Have you decided to start a warehouse business? Good for you! This can be quite a lucrative endeavor if you know how to approach it the right way.
Have you given more thought to what you will be keeping in your warehouse? The great thing here is that you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to one kind of product. Warehouses are used to store anything you can think of, from vehicles and electronics through furniture and clothing all the way to food. So, basically, you can have separate parts for all sorts of items or focus your business on one of these fields.
Warehouses are also diverse when it comes to size, depending on what you choose to work with. Your garage can be your warehouse if you decide to keep the company small; if you plan to go big, you can build or rent a space that takes up several thousands of square feet.
However, in order for your business to thrive, you have to look at some of the best practices when it comes to warehouses. It’s vital to come up with a good system that will allow you to stay on top of everything. And, of course, you cannot neglect the importance of having the right equipment for the job. To help you out, we’ve singled out seven of the essential items every warehouse should have. Take a look.
First and foremost, seeing as how warehouses are used for storing items, you will need to work out your storage solutions. If you plan to have different kinds of products on your premises, you will need different kinds of storage systems. Make sure to cover all the bases by getting various storage system types.
You most definitely need some static shelving – it will stay in one place and is meant to hold lightweight inventory. Check the weight limitations to know how much you can put on them, it’s usually around a few hundred pounds. Typically, static shelving is used for inventory that is manually placed, organized and picked, seeing as how they are not compatible with forklifts. On the other hand, mobile shelving serves a similar purpose but is not fixed and makes inventory more accessible.
We cannot forget about pallet racking, of course – the essential part of the operation. These systems are made of plastic, metal or wood and are used for holding inventory that comes in boxes. When organizing your warehouse, keep in mind that access and stability are crucial as you will have to access these systems with a forklift. There are many types of pallet racking systems, so familiarize yourself with them before you decide which one you will use. Furthermore, mezzanine flooring and multi-tier racking are also options available to you.
In order to make the most of your storage systems, you should also look for the best lifting equipment. This will allow you to use your space to the fullest and keep transportation around the warehouse efficient. Moreover, having proper equipment will lead to fewer accidents in the workplace.
Essentials in this field include ladders, forklifts, pallet jacks and hand trucks among other lifting equipment. Forklifts are great for when you need to get materials and personnel near the ceiling. There are various types, from 3 and 4 wheel forklifts to side loaders and narrow aisle forklifts, so you are bound to find those that work well in your warehouse. Furthermore, when working with pallets, having pallet jacks or trucks is essential.
In case you think buying completely new machinery would be too expensive, you’ll be glad to know that there are also forklift trucks for hire as well as all other kinds of equipment. In addition to simplifying your budgeting process, you will not have to be concerned with the maintenance of your fleet. When you buy equipment, it often happens that it becomes outdated quite soon. This is another plus of renting, as then you get to hire new equipment as soon as your term ends.
Another activity that is done in warehouses is packaging of the products. Your company has to provide its employees with adequate packaging tools so that they can do their job properly without any damage to the products.
For example, you should invest in packing tables, stretch wrap machines and various strapping and banding equipment, such as poly and plastic sealers, steel banding clips, etc. Stretch wrap machines will allow for faster packaging of goods for shipping while case sealers will quickly tape boxes.
Measuring and weighing the products in your warehouse is something that cannot be overlooked. Industrial scales can be of great help when you need to know the weight and length of products that you will be storing as then you can be sure that the storage systems can take their weight. Furthermore, these scales are also used when checking the requirements of an order you’ve received. They are also vital when counting inventory, receiving a delivery or sending out a shipment. You can opt for floor scales, forklift attachment scales, pallet jack scales and so on.
Docking equipment is another crucial part of your operations as it facilitates the process of relocating materials from the dock doors and toward them. This increases the efficiency of the warehouse while also reducing risks on the job.
Dock plates, boards and levelers are all types of docking equipment which you can choose to implement in your everyday processes. Dock boards are used to bridge the gaps between your loading dock and the trailers, while plates are great for manually loading and unloading products. Make the most of items such as yard ramps and edge-of-dock levelers as well.
To allow for faster transportation of products around the warehouse, you should seriously consider adding conveyors to your operations. Conveyors are a series of belts and roller bearings that help quickly move items to their final destination. Moreover, they increase the efficiency and quality control as well.
There are several types of conveyors. For example, you can opt for flexible conveyors which expand and compact depending on your company’s needs. They can be easily transported and stored due to their compact features. Flex conveyors can be powered by gravity or a motor.
Other options include power conveyors and, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, gravity conveyors. The latter are easier to install and are usually used as temporary solutions. You can get a gravity roller conveyor or a gravity skatewheel conveyor, for instance. Lifts and carousels are also something to consider.
Bins and containers
Last but not least, your warehouse definitely needs various bins and containers. They can be used for organizing all sorts of products you deal with on a daily basis. Depending on what you need to store, you can opt for stackable metal or plastic bins or for bulk storage containers which can be collapsed for easier storage and shipping. Furthermore, wire mesh lightweight baskets are also great for transporting and storing bulk materials as they are quite durable, allow free circulation of air and do not allow dust and debris to accumulate. Options are plenty so find something that suits your requirements.
These seven are the essentials that are necessary to get you off the ground, especially if you’re starting a big company. Over time, you will realize which other items you need in order for everything to run smoothly. Stay automated to keep track of everything and use this equipment to its full potential to allow your business to thrive.