Waste management within the warehouse setting involves the regulating, auditing and optimising of waste that results from the numerous activities carried out in the space. Often, waste in warehouses is one of the last things people consider as for the most part, warehouses are essentially areas to store materials for re-sale or mass production. However, waste can quickly build up in a warehouse and ultimately impact production, because of this it’s vital to implement specific warehouse waste management measures to enable your production to run more efficiently. Keeping warehouses clean and safe should be an important consideration for management

1. Organise your warehouse space

Warehouses that are disorganised quickly become the ones that produce the most waste as items frequently go missing leading to replacement items being needed. Disorganised warehouses are also a hazard. That’s why to keep track of your inventory and make your warehouse a safer place you need to organise it. This may seem like a daunting task if it was never a priority before but start by planning your racking layout to make the most of your space and to easily store and find your inventory.

2. Avoid overproduction

Overproduction can be a result of fulfilling activities too quickly or fulfilling orders before the material is needed. It can also be the result of employees working extended hours. Overproduction becomes problematic as it can result in overflow, waste, and present a hazard within the warehouse setting. To reduce overproduction we would recommend reducing your employees working hours or overtime if possible or at least considering not inflating production to keep employees working. 

3. Implement the 5S lean strategy

The 5S lean strategy is a strategy that helps make problems in your warehouse visible and easily solved. It considers Sort, Set, Shine, Standardise and Sustain helping you work from problem identification to solution and resolution maintenance. This strategy is a great starting point for identifying how waste management is currently occurring in your organisation vs how it should be and how you can get to the optimum solution.

4. Don’t hold excess inventory

Too much inventory takes up unnecessary room and can result in more waste. Implementing a real-time supply chain will help you monitor and manage inventory levels more efficiently while still meeting demand. As a general rule of thumb you shouldn’t hold more than 6 months of inventory. 

5. Go digital

One of the best ways to reduce warehouse waste is by going digital. This will firstly be less wasteful as you reduce the need for paper but also will improve efficiency. A paperless warehouse means less risk of losing important documents and less physical waste at the end of every day. Eliminating paper forms will bring significant time savings and make your warehouse more environmentally friendly. 

6. Create a waste management plan

Having an organised, detailed plan for the flow of waste in your warehouse is key to optimising waste management. One important piece of information to have in this plan is segregating areas for all the different waste types. This way you won’t have to worry about clutter gathering up and you’ll be best able to reduce, reuse and recycle where possible.

7. Provide staff training

Your staff are the lifeblood of your warehouse and the people who will be dealing with waste management on a daily basis. Many companies neglect training their employees in waste management practices instead favouring handling and operating training. Consider waste management training just as, if not more important. Spend time updating and refining your current induction training and make adjustments here to ensure your workers are well involved in the waste management process of your warehouse.

We hope our top tips have helped you to optimise waste management in your warehouse. Here at RackZone we have great products such as shelving and pallet racking, perfect for warehouses at a terrific price. Contact us today to discuss your storage needs, our expert team will be happy to help.