Andy Williams was right when he said that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year… but he forgot to mention that it’s also the busiest! UPS alone is forecasted to ship 750 million packages this upcoming holiday season, while the U.S. Postal service is looking at numbers topping 850 million packages.
With increased shipping demands and more customers to satisfy, your warehouse storage system needs to be optimized to take on the crazy holiday season. See below how you can take on the upcoming season with ease for optimal success!
3 Reasons Effective Warehouse Storage Solutions are Crucial During the Holiday Season
Why is it so important to have optimized warehouse storage before the busiest time of the year arrives? Here are three major reasons.
Increase Efficiency Through Warehouse Optimization
According to the USPS, the weeks leading up to December 25 are the busiest of the year between “mailing, shipping, and delivering.” With this busy schedule, it’s more important than ever that your warehouse storage systems are optimized for your specific warehouse layout so you can get the job done efficiently and quickly!
When you have proper warehouse optimization, your warehouse storage systems are organized and safe—which is key for boosting efficiency because it means your employees are not wasting time looking for the right products. If warehouse equipment and products are not where they should be, not only will it make it more difficult and time-consuming for your employees to find the materials and inventory they’re looking for—disorganization can also lead to processing and shipping mistakes.
An organized warehouse storage system also means your employees can move quickly without being worried about their safety. Workers in a hazardous, messy environment are more likely to move slower because they’re worried about being injured, leading to wasted time. So, optimizing your warehouse storage systems for safety also increases efficiency by reducing the risk of employee injuries. Accidents lead to both lost time and revenue through expensive workman's comp claims, indirect costs for replacing employees, and the reduced labor capacity from the missing injured employee—not to mention lost productive time due to a potential OSHA investigation!
When your warehouse storage system is organized and your employees feel safe using it, they can work quickly to find what they need, meaning they’re able to get more inventory out of the door faster—resulting in increased profits that help your business to meet its holiday revenue goals.
Better Satisfy Your Customers
Efficient warehouse optimization for an organized warehouse means employees are more efficient and can get their jobs done faster. When employees are spending less time looking for a piece of inventory, it means they can spend more time actually moving it. This means inventory is out for delivery faster, which also means faster shipment timelines. How does this affect your customers?
The faster products are shipped from your warehouse, the quicker they arrive to your customers who are counting on getting your products before the busy holiday season and new year. Delivering products on-time is a guaranteed way to improving and maintaining customer satisfaction—after all, no one is happy when they were expecting a package on a certain day and it doesn’t arrive.
Keep Your Employees Safe and Stress-Free
The holidays are supposed to be the most festive time of the year—but for many employees, they're also the most stressful. According to a survey, 42% of workers said December was the most stressful month of the year and the least productive. Top reasons given included exhaustion and lack of motivation.
Besides the expense of purchasing their own holiday gifts, this stress may be due to their busy working schedule. Employees may be working overtime or feel rushed to keep up with the demands of the busiest time of the year. So, keeping your employees safe and stress-free through warehouse storage solutions can help reduce some of these pressures.
Taking extra precautions by making your warehouse storage optimized for safety will help employees know they’re working in a safe environment. Knowing how to manage your storage space for optimal safety is key, such as ensuring your pallet racks are properly maintained and fully functional. This will allow employees to find the materials they’re looking for on your pallet racks faster and easier through improved storage capacity and organization when your warehouse storage is stocked more than usual during the holidays.
Plus, properly maintaining your pallet racks will protect your employees. So, it’s important to make sure your racking system is up to date and meeting all safety requirements by conducting a routine rack safety check before the holidays. This way, you don’t have to deal with it in the midst of the holiday rush. Survey for any potential damage that may make the pallet racks structurally unsound, such as unsecured racks or loose inventory. This way, your employees won’t be worried about something like a pallet falling off an overloaded shelf and hitting them, which can reduce stress and prevent them from getting injured when they’re putting in more hours than usual.
How to Manage Warehouse Storage During the Busiest Time of Year
Now that you know why you need an organized, safe, and properly maintained warehouse storage system before the holidays arrive, how can you actually do it?
Replace Worn Out Warehouse Equipment
Wondering when to replace your warehouse storage racks? An ideal time is right before the holidays! Why? If your warehouse storage systems or warehouse equipment needs to be replaced, it’s much easier to do it before the busiest time of year! This way, you can install your new equipment before your warehouse is handling the high volume of shipments associated with the holidays. If you wait to make repairs to your warehouse storage system until the holidays are actually here, it will only slow you down and negatively affect productivity, potentially leading to lost revenue.
Racking systems should be replaced or restored just like any piece of essential machinery, like a forklift, should be. A damaged pallet rack could collapse, injuring your employees and destroying your valuable inventory. Pallet racks not securely anchored to the floor or with unstable shelving are also a safety hazard because they could result in falling inventory. Any accident has the potential to severely injure workers and damage inventory and other pieces of warehouse equipment, leading to lost time and revenue. So, it’s important to take preventative measures such as conducting safety checks and installing any new warehouse equipment that may not make it through the holidays in one piece before the season peaks.
Be Proactive about Making Minor Repairs
Storage and handling equipment is essential to your warehouse storage operations, especially during the holidays. It’s important to proactively make minor repairs to your equipment and warehouse storage systems to prevent a minor issue from turning into a much bigger, and more expensive, repair. So, before the holidays hit, you should conduct the necessary preventative maintenance to make sure there aren’t any damages you’ll need to repair.
For example, let’s say a screw is loose in one of your industrial shelves. This is something that would be super simple to identify during a routine safety check and very inexpensive to fix. But, if you left the loose screw, it could result in the entire shelf falling—which could crush an employee and destroy your inventory. In this scenario, you’d have to replace the entire shelving unit and could even face higher worker’s comp premiums and even legal expenses. So, as you can see, being proactive about the repairs you need to make, even minor ones, will make sure your warehouse can operate as efficiently and as safely as possible during peak season.
Get Organized Ahead of Time
Organization is key for managing your warehouse storage systems before the busiest time of year so employees can find things quickly when your orders are at a yearly high. If you want to boost efficiency even more, it’d be a good idea to study your previous sales data and identify predicted sales trends for the upcoming season. This way, you can adjust the layout of your warehouse storage system to align. For example, you could place items that are in higher demand in a more accessible place, such as at eye-level or bottom shelves, and place products that aren’t anticipated to selling as well much farther up on a shelf because they won’t need to be accessed as frequently.
So, it’s important to set up your warehouse storage space for success before you’re dealing more orders than ever before. Some essential warehouse storage solutions for the holidays are an organized racking system, such pallet racks or industrial shelving. They can help you make the most out of space constraints so you can store more products, meaning more revenue! There are numerous types of both pallet racks or steel industrial shelving on the market, so be sure to do your research on which would be best suited for your particular warehouse storage needs and layout. For example, if your warehouse has very limited storage space, consider taking advantage of your property’s vertical space by installing taller pallet rack shelving with more levels to store inventory upwards.
Experience Warehouse Optimization With SSE's Storage and Handling Solutions
If you’re trying to balance the busy holiday season with maintaining customer satisfaction, while boosting efficiency and profits, you don’t have to go through it alone—SSE is here to help! We have the comprehensive maintenance services and products you need to be successful this holiday season and leave the stress behind.
For more information about optimizing your warehouse storage in time for the holiday season or to get started today, contact an expert at Southern States Enterprises!