In order to maximize the efficiency of a distribution centre site, strategic planning and ongoing analysis is needed. Here are ways that can get you started presented by Stan Krawitz, executive vice president, founder and head of real estate advisory firm Savills Studley.
Select a site location with labour pool availability in mind
When picking a distribution centre site, it’s very important to select a location with a workforce that consists of the much required education and experience expected to run your facility in the appropriate manner.
Align facility layout with inventory management operations
The flow between inbound inventory to outbound staging and transportation should be seamless. Keep in mind the processes that happen within the facility when deciding on the location and proximity between areas.
Install the right lighting
Not all areas within the distribution centre utilize light in the same manner. Reflect on the operations in the facility when choosing lighting systems. Implementing cost-saving practices include installing timers that make sure that lights are only used when needed; and also entails LED bulbs that lessen energy usage.
Ensure adequate space in staging bays
When creating space for the outbound process, take an approach that is organized. Leave what equates to 20 metres of space from the dock to give employees enough room to prepare for shipment.
Find and install proper racking
When needing to maximize flow efficiency, the type, location and density of racking should all align with inventory carrying, pick practices and order characteristics. Ponder on the product’s needs and how you take it off the rack.
Refine pick strategy regularly
Business tends to fluctuate and change according to seasons and orders. Being able to perfect order characteristics is important for long-term efficiency. Carry out an inventory optimization study on a regular basis and use data analytics.
Create transportation efficiencies
Schedule instantaneous outbound shipments to maximize your resources and then use your transportation network efficiently. Increase visibility within a network and optimize how goods flow by setting up advanced shipping notifications from the point that the purchase order is placed.
Allocate a specific area of the facility for staging or holding inventory based on your outbound requirements. Integrate a strategic role for the crossdocking system to be implemented within the warehouse ecosystem. This leads to operational efficiencies in the facility and it increases speed to market.
What has been proven to minimize labour costs and maximize work output is robotics and advanced retrieval systems. According to the International Federation of Robotics, by the end of this year, the supply of industrial robots will have reached 400 000 units and will grow by a rate of 15 percent annually.
Set up an area to test operations improvements
Before carrying out processes to improve operations, test the idea on a much smaller scale in order to cultivate data and make adjustments if needed. When coming across problems such as quality control and returns, recognizing and executing solutions can be complicated. Fine tuning strategies in a smaller designated area enables maximizing efficiency before implementing solutions across the entire facility.