When time to dispatch is key to your customers and the flexibility to meet changing sku requirements ever present, a meticulously organised, flawlessly safe warehouse is essential to success.
Combined with the demands the retail sector places on its warehouse operatives to perform efficiently and accurately for extended periods, the opportunity for calamity needs to be eradicated by effective planning and training.
To help maximise productivity and profitability, we’ve put together our top tips for achieving pallet racking and warehouse perfection in the retail industry:
PICKING THE BEST TEAM
You already have the experience
Firstly… just listen. Your warehouse and distribution managers understand the day-to-day operations of your warehouses. Having your warehouse operations team highlight areas of health and safety concern, suggest improvements and re-evaluate the layout begins the process to address current issues and speed up your time to dispatch.
Research your storage solutions partnership
A pro-active Pallet Racking System provider will help you design or alter effective pallet racket and storage systems for peak performance and operation. Share your objectives and knowledge with them. Their experience is vital and they will support you through re-organisation, installation and beyond.
Finding the right solutions
The configuration options for retail logistics are many and varied. Most will revolve around key, flexible core products. For example the P90 Pallet Racking system is configurable for Wide Aisle, Narrow Aisle, Mobile, Drive-in, Pallet Shuttle, Pallet Flow and more and the Hi280 Steel Shelving System is versatile for Standard, Mobile and Multi-Tier Applications along with more niche solutions such as Tyre storage. These key products are the further enhanced with mezzanine floors, partitioning and semi-automated vertical storage solutions.
KEEP IT SIMPLE, KEEP IT SAFE
Investment in an effectively planned and professionally installed pallet racking system will return improved levels of productivity and performance, as well as saving you from the expense and distress of damaged products or injury to personnel. Don’t go for the cheapest option, it is the wrong approach. Plan and purchase your racking system for effectiveness and safety, and budget accordingly.
It is common sense to ensure you invest in a pallet racking system that is suitable and strong enough for the weight of the products you are going to load. They should also be from a supplier with approval and accreditations that verify the durability, reliability and safety standards of their systems.
Beware the cheaper option
In order to keep costs down it can be tempting to purchase second-hand racking, be mindful however that these systems often do not come with a warranty and more importantly can vary as to whether they adhere to current standards – compromising both safety and dependability. It is key to understand that when buying second hand it isn’t possible to see corrosion on the inside of tube racking. Your entire rack could be undermined by older, seemingly fit for purpose racking.
Follow the guidelines and support your team
You must ensure that best practices set out by your supplier are adhered to for legal and safety reasons and keep up to date with recommended SEMA approved and internal pallet racking inspections.
Perhaps most important is training your staff in the proper use of your pallet racking system and loading equipment. This can be made easier in the planning stages, by choosing the racking system that best suits your products and the way in which staff will be interacting with the loads.
By implementing a warehouse racking solution that is simple for your employees to use, there will be less chance of an accidental uneven load or misplaced product that could cause injury or destabilise your racking. Empower your employees to check and report any damage or concerns they may have.
MAINTAIN AND IMPROVE
Inspect and acknowledge that damage happens
Once your systems are in place, make sure to maintain the condition of the racking for safety and monitor the efficiency of the system and the way in which it is being used. It is best practice to set out an inspection plan and reporting/action process. Your Racking Inspection partner should be able to help you to set one of these up along with their scheduled annual SEMA Approved inspections.
Change will come
Just as the retail industry is susceptible to the changes in the market and development of product ranges, so too must your warehouse set-up and racking system. Make sure not to view your pallet racking system and warehouse set-up as a set-in-stone solution, never to be moved or improved – it must develop and improve with your customers business needs.
By regularly re-evaluation, you can ensure that your racking is still achieving the goals you set out, as well as allowing you to iron out any issues that you may have found when in full workflow.
Be sure to touch base with your racking supplier for any advice on issues you may have, and take every step to ensure that you are making the most of the money spent as well as to keep improving for the future.
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