Warehouse Consultants

April 02, 2019

5 Big Mistakes That Warehouses End Up Making

You won’t be surprised to know that, as one of Illinois’ and Wisconsin’s largest suppliers of warehouse racking systems, we’ve been in a lot of warehouses and performed quite a lot of consultation regarding the best possible layouts for facilities. And since we spend so much time with warehouse managers, we also hear them talking about the problems they have to deal with. Sometimes we can fix these problems with the right industrial racking system, and other times they just need to vent about the problems they’re having!

Today we’re going to talk about some of the most common problems affecting warehouses, those mistakes that keep getting made again and again. Read on to find out more, then be sure to contact DAK Equipment and Engineering to find out if we can fix them for you.

 

Mistake 1: Sticking With Paper

There’s a very good reason that all of the most efficient warehouses have completely — or nearly completely — done away with paper. Yes, taking inventory on paper documents had its time, but that’s when there wasn’t an alternative. Many warehouse managers became wary of early computerized warehouse inventory systems, and they had good reason to with the unreliable computers of the time. Even though the time of unreliable warehouse inventory systems has passed, the fear remains. Every warehouse should be keeping track of the inventory electronically, even if it’s not the fanciest system with robots and drones.

Can DAK Help?: DAK has our finger on the pulse of warehouse planning. While we might not make the software to improve the efficiency of your warehouse, we do needs assessment and operational analysis that can help you make the right decisions and improve warehouse operations.

 

Mistake 2: Letting The Warehouse Get Messy

Just letting the place get messy can lead to a surprising drop in efficiency. If a forklift operator has to get off the seat in order to move some discarded shrinkwrap out of the way, or if the morning shift has to clear away the empty boxes of the night shift, it’s going to lead to production slowdown (not to mention fostering negative “us vs. them” feelings between the shifts). It’s also a good idea to keep the dust and dirt under control so that the warehouse isn’t leading to lung problems in employees.

Can DAK Help?: The mesh nature of our wire decking allows dust and dirt from above to fall to the ground below, where it’s easier to sweep away. During our design of your warehouse, we can make sure to include cleaning stations and proper space for storage/organization. We’ve also provided this article that details the biggest cleaning problems around the warehouse and how to address them.

 

 

Mistake 3: Failure To Optimize Warehouse Layout

If you brought a typical person into a warehouse and showed them the industrial shelves and racks, they probably wouldn’t be terribly impressed. To them, it’s just a bunch of interlocking steel pieces holding boxes. But in truth, the layout of a warehouse is (or at least should be) thought through intensely so that the most is being made of the space. Failure to do so can lead to inefficient traffic flow and slowed productivity.

Some of the optimization can be improved by simply putting the right inventory in the right place. Slow moving inventory can be regulated to the back corner (or sold at cost in order to make room for something that will sell). The biggest sellers should have the shortest path from truck to pallet rack to picking/packing stations, or to carton flow racks directly. Switching to a warehouse inventory software can also help you recognize patterns and traffic flow so that you can optimize the location of your inventory.

Can DAK Help?: This is a subject that’s near and dear to us, as it’s one of our primary services here at DAK. We are experts at warehouse planning and strategy, ensuring that every aspect of the warehouse — from pallet racks to industrial lockers to conveyor systems — all work together to optimize traffic patterns and make your warehouse as efficient as possible.

 

Mistake 4: Skipping Physical Inventory

There are a few reasons why a warehouse manager might want to skip inventory. It’s possible they think that it’s simply a waste of time, and that the amount of time it takes to do inventory can’t justify the few discrepancies that are found. Other times they’re simply afraid of the problems they might find and how that might reflect poorly on them.

Doing physical inventory is vitally important to warehouses. Inventory can identify a host of problems, from employee theft to software problems to improper employee logging techniques. Not having the inventory you think you have on stock can be embarrassing, especially if you’ve already sold it to a customer and have nothing to deliver.

Can DAK Help?: While we don’t perform inventory for warehouses, DAK offers an inventory survey service. Once your inventory is in order, we can take a look at your inventory and the way it is organized. This includes the turnover rate from inbound shipping to customer shipping, as well as how your inventory is distributed throughout the warehouse. Click that link to find out more about this invaluable service.

 

Mistake 5: Keeping Inventory That Doesn’t Move

If you have had professional warehouse space optimization performed and you still don’t feel you have enough space, you might think it’s time to build a new warehouse…and you might be right. If that’s the best next step for your business, then DAK will be there to provide your next pallet rack system.

But too many warehouse managers ignore an easy option: inventory reduction. Yes, we know that what-to-keep and what-to-get-rid-of is seldom up to anyone working in the warehouse, but they can be the catalyst for moving unneeded stuff along. Making a list of product that’s been wallowing in the warehouse for too long is the first step to convincing the decision makers that inventory sold at a loss will at least make room for inventory that will actually sell.

Can DAK Help?:  If you absolutely must keep the inventory but haven’t had warehouse layout optimization performed, DAK can certainly find you some more space. And if the decision is made to build a new warehouse, we’d be happy to outfit it with any needed pallet racks and conveyor systems.

 

Ready To Become More Efficient?

Avoiding mistakes is one of the easiest ways to become more efficient, and the professionals at DAK Equipment and Engineering are ready to provide the services that will make your warehouse run as smoothly as possible. Click those links above to see how we’ll be your partners in warehouse efficiency.

 

 

 

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February 02, 2019

Don’t Forget To Make Room For These Extras When Making A Warehouse Strategy Plan

When you take a look at your overcrowded warehouse and think “I’ve got to get a warehouse strategy plan in place,” you’re off to a good start. Many warehouse managers will just live with the problem and try to make do with the situation for as long as possible. At least you recognize that there is a problem and that you probably need warehouse optimization consulting.

When most people start sketching out ideas for warehouse optimization, they often start off by filling every square foot possible with pallet racks. After all, that’s what a warehouse is for, right? To hold pallet racking and everything that goes on them?

But when you start cramming in all of those racks, you might miss out on some options that could increase the efficiency of your warehouse in other ways. Most spaces have needs that go beyond simple racking systems, so when you contact a warehouse optimization consultant don’t be surprised if they suggest some of the following additions.

Prefabricated Offices

The need for prefabricated offices varies based on the type of warehouse it’s going into. Some warehouses don’t need any at all, especially if the manager spends most of his or her time on the floor in a forklift. Other warehouse managers don’t ever get out onto the floor often and spend most of their time in a prefab warehouse office doing paperwork and delegating; they might have a big office and two administrative assistants or pencil pushers to share it with.

But prefabricated offices aren’t just about offices, despite their name. These in-warehouse buildings make great breakrooms, helping employees get away from the noise of the warehouse for a while. They are also very useful as set-aside spaces for product testing, or they might have the equipment installed in order to work as clean rooms. They also make great shipping centers where delicate scales, printers, and computers are kept.

You might be thinking of building a separate structure outside of the warehouse for any of the above purposes, but putting up a prefabricated warehouse office is better on so many levels. First of all, they go up in a quarter of the time of stick buildings (usually in just a couple of days) and don’t have to have a foundation poured. Because they’re inside the warehouse itself, there’s no need to heat or cool it separately. They’ll also save you money on taxes because they’re considered tangible property instead of real property. Plus they can be moved if necessary, something you can’t do with most other buildings! You can learn more about the advantages of prefabricated offices right here.

Warehouse Mezzanine

Warehouse mezzanines can make excellent use of unused space. If you have a modular office or conveyor system and just can’t stand wasting all of that empty space above it — space that can’t necessarily be filled with pallet racks — then a warehouse mezzanine might be exactly what you need. When you add mezzanines to your warehouse, you’re able to add additional workspace or storage to parts of a warehouse that might otherwise go wasted.

When you think about adding additional floor space to a warehouse, you might think that it’s going to be a month-long construction process. In reality, you’re only looking at a construction time of a few days. The mezzanine will also be movable if you ever decide to redesign the warehouse again. They can be freestanding or building-supported, or even rack-supported! Basically, we can design them to work within your space.  Learn more about our warehouse mezzanines right here.

Industrial Lockers

While there are many types of businesses and institutions that require lockers — firehouses, police stations, health clubs — we’re here to talk about how they can improve your warehouse strategy planning.

There are many options for industrial locker placement. Some warehouses keep them in the breakroom, which may, in fact, be a prefabricated office. Others have bathroom/locker room combinations, or they simply put the lockers up against the wall in an out-of-the-way spot.

No matter where you put them, lockers are always a good idea in a warehouse and shouldn’t be forgotten. First of all, giving employees a place to put their stuff means that anything they bring into the warehouse isn’t going to clutter up any usable space in the warehouse. It’s also going to reduce the amount of theft, which simply keeps employee morale up. Plus, it gives the employees a great place to keep their cell phones if you’ve told them they can’t have them on the warehouse floor. We have many options, including rust-proof lockers, phenolic resin lockers, military lockers, and more. Check out our locker options here.

Wire Partitions

Most warehouses have something that needs to be set aside and locked up. Sometimes it’s expensive inventory, or maybe it’s tools that could easily slip into an employee’s pocket and walk out the door. In many cases, warehouse managers want to keep the warehouse scanners under lock and key. Maybe it’s chemicals that only a few select people should have access to.  If you have a corner of the warehouse that’s high-voltage, we might even be able to save lives.

No matter what you’re trying to protect, DAK Equipment & Engineering can help design and set up wire partitions that will keep things in and people out. Find out more about our wire partitions and take a look at the pictures right here.

DAK Can Be Your Warehouse Optimization Consultants

Because we handle warehouse layout design every day, we know the challenges that many managers are dealing with when it comes to overcrowded warehouses. When they come to us, we’re able to offer them options that they might have never considered before, and sometimes these ideas save them money and space.

If you’re looking for an efficient warehouse strategy plan, DAK is ready to work with you. Contact us today about our warehouse optimization planning or to have one of the benefits we mentioned above added to your warehouse.

 

 

 

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November 19, 2018

Green Warehouses: 7 Ways To Make Your Warehouse More Environmentally Friendly

In our most recent article, we discussed the four most important reasons that you should consider creating a green warehouse, whether you’re building a new one or retrofitting an old one. The most common reason that businesses choose to do this is that they are interested in saving money; energy efficiency can realize cost savings in both the short and long term. Another reason that business owners choose more energy efficient and low VOC buildings is that it creates a healthier environment for their coworkers, and that translates to fewer sick days. Having an environmentally friendly building also looks better in the public eye and can be used to promote a business. Finally, it just makes sense to leave the planet a better place for our descendants.

Those are four very good whys. But what about how? Once you decide that you’re interested in creating a more energy efficient warehouse, what’s the next step? Contacting DAK Equipment and Engineering is a great start, because we know about the latest and greatest ways of creating a green warehouse. Here are some of the most common suggestions to think about when it comes to warehouse energy efficiency.

 

Make Better Use of Conveyor Systems

You might not think that industrial conveyor systems take much energy to run, but they’re actually one of the biggest energy hogs out there. In fact, a single unit can take as much energy to run as lighting the entire warehouse.

What can be done during warehouse design to reduce the amount of energy used? First of all, don’t get a bigger conveyor system than you need. Even when they’re not on, they’re drawing lots of power, and the bigger your system the more it’s going to drain. Speaking of which, it’s also important to install convey systems that have sleep modes so that they’re not hogging power even when no one is in the warehouse. You might even want to investigate passive conveyor systems instead of powered ones. If you can get gravity to do some of the work for you, why shouldn’t you take full advantage of it?

It’s important to think about energy savings from the very beginning of your warehouse optimization. If you have a more efficiently designed warehouse, you’ll be able to use fewer conveyor systems that end up using less power. Investigate your conveyor systems and see if you can find a manufacturer who uses fewer motors that have less horsepower.

 

Reduce The Building Footprint

You have a certain amount of space that you need in your warehouse, so it might sound counterintuitive to suggest that you make your warehouse smaller. Yes, a smaller warehouse will use less energy in both lighting and heating, but if you need the space then you need the space.


That’s where efficient pallet racks and warehouse layout design come in. If you are making the absolute most of a space due to efficient pallet design, you’ll be able to build a smaller warehouse in the first place. That means less lighting, less heating, and a smaller area that forklifts have to drive around in.

 

Energy-Efficient Lights

One of the easiest ways to save money in a warehouse is to replace the lightbulbs. Lights used to be huge energy waste, and some bulbs would waste up to 90-percent of the energy as heat. By using more energy-efficient lightbulbs such as LEDs, you’ll be using a lot less energy. Yes, they might be more expensive upfront, but you’ll be saving a lot of money in the long run.

But wait, there’s more! You’re not just saving money on the energy, but you’ll also be saving money on labor. Because bulbs like LEDs last so much longer than other types of bulbs, you won’t have to pay someone to get up on a scissor lift in order to replace them nearly as often. It also means that the scissor lift won’t be getting in the way of your forklifts, which could slow things down. Plus, less time spent on scissor lift means less time in which an employee could suffer a serious accident.

Sensor-Controlled Lighting

It’s not likely that you’ll put the entire warehouse on sensor-controlled lights. After all, there are parts of it that are in use for the entire day, and only at the end of the day does it make sense to turn them off.

But there are areas of most warehouses that don’t see much traffic. It used to be that those areas would stay lighted for the entire day, but today the lights in those areas can automatically be turned off when no one is around. When the area is needed and a person needs a light, the lights come on in order to safety light their way to a particular pallet.

 

Recycling

Reducing, reusing, and recycling has been a part of warehouses forever. After all, wooden pallets are used again and again until they fall apart, and even then they are sometimes repaired. Materials recycling has been around as long as metal has been able to be melted down and used again.

Recycling isn’t just about being Earth-friendly — it can be good for a business’ bottom line as well. Set aside space where employees can place items that can be reused or recycled, and take a look at the packing material you use in a warehouse to see if it can be used again. Also, if you recycle more, then you might be able to reduce the number of times you pay someone to come and haul off the real trash in your dumpsters.

 

Lower the Temperature

This can be a tough one to balance. In an office setting, employees tend to work better when the temperature is a bit too warm rather than if it’s a bit too cool. But that doesn’t always translate to a warehouse, where people are moving around a lot more and creating their own heat.

It might be worth it to do some experiments to see how tolerant your employees are of a lower temperature. We’re not talking about lowering the temperature 10 degrees overnight, because they’ll certainly complain. But if you drop it a degree and no one says anything, you’ll have saved yourself a lot of money and used less energy at the same time. Over the course of a year, that’s big savings.

 

Site Selection

At first, the site that you choose for your green warehouse might not seem like that big of a deal. It’s not like you’re looking for a hot spring to build over to help with heating costs! But site selection can be very important if you’re interested in putting solar panels on your warehouse.

But it’s not the active savings that can make site selection so important — it’s often the passive ones. Let’s take transportation costs, for instance. If you are shipping via railroad, it’s important to choose a site so that you’re not so far away from the railroad loading station. Every extra mile that you’re away from the railroad means that your trucks are burning more fuel, costing gas and money. On the other hand, having a green warehouse or distribution center in the heart of a city can make it more attractive to employees who want to bicycle or walk to work. While the warehouse isn’t actively reducing its carbon footprint, it can create situations in which less fuel is spent.

Let DAK Help You Create a Greener Warehouse!

If you are about to build a new warehouse, you’ll want to have warehouse optimization experts like those at DAK Equipment and Engineering involved very early on. We can help you with many of the cost-saving measures we talked about above, and you’ll end up with a greener warehouse because of it. And if you’re refurbishing an existing warehouse, we’ll be there for that as well. Contact us today to get the process started.

 

 

 

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