A Place for Everything, Everything in its Place

The first picture is a small operator that was able to get 105 SKU’s in only 16’ of space.

Better organization equals better efficiency. Seems like an easy concept to understand, yet many operators are perplexed because of a high error rate in their warehouse. Receiving and picking product is not a hard concept, yet the high number of SKU’s that an operator must maintain can make the task seem over whelming.

If you take a quick walk through the warehouse it’s not that hard to get to the root of the problem. Organization. Think about it. Cost of Goods Sold is the largest expense of any operator in the vending business and yet it usually has the least amount of time spent trying to control and manage it. Yes, you can buy it cheaper, try and hold down spoilage, put in security measures to reduce theft, but what about organization.

A well-organized warehouse could have the single largest impact on an operation. It accomplishes several key tasks:

  • Reduces stales by providing a FIFO inventory rotation
  • Reduces theft by organizing the pick line into a consolidated area that’s easy to control
  • Reduces mistakes by standardizing the pick line
  • Reduces miss pulls due to product being in the wrong place
  • Gives management a quick view on inventory levels

At the heart of a well-organized warehouse is carton flow shelving. Carton flow is a tilted shelf that you rear load and product slides down on tracks when you pull an empty box out from the front. There are many variations of carton flow and of course at many different price points. The option that we will discuss is a hybrid version.

Interroll, based in Hiram GA, makes one of the finest carton flow beds on the market. The wheel technology allows very light weight boxes to slide down the tracks at a very low pitch. This allows an operator to put additional beds in each section thereby making their pick line more efficient. Warehouse space is at a premium in any operation and if you can add more beds in the same footprint you’ll have a very efficient layout.

In addition to the wheel technology, they have perfected a universal adapter that allows the carton flow beds to be attached to standard pallet uprights. Pallet uprights are not expensive and can usually be purchased from local dealers. With pallet uprights, you can use the top of the pick line for additional storage, giving an operator even more efficiency.