Archive for December, 2016

December 31, 2016

How the Right Warehouse Equipment Solves the Biggest Warehouse Issues

Think you could name the 3 biggest issues a warehouse encounters? If you’ve worked in a warehouse for any length of time, you probably can. We’ve been in the warehouse equipment & consulting business for over 30 years, so we’ve heard it all. Here are some of the most common problems warehouses come to us with and how the right warehouse equipment can help them.

Common Issues in Warehouses

Inaccurate inventory.

It’s the end of the year and inventory is at the front of most warehouse managers’ minds. It’s time for the dreaded annual count when you discover just how off your inventory counts are and are forced to confront the issue and figure out how to make it better. If this sounds like a situation you’ve encountered (and will again soon), it’s time to look at your warehouse equipment and processes and determine how you can make inventory an easier process.

How to fix it: Don’t rely on annual counts alone. If you are having loss issues, so smaller counts more often throughout the year. Task employees with counting shelves on a monthly or weekly basis. It can encourage your team to be more diligent with items as well as aid in the recovery of lost items on the wrong shelves. Using the right bins and carton flow racks can keep things organized, too, so you aren’t struggling to make small items seen on large shelves.

Not enough space.

Honestly, this is probably the most common issue facing warehouses. It’s no wonder. Businesses are constantly evolving and many are bringing on more and more SKUs in an effort to keep up with customer demand. Along with seasonal demand, this can turn your spacious warehouse into a cramped, cluttered, and confusing space. Most warehouses are constantly looking for more storage space, when the answer was likely hidden in their warehouse equipment all along.

How to fix it: Talk to the warehouse consultants at DAK Equipment & Engineering. We have a variety of potential solutions for you. We can send you a warehouse layout that uses your existing warehouse equipment in an optimized design, increasing your storage capacity and creating better flow. We can also offer suggestions on warehouse equipment that can help you create more space, like different shelving options, mezzanine decks, and more.

Slow picking process.

The faster you pick your order, the sooner they get out the door, and the happier your customers are about their order. Slow picking is a bane on a warehouse and can severely damage their bottom line. It often happens because not enough of the process has been automated or items are spread across too great of a distance in the warehouse.

How to fix it: Automate more of your warehouse equipment. For instance, move boxes from one location to another using a conveyor system. You can also slot your warehouse, moving items that are commonly purchase together closer on the warehouse floor in order to eliminate unnecessary steps.

Have questions about how to overcome your common warehouse problems? Talk to our team today!

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December 28, 2016

What You Need to Know About Shared Warehousing

The sharing economy has exploded in the last decade, and chances are you’ve been a part of it even if you didn’t realize it. The sharing economy is a market that has grown out of the Great Recession where people are pooling and sharing their resources with others. Examples of the sharing economy include:

  • AirBnB. You can list a spare bedroom on this website and rent it out to vacationers and visitors to your area. You have the extra space, and they are willing to pay you for it to avoid staying in an expensive, impersonal hotel room.
  • Uber. Have a car and nowhere to go? Become an Uber driver and you’ll be paid to give people lifts to the destination of their choice. You have the vehicle and they need a ride, so you share your resources with them.

This sharing economy model is coming to the warehouse industry as well. Our warehouse consultants are seeing more and more “shared warehousing” solutions. So what is it, how does it work, and is it a good idea for your business?

What Is Shared Warehousing?

Shared warehousing is the process of businesses working together to solve their warehousing issues. Some businesses have too much warehousing space, meaning they are spending too much money on storage that they don’t need which is hurting their bottom line. Other businesses don’t have enough warehouse space and are struggling to make room for their inventory. When these two businesses pool their resources, suddenly everyone has the space they need without losing a bunch of money to waste.

How Does Shared Warehousing Work?

Right now, it’s primarily up to a warehouse to advertise their available space and network with other businesses nearby to let them know it is available. It’s likely that in a short amount of time there will be websites and even apps that connect businesses with too much room with businesses with too little of it so it’s easier to find each other.

Is This a Good Idea for Your Business?

It depends on a lot of factors. If your business just requires some extra space on a seasonal basis, it might make sense to “borrow” the space from a nearby warehouse instead of paying for the room year-round. You’ll want to consider the additional costs that come with sharing a warehouse, though, including transportation to and from your shipping area, which might make the costs of sharing a warehouse more expensive than expanding your own warehouse to meet your needs.

It’s Not the Only Solution Out There

While shared warehousing could be an option for your business, it’s certainly not the only one that you have. Our warehouse consultants can help you find more room in your existing warehouse by optimizing your layout and your warehouse equipment. If you are running short on room and looking for a way to expand your storage without moving your warehouse, it’s time to talk to our team. Give us a call or contact us through our website today for more information.

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December 23, 2016

Will Warehouse Equipment Replace Your Labor Force?

One of the big buzz words when it comes to warehouses right now is automation. We’ve talked about it a lot on our blog, too. One of the things that have a lot of warehouse workers worried, though, is that as warehouse equipment is automated it’s going to replace more of the human labor force. In a lot of ways, that’s a valid concern. Automation is cheaper, more efficient, and safer for warehouses, so it’s an extremely appealing addition. After the initial investment, most automation systems are relatively inexpensive to maintain, unlike a human labor force that has to be paid every two weeks.

Does this mean the end of labor costs in the warehouse?

It’s unlikely. While we’re certainly going to see a reduction in the number of people required to make a warehouse run efficiently, we won’t see the disappearance of warehouse workers altogether. What they are doing, though, is almost certainly going to change. You’ll see less…

  • Walking packages to their destination.
  • Picking orders by hand.
  • Picking orders one at a time.

All of these tasks (and many others) can be replaced by warehouse equipment such as conveyor belts, drones, and RFID tags that allow a robot picker to identify the necessary items to fulfill an order. The capabilities of automation are only going to expand, too, and you’ll see more and more of it in warehouses in the coming years. That means it’s probably coming to your warehouse, too.

So Where Will Human Labor Fit In?

At this point, there is still plenty left for humans to do in the warehouse environment. More complicated tasks such as inventory control can be aided by computers and automation, but on the whole, there still needs to be a human’s touch. Someone will also need to be around to maintain the automated systems. If something breaks down, not only will a human have to fix it, they’ll have to pitch in to get the work done until the automated system is back up and running.

The biggest change will come in what people are doing within the warehouse and the kind of training they’ll need to do it. There will be fewer menial tasks for the labor force to complete, and that means the more skilled tasks will need to be fulfilled. Companies can encourage existing employees to expand their skill set and train in some of these more in-demand and highly skilled areas.

Are You Automating Your Warehouse Equipment?

If you haven’t thought about automating more of your warehouse equipment yet, now is the time to start. Talk to one of the warehouse consultants at DAK Equipment & Engineering and they can help you identify the best areas to start automating and discuss the impact your investments will have on your labor force, good and bad. Get in touch with us today by calling us or sending us a message through our website. Our team is excited to help you update your warehouse equipment so you can lower costs and see a better bottom line!

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