to the characteristics of the inventory will certainly increase overall productivity.
  • Good House Keeping – A clean and tidy warehouse will enhance work flow and reduce health and safety hazards. This is important in preventing accidents and ill health which leads to delays, down time and unnecessary costs
  • Clear Signage & Labelling – Ensure visibility of easy to read signage so that time looking for items is reduced and accidents are prevented. Picking and operations will run  lot more smoothly when a (WMS) Warehouse Management System is in place
  • Staff Training – Investing in staff training will lead to an efficient competent workforce with better use of their time. All staff operating machinery such as forklift trucks or using storage structures, such as pallet racking must have sufficient training and knowledge on how to use them safely.
  • Storage Equipment Safety – Ensure regular inspections of storage structures so that risk to workforce is reduced and potential downtime for repairs is lowered.
  • Consider Picking Times – Move items which are commonly ordered together so they are stored in close proximity to each other. For example, keeping the knives close to the forks will save time and significantly reduce picking times.
  • Use Bulk Storage Effectively – If you have a better density and a well thought out storage solution then raw materials required by a certain production process can be stored next to that production process area in higher quantities, so that labour restock and down-time can be reduce.
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What Sets Us Apart

Warehouse Systems Limited has been successfully delivering bespoke solutions to boost flow and support logistical operations in warehouses across the UK since 1989. We can provide flexible solutions not only to match your current operations, but also accommodate future changes with careful evaluation and planning. If you would like advice on improving the logistics of your warehouse call our expert team today on 0113 2045360 or send an email.

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