Many businesses across the UK require the storage of stock for industries such as retail, construction, or general supplies. It is advantageous for any organisation that has a warehouse to ensure that it is well-organised and laid out in a logical way that supports efficient workflows. Some businesses may use order fulfilment centres rather than warehouses, which also require strong organisation and processes in place. It is important to consider aspects such as the prioritisation of inventory, automation of processes and maintenance of warehouse equipment. It is well worth investing in durable, well-constructed warehouse and operational machinery and shelving to organise and run your storage facility. Investing in high-quality equipment will pay off in the long run. Listed below is the top warehouse machinery to source for your warehouse, all of which will help to enhance workflows and improve productivity for your company.
Equipment for handling material
When planning to purchase new warehouse machinery and equipment, it is beneficial to research new ways of working and new technologies that are available for warehouse management. Warehouse automation is a rapidly progressing field. As businesses move towards an online, e-commerce model, stock levels need to be balanced carefully. Some companies have expanded over the past few years due to COVID and an increased demand for online retail. Automated workflows will help businesses to meet increased demand and can be instrumental in ensuring companies stay up to date with the evolving landscape. That said, some staple warehouse items will never go out of fashion and are essential for creating a well-organised space, before robots and AI are brought into the picture:
- Heavy-duty storage shelving – ideally this should be galvanised for added strength and durability
- Wire racks are lightweight, easy to move, and can hold a heavy load – they are ideal for storing heavier stock items
- For the upload of products in bulk onto delivery trucks or into storage, electric pallet stackers are safe, efficient and easy to use.
- Transport rollers and conveyor tables are ideal for positioning goods in a comfortable place for checking and packaging
- Hoists, stacker trucks and scissor lift tables make lifting and move goods safer and easier for workers
- Adjustable shelving units are ideal for altering or extending the space available for storage as required
- Signs, directions and precise labels for warehouse areas will ensure employees can locate products easily
- Consider the overall layout of the warehouse and prioritise based on demand
Inventory Management is a key component when it comes to creating an efficient warehouse. Factors that affect the management of inventory include technology, available machinery for moving goods, floor layout, and storage. Reviewing your inventory management annually is recommended and adapting to meet the changing needs of the business is important. Likewise, staying up-to-date with new warehouse management or inventory management products will pay off and ensure that your work processes are as modern and effective as possible.
Automation in warehouse management
Warehouse automation is rapidly becoming the way of the future. Some organisations are even investing in machines called ‘cobots’ – aka collaborative robots for warehouses. Cobots are essentially smart automation systems that perform mundane, repetitive tasks that are tedious for humans to undertake. They are particularly popular in the manufacturing industry and can also be useful for performing jobs that may be potentially dangerous for humans. Automated processes in a warehouse or order fulfilment centre may include picking, inspection, sorting or packing. Automating such processes can make day-to-day work smoother, safer, faster, and even more accurate. Some businesses are also going as far as to use drones and other AI machines in their warehouse management plans.
The optimal set up for your warehouse or order fulfilment centre depends heavily on the business in question. The speed of sales and the size of the goods in storage will impact workflows and the best equipment for your business. Opt for high-quality storage solutions that will work for your company in the long-term and that can adapt and evolve as the needs of the business grow and change. This is the key to a successful, long-term business plan for any brand that requires logistical planning and organisation around the flow or movement of goods.