warehouse

10 Proven Principles for Best Warehouse Design and Operation

10 Proven Principles for Best Warehouse Design and Operation

In this article, Logistics Bureau’s Mal Walker, who has spent decades exploring all aspects of warehousing, offers some valuable tips on warehouse design and operation. Over the years, Mal has come to appreciate that there is real science behind distribution centre design, operation, and flow management. He has delved deeply into it and identified ten principles for optimising warehouse performance. Let’s take a look at them one by one: 1) Minimal Touch of Goods We want to get as close as possible to zero handling of products in the warehouse. Unless it is fully automated, the average warehouse will involve seven or eight instances in which products are handled. That means that people actually pick something up and put it down seven to eight times, either manually or using MHE. If you can get that down to three or four times your warehouse performance will improve. 2)  One-Way Flow One-way flow is really important, not only that of the goods in the warehouse, but also of vehicles around the warehouse. One-way flow is a really good principle to apply during the design process because it allows you to plan your picking path through the warehouse as well as your replenishment paths. In terms of vehicles, in Australia, we run trucks generally in a clockwise direction around the warehouse. The reason for this is so that drivers can reverse on the right side if they have to back into a dock. In the United States and many other parts of the world, it’s the other way around—counter-clockwise. 3) Triadic Warehousing The vast majority of warehouses we see today are based on the triadic design—in other words, divided into three zones: Fast-moving productMedium-moving productSlow-moving product A warehouse that has no zones would be non-triadic. But we may have both triadic and non-triadic in the same warehouse due to the increasing reliance on automation. In the automated section of a warehouse, you don’t need to know where the stock is because the crane or the automatic storage and retrieval system will find it. But in the section that is operated manually, the correct placement of stock is critical. 4) Inventory Control Inventory control is about having the right amount of stock to meet customer demand. We have to track the movement of products because that drives the physical process in the warehouse.  It’s important to look at sales but also at the...

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Improve your Warehouse Productivity Through Product Slotting

Improve your Warehouse Productivity Through Product Slotting

ARTICLE SUMMARY Product slotting can significantly improve warehouse productivity—and reduce labour costs by up to 30 percent. Simply put, product slotting is about putting the right product in the right place so you can pick it in the most efficient way. In other words, you put the fastest moving products closest to the packing and dispatch area to minimise the movement of people in the warehouse. How to do this? To start with, find out which products are picked the most and place them as close as possible to where dispatch is situated. It is important not only to think horizontally but to think vertically as well. So, slow-moving products go up on the top shelves because it takes longer to get them, while faster-moving products come down on the bottom shelves. Doing it right can save you 15 to 30% in warehouse labour costs. One of the key things you can do in your warehouse to improve the productivity of your staff as far as picking and packing go is to institute a system of product slotting. How Supermarkets Slot Products You may well ask: “What the hell is product slotting?” To answer this question, let me give you an analogy. When you walk into a supermarket you will invariably find that the fast-moving products—such as milk, and eggs, and bread—are stocked at the back of the store. Why do the stores do that? It’s because they want you to walk through the entire store, seeing all these other products that you might buy. On the way through you may pick up a packet of biscuits or a chocolate, and by the time you leave you’re laden with goods you didn’t intend to buy. In effect, retail stores slot their products (understandably) in a way that is optimal for sales, not ergonomics. How Warehouses Slot Products The supermarket example above represents the exact opposite of what you should do in your warehouse. Here, you put the fastest-moving products closest to the packing and dispatch area to minimise the movement of warehouse staff. You want to lay out your warehouse so your picker’s travel the least distance. Simply put, warehouse product slotting is about putting the right product in the right place so you can pick it in the most efficient way. Here’s another way to look at it. Imagine the warehouse as a big box. On one side...

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The Three Usual Mistakes in Warehouse Design

The Three Usual Mistakes in Warehouse Design

What are the things that people get wrong most of the time in warehouse design? Here’s what Malcolm Walker, LB Manager Consulting, thoughts about it. Related articles on this topic have appeared throughout our websites, why not check them out? Robobyrne: FACT – The 4 Warehouse Design Principles Supply Chain Secrets: Triadic Warehouse and More Warehouse Tips Benchmarking Success: 3PL Warehousing Dawson Consulting: Warehouse Management Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 23, 2020, under the title “Three Things People Get Wrong in Warehouse Design— Malcolm Walker“ on Logistics Bureau’s website. Best Regards,Rob O’ByrneEmail: robyrne@logisticsbureau.comPhone: +61 417 417...

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Why Large Companies Increasingly Opt for 4PL Services

Why Large Companies Increasingly Opt for 4PL Services

SUMMARY: Because 4PL providers handle a company’s entire chain, including challenges that are thrown up by advances in technology, they are increasingly being favoured over third-party logistics (3PL) providers, especially by big companies with complex supply chains. In its simplest form, fourth-party logistics is a model in which manufacturers hand over the entirety of the organisation and oversight of their supply chain to a 4PL provider. By contrast, the third-party logistics model is where a manufacturer retains oversight of its supply chain but outsources such processes as warehousing, shipping, packing, and distribution to a 3PL provider. When the COVID-19 pandemic began wreaking havoc in global supply chains, smaller companies turned to 3PL providers for help. Bigger companies with complex global supply chains, however, realised they needed sophisticated digital technologies and streamlined supply chain processes offered by 4PL providers to help them ride out the storm. The concept of fourth-party logistics has existed for some time but only truly began evolving with the arrival of Industry 4.0—the digitisation of manufacturing. Because 4PL providers handle a company’s entire chain, including challenges that are thrown up by advances in technology, they are increasingly being favoured over third-party logistics (3PL) providers, especially by big companies with complex supply chains. The Differences between 4PL and 3PL It will be helpful at this stage to determine the differences between 4PL and 3PL. The terms are often mixed up and some firms claim to be 4PL providers when in fact they only provide 3PL services. What is 4PL? In its simplest form, fourth-party logistics is a model in which manufacturers hand over the entirety of the organisation and oversight of their supply chain to a 4PL provider. What is 3PL? The third-party logistics model is where a manufacturer retains oversight of its supply chain but outsources processes such as warehousing, shipping, packing, and distribution to a 3PL provider. The key difference between the two can perhaps be explained in the following example: A 3PL provider working with a paint manufacturer may package and store products as well as transport them to retailers and/or customers. Unlike a 4PL, however, it won’t manage the paint maker’s entire supply chain. There are, of course, some other important differences between the two types of providers: 4PL is, in general, better suited for medium-to-large businesses, while 3PL is more suited to small-to-medium businesses.4PL companies operate at the optimisation and collaboration level...

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A Case Study of Warehouse & Distribution Centre Benchmarking

A Case Study of Warehouse & Distribution Centre Benchmarking

BENCHMARKING IS A FANTASTIC BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT TOOL. John Monck, Manager Consulting at Logistics Bureau will demonstrate its use and explain more about it. Kindly watch the video below: Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 05, 2020, under the title “Warehouse & Distribution Centre Benchmarking Case Study— John Monck” on Logistics Bureau’s website. Best Regards,Rob O’ByrneEmail: robyrne@logisticsbureau.comPhone: +61 417 417...

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