Setting up a new warehouse may seem challenging or overwhelming; however, there are many details you can plan in advance that will set you up for success. By paying special attention to details such as layout, racking, labeling, and technology, you can ensure resiliency in your new NetSuite warehouse for years to come.
Q: What is the first consideration to make when setting up a new warehouse?
Start by envisioning what your warehouse will look like now and in the future. The first step is doing an analysis of your existing facility and getting a good baseline for what your business volume looks like today. Consider your long-term timeline and how the design choices you are making now can support your operation as you reach milestones in your business. Regardless of existing operations and equipment, having a vision of what your new warehouse can be is the first step in maximizing your long term investment.
Once you have a vision for what you want your warehouse to look like, you will want to consider a scalable NetSuite WMS that can grow with your business. As a part of your NetSuite Warehouse Management implementation, you will need mobile scanners and other hardware. If mobility will be a part of your implementation project, try to make that decision as early as possible so that you can budget accordingly.
Q: When should I start planning the layout of my new facility?
Start by envisioning the flow of your inbound and outbound operations early in the planning process - how do you want inventory to go in and out of your facility? When laying out the warehouse floorplan, your space should be optimized to support the business operations through every season. If you have a time period where you may experience a high order volume, such as an annual sale or holiday, then consider how much room might be needed for additional staff or outbound activities. Making this decision in the beginning will ensure that possible bottlenecks are eliminated as your operations scale.
Q: When should racking, bins and labeling be considered?
Once the optimal warehouse purpose and the design flow layout has been decided, it's time to decorate with racking, bins, and labeling. Here's a few things to keep in mind:
RACKING: Improper rack placement can increase the distance a picker has to travel to get from one location to another, decreasing labor productivity. Also make sure your layout is safe for staff driving forklifts or other automated heavy machinery.
BINS: While bins may not be necessary in all situations, in many circumstances they are absolutely vital for an easy product picking in your warehouse. Another way to increase efficiency would be the best practice of Bin Sequencing, which can help you determine the quickest pick path for your workers.
LABELS: Ensuring the naming convention used with labeling areas is consistent and intuitive will ensure easy navigation and consistency throughout the warehouse. Finally, as you add labels to your warehouse, a Print Media Specialist can help you determine which labels will adhere and last in your environment.
Q: Where can I get help?
Seek out a trusted warehouse management partner that has experience and solved many common points of friction within a warehouse. Your partner will be able to help you think through all the scenarios that might occur as your business grows. They can also help recommend innovative ideas or ways to maximize productivity, such as automation. Additionally, consider checking out the stories of other NetSuite users, such as Rhino-Rack, who moved into their own purpose-built facility in 2020.
Still have questions? We can support your business by leveraging our 35+ years of industry experience to help you achieve full visibility and accuracy in your supply chain.
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