Most warehouse managers have to tackle warehouse overflow at least once in their careers.
For most, this is a cause of headache as finding extra storage space for items is anything but easy. But, for those managers that know what warehouse overflow will be like and prepare for it in a timely fashion, there isn’t much cause for concern. With this in mind, we will take a closer look at what can cause a sudden disturbance in your storage and how to manage your warehouse overflow properly.
Different ways to manage your warehouse overflow
A common myth is that a competent warehouse manager will never let their warehouse overflow. This, of course, has little basis in reality. The requirements of a warehouse are based on numerous factors, many of which are entirely outside the manager’s control.
What competent managers know to do is how to keep track of these factors and prepare their storage for a potential overflow. Even seemingly minor preparations can be of great help. So, ensure that you fully understand what warehouse overflow can entail if you wish to tackle it with relative ease.
Inventory control is a fairly broad term encompassing many warehouse management aspects. Everything from packing materials to storage availability, inventory reorders, and warehouse
bottlenecks is a part of inventory control. And if you are to manage your warehouse overflow, you need to be in complete control of them.
In most cases, warehouse overflow happens due to a sudden influx of goods that require storage. If the warehouse runs smoothly, this influx shouldn’t be much of a problem. Yes, there will be some extra work required. But if you managed to streamline the storage process, the overflow time shouldn’t be long or particularly bothersome. It is always worth analyzing your inventory control in due depth and outlining all the aspects in which you can improve it.
The better you control your inventory, the better you’ll be able to prepare for and handle warehouse overflow.
Inventory tracking is a vital part of inventory control and a common reason why warehouse managers fail at it. Namely, if you wish to have an optimized warehouse, it is paramount that you are fully aware of what you are storing and the information regarding the stored items.
While this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many warehouses still use outdated ways to deal with inventory tracking. A single sheet of paper outlining what’s stored and where is hardly sufficient for modern warehouse needs. Both you and your workers need to use modern tools to keep track of your inventory and update it as need be. Only by doing so can you properly stack your warehouse and prepare it for potential overflow.
Adding overflow locations
Ideally, your warehouse will have specific sections specially reserved for overflow. If you use the total capacity of your warehouse at all times, it can be difficult to rearrange your items quickly enough to handle the sudden overflow. But, if you limit your storage use and segment your warehouse according to storage needs, you will have a much easier time storing extra items. Use your data to outline your storage needs and devise a long-term plan to maximize storage efficiency.
Mitigate overflow before it happens
With proper inventory control and designated storage space, handling warehouse overflow shouldn’t be much of a problem. Nevertheless, you’d be wise to mitigate it before it ever
occurs. As we said, you will have difficulty meeting a warehouse manager who didn’t have to tackle warehouse overflow at some point. And all of them wished that they had mitigated the
problematic aspects of it before they ever occurred.
Setting up an inventory plan
You shouldn’t consider warehouse overflow a potential disaster you hope will never happen. Instead, it would be best to consider it part of your inventory plan. Every warehouse needs to have an inventory plan to keep track of if it wishes to function correctly. Only by doing so can you organize your workforce and focus on a more long-term goal for your warehouse. A good plan lets you set goals, track their performance, and outline potential issues.
Even with ample preparations and proper inventory tracking, you may run out of space in your warehouse. After all, how much available space you have is based on the storage needs and your storage capacity. The problem is that the storage capacity is limited, while needs are not. Therefore, if you have no extra room in your warehouse, you must have a contingency plan in mind. One option is to sub-let storage space from a large company. But, this is usually
good for single use. For more long-term, you should consider talking with local storage providers and seeing if they can help you out. If you establish a long-term relationship with them, you can look to help each other out when need be.
To manage your warehouse overflow, you need to have a good understanding of your company and the storage process. Therefore, don’t expect that it will be a one-and-done deal. Running a warehouse means learning from your mistakes. That is the only tried and true way to improve your company.
Nathan Curtis worked as a warehouse manager and logistics consultant for over 20 years. He now focuses on writing helpful articles for websites like roadwaymoving.com and helping
people tackle their storage and transport problems.
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