Product Flow Management and Flow Shape
A successful warehouse is all about efficiency of proper product flow. Products are moving in and moving out all the times and managing inventory is crucial to proper product delivery. Implementing an efficient product flow will help resolve many issues that might be overlooked at the start of warehouse design.
Most warehouses are designed based on either a U-shaped or L-shaped product flow. This is actual physical layout shape. U-shaped product flow is the most common. Since a warehouse is mainly about shipping and receiving, a U-shape warehouse seems optimal. Optimal in terms of allowing shared usage of resources like personnel and material handling, and also cross docking. L-shape product flow on the other hand does not use the same side of the warehouse. It uses different sides of the warehouse. This might allow for increased storage and even security.
It is easy to lose track of inventory as products move in and out of the warehouse. Inventory discrepancies arise from many issues that should be avoided. Counting inventory more frequently and establishing policies that make sure all the product that should have been arrived, have been counted. It is also important to keep a clean space in front of the ducking area to minimize ducking time and smooth storage on pallet racks and ensure efficient pallet racking.
Optimum warehouse efficiency has mainly to do with effective controlling of inventory flow. Misplaced products in wrong racks, delayed shipments, and angry customers will all result in poor company performance. Effective data collection points allow improved efficiency. Companies have used dedicated transportation management systems (TMS) and also warehouse management system to eliminate these problems. Automated data collection, barcode or radio frequency identifiers are also used to reduce human errors.