6 Advantages of Warehouse Location Labeling
The warehouse is the nucleus of the business, which is why warehouse location labeling is key to optimal warehouse performance. It’s where all the action takes place; shipping, receiving, picking, and pulling. There are always shipments coming in and going out, with the buzz of warehouse personnel swiftly moving material from one end to the other. It is the responsibility of these workers to properly receive and putaway materials from suppliers, just as much as it is for workers to pull and ship the right materials to the customer. Without proper business processes in place, inventory can get lost, incorrect items could be pulled, and ultimately the customer is affected if the right product is not shipped.
Using shelves, racks and bins in a warehouse allows you to hold, store, and safely secure inventory materials until they are pulled for order fulfillment and, ultimately, shipment to the customer. With all of this activity going on, it is any wonder why location labeling is so critical to the success of warehouse operations. When we conduct warehouse assessments, 95% of companies say inventory is often “lost”; they know it’s on the property, they just don’t know exactly where to find it.
Everything in its Place
It’s easy to organize a warehouse when you have a proper space for everything. The saying, “A place to put things, and everything in its place,” is exactly the function that location labels provide. With a bar code labeling system in place you can learn how to virtually eliminate lost inventory and picking or putaway errors when items are easily identified using proper labeling procedures. This also increases the chance of streamlining the fulfillment process, as well as increasing the possibility that customers will receive the correct item the first time, every time.
In today’s marketplace, fulfillment is of the utmost importance. If inventory is difficult to locate, or if the system shows inventory available but the person picking the order sees zero items available on the rack, then a delay in shipping ensues. This leaves the organization in a situation where they may lose business and ultimately their competitive position.
Warehouse Labeling System
When it comes to designing a plan to better organize your warehouse, there are any number of ways to not only store inventory materials, but to identify them as well. And depending on your environment (outdoor storage, cold storage, etc.) there’s a wide variety of labels to choose from.
|Floor Labels||Great for large warehouses that have several rooms where inventory is stored. They are designed to withstand foot and vehicle traffic, and harsh chemicals.|
|Rack/Shelf Labels||Most common, these labels make identifying items that are stored on shelves much easier to find quickly.|
|Overhead Location Labeling||Used in large, open areas. The floor may even have dividing lines to demarcate specific locations for materials. Typically signage hanging from a rafter.|
|Bin Labels||For smaller items, perhaps packaged in bags vs. boxes. Also used in Kanban processes where tubs are used as part of the manufacturing process.|
|Carton / Pallet Labels||Items that are shipped in large quantities on a regular basis.|
Labels can be designed in a number of ways:
• Marked with arrows
• Retro-reflective for scanning at a distance
These labels, when they include a bar code, can easily store critical data about the product (expiration dates, warnings or safety information, etc.). Formatting is also important, particularly for pallet and carton labels.
Advantages of Warehouse Labeling
• Increases overall efficiency in the warehouse
• Eliminates errors
• Speeds up worker productivity
• Improves management of inventory, regardless of the size of the warehouse space
• Efficient inventory and warehouse management
• Keeps an organization in compliance with regulations and customer requirements
Helpful Hints for Effective Labeling
Developing a strategy to label your warehouse is great, and it will be even more effective if it’s done properly. Here are some helpful tips to make it worth the effort:
- Choose labels that will adequately adhere to the surface(s)
- Make sure they are durable enough to withstand the use and abuse of your environment
- The printing on the label, and the quality of print on the bar code itself, are critical to your success. Poorly printed bar codes that don’t scan easily, or print that’s too small to read will cause errors and delays in productivity
- Be mindful of the distance between the user and the label itself. If it’s too high up to properly scan the bar code, then you probably need a larger label or a bar code scanning device that can perform long-range scanning
By organizing your warehouse in such a way that all areas are well-marked, properly labeled and in line with what your ERP system says, you will likely reduce errors by a significant amount and increase the chances of making your employees happy, and your customers loyal. To get your warehouse in ship-shape, contact us today to schedule a warehouse assessment.