Three Ways You Can Improve Space Utilization and Efficiency in Your Warehouse

This blog was originally posted by our supplier BOSTENtec on 9/27/21

The continuous growth of e-commerce has posed many challenges to online fulfillment operations. Compounded by a shortage of labor and industrial real estate, warehouses and distribution centers struggle to achieve more output with limited resources. Efficient space utilization, as well as a happy and productive workforce, have become critical success factors. A lot of companies have turned to technology and automation to address their pain points. However, many vital tasks remain to be performed by human operators. It is important to ensure a seamless integration of systems to maximize the benefits. This article looks at three solutions to optimize your workspace and speed up your order fulfillment processes.

Vertical storage solutions hand in hand with ergonomic workstations

Vertical storage solutions can deliver impressive results by fully utilizing the horizontal and vertical space in the warehouses. Instead of running up and down the aisles between racks, operators push a button to have items brought to them. Compact storage and automated retrieval improve order picking accuracy and efficiency while saving valuable floor space. But what happens next after the items are retrieved? Here lies the great opportunity to further maximize the throughput of warehouses. In the following configuration, a group of BOSTONtec standing workstations is positioned side by side at the access area of the vertical storage units. The lower shelves serve as a work surface. They are set at the ergonomic height to allow the operators to put retrieved items into the totes easily. The upper shelves hold the label printers. Pick-to-light devices are mounted on the upper shelves to guide the operators to put the correct item into the respective bin to finish up picking multiple orders simultaneously. Completed orders are taken away by the conveyor to the next work area for packaging.

It’s a cost-effective and space-saving setup that can be customized to integrate smoothly with different vertical storage solutions to expedite the picking process.

Standing workbench over conveyor

By bringing the products to the operators, conveyor systems can save time and space. They free the operators a significant amount of manual material handling. The repetitive motions such as lifting, lowering, pushing, and pulling cost not only time but also the health of the workers. In a labor shortage crisis, no one can afford to lose any more work time or workers. In the scenario below, the standing workstation is integrated seamlessly into the conveyor system. It is positioned over the conveyor and serves as an individual shipping station in an order fulfillment operation. It uses the conveyor as a work surface. A section of the rollers on the conveyor can be taken out to incorporate a drop-in scale to weigh a package as it goes through the workstation to minimize physical exertions. The workstation provides easy and ergonomic access to everything you need to complete a packaging task in a small compact footprint.

Technology, when integrated well into work processes, can make jobs easier for us humans. Creating an ergonomically optimized work environment allows us to reach our full potential.

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