I promote living cleaner and greener whenever and wherever I can, and warehouses and are no exception. There are many reasons to increase awareness about creating a greener and cleaner warehouse environment for both employees and for the footprint left behind.
- Reduce warehouse costs wherever you can by reducing waste and increasing the use of efficient energy usage
- Increase the bottom line of the warehouse by limiting the amount of waste
- Create a better environment for employees to increase productivity
- Ability to expand company sooner
- Increase overall efficiencies
Optimize layout of facilities
Product movement during regular and peak seasons can create opportunities to increase efficiencies in the layout of the facility. The less the package has to travel, the faster the package can get in and out, creating employee efficiencies.
Provide efficient lighting in facilities
Providing bright and efficient LED lighting that is focused on specific work areas to decrease employee mistakes, accidents, and potential health issues due to inadequate lighting.
Warehouses typically cover quite a bit of square footage, and their roofs are no different. Adding solar panels to the warehouse can decrease overall electricity costs by supplementing the electricity used.
Install motion sensors
Using motion sensors that automatically turn lights off when no one is in the area for a certain period of time will decrease electricity costs.
Implement strict procedures
Allowing trucks to idle for long periods of time and keeping bay doors in loading docks open when not necessary increase energy usage. Ensure all employees understand the need to decrease energy usage and the procedures to reduce the company’s footprint, and the consequences of not doing so.
Involve employees in decisions
Your employees are the one’s who run the floor. Let them tell you what they believe would be the most efficient use of their time, floor space, and floor layout.
Reuse and recycle
Filling up the landfill with unused products that are unsalable produces a huge footprint on our environment. Instead, reuse whatever you can, sell through a secondary market sale, and recycle or donate anything else. Don’t let unsalable products go to waste.
Route and delivery efficiency
Take a look at current shipments and routes and find a way to consolidate shipments to increase route efficiencies. This will decrease delivery times, increase shipment efficiencies, increase the management and amount of shipments, give ability to expand, and increase your bottom line.
Delivery rates and carriers
If you use a delivery company to ship your product, shop the competition to see if someone else has better delivery rates. If you have contracts with specific carriers, review the contracts quarterly to ensure you aren’t paying too much for having the added benefit of dedicated truckers.
As much as I hate saying this because I am a proponent of providing local jobs, automate whenever and wherever you can. You’ll lower your costs and increase proficiency (usually with fewer errors).
An example of optimization of a warehouse is Skechers’ new distribution center in Moreno Valley, CA. Skechers consolidated several warehouses in a nearby city to a 1.82 million square foot facility that employs the most advanced technology, an integral layout that optimizes shipments and employee time, and enhances the ability to leave a smaller footprint on the environment.