With the exploding popularity of e-commerce and the proliferation of on-demand delivery services in recent years, “adaptability” has become a buzzword in the warehouse and storage industry. So, what exactly does it mean to be adaptable?
Adaptable warehouses are dynamic and ever-evolving. They can handle customer demands and the arrival of a large number of new items. For instance, when a new product sells much better than expected, an adaptable warehouse will be able to change their business needs, rather than merely react to individual orders.
Changing the Delivery Landscape
Adaptable warehouses stay flexible to where they’re able to rise to a shift in customer demand, whether it’s sudden and drastic or happens gradually over time. They’re ready to handle either scenario. Warehouse staff should be on the same page so that when a sharp increase in product demand occurs, for example, the workflow will keep running smoothly and no employee will be overwhelmed. As with virtually any workplace, effective communication among supervisors and employees in a warehouse is vital.
Also critical to the success of an adaptable workhouse is storage and how its set up. Every warehouse has pallet racks and shelves, but true adaptability depends on a warehouse’s ability to store – and retrieve – whatever item is needed and whenever it’s needed. In the era of instant gratification from Amazon Prime and lightning-quick shipping, customers have grown accustomed to expecting their products to be delivered to their doorstep a mere few days after ordering. An adaptable warehouse will help improve the speed and inefficiency in which these products are moved in and out for delivery and, in turn, keep customers satisfied.
Maximize Your Space
Before you think about expanding the size of your warehouse, which is often expensive and time-consuming, look at developing a floor plan that maximizes every square inch of space you already have. Having a well-organized warehouse that makes excellent use of its floor space can dramatically reduce the time required between initiation and implementation. Consider installing modular cabinets and customizable shelving types such as steel shelving and wire shelving. These cabinets and shelves can be readjusted as much and as often as needed to fit your inventory needs, ensuring the hot-selling items are always close at hand.
Don’t forget to take advantage of vertical space, too. By storing vertically rather than horizontally, you are making better use of your space while freeing up floor space for other purposes. Vertical cube utilization includes the space above existing stored items, total building height, cross aisles, and more. Cube utilization includes methods such as stacking, racking, and an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS).
Captive lifting and handling devices and pallet racking systems use adjustable, removable pallets and help allow for storing of bulky, heavy items vertically. These devices can reduce the reliance on forklifts, leading to a safer workspace on the floor, as well as reduced aisle space requirements than those necessary for a traditional forklift.
Keep Things Running Smoothly
Being able to retrieve products for expedited orders is essential for adaptability and may require some relocation of products to eliminate delays and maintain key performance indicators (KPIs). Make sure you have enough warehouse staff to keep your operations running smoothly, even in the face of surging product demand. Also, avoid overpromising when it comes to delivery dates and speeds.
Business needs will inevitably change over time – sometimes suddenly when you least expect it. What may have worked for your warehouse five years ago, may not work today. It’s important to audit how your warehouse is run each year, updating the stock and what may have gone missing. Evaluate what changes need to be made to make your warehouse more adaptable and ultimately run more efficiently.
Contact Us Today
Parts Brite can help you create and maintain an adaptable warehouse with our vast selection of high-quality aftermarket loading dock parts. Call us today at 1-855-PARTSBRITE (1-855-727-8727) to place an order or ask a question about our inventory. We ship from warehouses in California and Wisconsin, providing top-quality aftermarket loading dock parts to businesses throughout the United States.