Warehouses are often fast paced environments, with many different tasks simultaneously being undertaken. To be able to meet orders or targets, multiple machines and vehicles need to operate in a shared tight space whilst pedestrian workers manoeuvre around designated walkways and shelves. With so much going on and under one roof, warehouse owners should consider developing a strategic line plan for three key reasons.
Health and Safety of Workers, Equipment and Stock
Incorporating a line plan allows for the pedestrian workforce and the various vehicles and machines to work in a synchronised manner without accidently colliding. By marking out the line plan on the surface of the floor using a bold paint or floor tapes which you can view here at BoPlan, pedestrian employees are made conscious of dangerous areas.
The markings give vehicle operators a perimeter for their route, much like how road markings are used to divert traffic to single lanes. The markings will also define if a lane is to be used by fast or slow-moving vehicles. The result is a much-lessened risk to employee health and safety; whilst damage to vehicle fleets, equipment and stock are also minimised as the risk of collision is much lower.
Efficiency and Capabilities
There are numerous types of line plans warehouse managers can decide to utilise in order to maximise the efficiency of a warehouse, as well as create bespoke line plans if required. Common examples such as the ‘Through Flow’ and the ‘U Flow’ both feature fast and slow-moving lines and can be adjusted or repeated in the same warehouse to fit business’s needs.
A ‘Through Flow’ plan is more suited to warehouses with separate loading bays parallel to one another whilst a ‘U Flow’ plan is more appropriate when products arrive and are dispatched at a close distance. ‘U Flow’ line plans benefit from being more secure, with only one point of entry needed to be guarded. ‘Through Flow’ are more suited to warehouses utilising a production plan or who regularly deal with differing sized and shaped products. Warehouses are able to generate more income, when there is an efficient line plan in place as there is far less stopping and waiting for colleagues.
Management, Employee Understanding and Knowledge
Strictly controlling the flow of materials and/or products to a designated route makes for a warehouse which operates like a well-oiled machine. The driving route of a good line plan should also accommodate any pedestrian walkways usually via a gated safety barrier or areas that the vehicle operator may need access to.
Line plan markings can detail storage spaces, different vehicle parking spaces and designated loading zones. Through a line plan employees are given a greater understanding of their surroundings. Employees learn of the various roles different to their own being undertaken, their purpose and how they as an individual fit into the mechanics of the company’s business model.
An imperative attribute of a well-functioning warehouse, a line plan provides the blueprints of how a warehouse operates. Instructing and providing direction to individual employees in order for them to act in conjunction without obstructing or inconveniencing each other. Now that’s ideal, isn’t it?