While bins may not be necessary in all situations, in many circumstances they are absolutely vital for congruency and easy product picking in a warehouse. If you’re getting ready to introduce bins, or even if you already use bins in your warehouse, here are our top-4 tips for a successful advanced bins implementation. And of course, we are assuming these bins are barcoded for use with an inventory management system.
1. Make sure the bins are in the right sequence when they are being labeled.
Ask yourself these questions: “How will the picker walk through the warehouse? Where will they start? Where will they end up?” By envisioning your picker’s warehouse path, you will be able to create a plan for labeling.
A simple method for mapping out your warehouse is using an Excel spreadsheet. But be careful - the easiest mistake to make in this process is not using the correct alphanumeric sort. For example, if you have 20 aisles, Aisle 1 should be entered into Excel as “01” instead of just “1.” Take care to ensure that the bins sort in the most logical way. Thorough computational input guarantees the correct sorting conditions.
2. Serpentine bins through the warehouse to optimize productivity.
It will be easiest for your picker to simply turn the corner and find the next bin in the sequence if the bins are arranged in a serpentine pattern. To accomplish this, move both down the aisle and back and forth across as you label so you don’t end up going all the way down and then all the way back up. While it might seem trivial, this kind of zigzag pattern produces much quicker and more efficient picking. Also, when you reach the end of the aisle and turn the corner to go back up the next aisle, make sure the lower numbers are at that end.
3. Use magnets for hassle-free organization.
Warehouses are constantly shifting to meet the needs of supply and demand. Therefore, what worked initially may change sooner rather than later. To keep up with this perpetual evolution, stick your labels to sheet magnets instead of directly onto the bins or racks. That way you aren’t wasting time in the future peeling off labels and printing new ones if you reorganize your warehouse.
4. Make sure the labels can be scanned.
Before you ask how this is even a tip, we’ve heard many stories of companies prematurely labeling a warehouse only to find that the barcode printed could not be scanned. Always wait until your hardware has arrived, and then check its compatibility with the barcode labels.
Each warehouse faces its own challenges, but marking bins with barcode labels doesn’t have to be one of them. By following these top-4 steps, implementing bins in your warehouse can be easy!
For more information, check out our“Bins or No Bins? Webinar.”
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