Congratulations, your digital marketing business is growing! That means you’re selling so much that you can now scale up. And that means buying in bulk and opening up your own warehouse. In the digital marketing world, this is a big step. It means you can now become one of the biggest players in the online business world.
However, before you start to move your inventory into the warehouse, there are a couple of things you need to know. A poorly prepped warehouse can create more headaches than you imagine. Below are some steps you can take to properly prepare your warehouse before the inventory comes in and the orders go out.
The first thing you need to do is get everything organized. This is where you begin to map out where everything goes in your warehouse and figure out the most efficient way to stock and manage your inventory. Here are some tips to get you get started in the organization process.
- Measure your space: That includes the length and width of the warehouse as well as the height. Also be sure to measure all the docking bays and all doors to make sure your deliveries, shipment and warehouse equipment will fit.
- Define locations: Figure where your storage, sorting, shipping, office, and product locations will be placed inside the space.
- Label your locations: Easily create a way for employees to figure out where products are located.
Cleaning Requirements for A Warehouse
Before you can move any inventory or equipment into your warehouse, you need to make sure the space is properly cleaned. Various warehouse cleaning services are available who are expert in handling warehouse spaces. Also, if you have certain types of inventory—such as medical equipment, food or perishables—you may have to hire companies who can specifically handle that type of project. When cleaning a warehouse, make sure that the docking area is also cleaned. An unclean docking area will make it difficult for your company to move in the equipment and inventory needed to prep the warehouse space.
Every workspace is bound by OSHA safety requirements. Currently, this government regulatory body has a number of requirements that warehouse owners and operators must adhere to. Safety is particularly important considering the fact that nearly three million people experienced nonfatal work-related injuries in 2012. Here are some of the areas you should look at while prepping your warehouse.
- The warehouse space must be well ventilated.
- Proper guards must be installed for areas such as an exposed or open loading dock doors that could cause someone to fall 4 feet or more.
- All floors, aisles, and surfaces must not have spills, electrical cords, clutter, hoses, and other materials or factors that could cause trips, falls or slips.
- Warehouses must have portable fire extinguishers.
- Warehouses must have proper wiring.
OSHA has the power to cite and potentially close down a warehouse that is cited for excessive safety violations. The most cited violations in a warehouse include improper used a forklift, no hazard communication, improper electrical wiring, and poor wiring design. Moving parts, such as conveyor belts, should be inspected regularly for signs of wear or damage.
Optimize the Process
As you prep your warehouse, it is important that you have a plan in place to optimize your warehouse operation before you begin operations. Here are some tips to consider when prepping your warehouse for optimization.
- Place popular items in easily accessible areas: In most cases, 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of their inventory. Make sure that 20% is easy for your employees to reach. That will also you to quickly get shipments out the door.
- Avoid overstock: If you have too much inventory, it will slow down your warehouse operations. Or worse, you may have to end up finding extra space to handle the overstock inventory.
- Clear lanes: Create clear lanes that allow employees to get to from one place to another as quickly as possible.
A properly prepped warehouse will allow you to begin operations quickly and smoothly. First, measure and map out your warehouse. Then, make sure your warehouse is properly cleaned. Once the warehouse is cleaned, then you can begin to move in your warehouse equipment and then your inventory. Remember to stock your most popular items in easy to reach areas and create clear lanes for employees and inventory to move around the space. Finally, remember to abide by all OSHA safety regulations to avoid being cited or having to deal with a workplace injury. Moving up your operations to a warehouse can be an exciting time. While opening a warehouse may seem overwhelming at first, a good plan will make your life so much easier.