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Managing Throughput: The Best Materials Handling Systems to Maximize Your Warehouse Processing Speed

Are your operations as efficient as they need to be? How can you increase productivity without having to move to a larger warehouse facility to handle the influx of orders? As a warehouse owner, you may be wondering whether your existing processes are meeting current and future cost demands in order to stay competitive and turn a profit.  

Managing throughput can help you determine the strong points of your operations as well as the weak areas, so you can increase your production lines. Once you determine what your throughput is, you can get the best materials handling systems to help streamline processes. 

What Does Throughput Mean? 

There are two different types of throughput – manufacturing and warehouse. Manufacturing throughput simply means that you are measuring the number of units that are produced at a consistent rate in your production lines. Warehouse throughput refers to the number of units that are processed and moved through your building, either during stocking and inventory processes or when fulfilling orders. 

How to Calculate Throughput 

First, it’s important to decide which type of throughput you’d like to calculate (manufacturing or warehouse). Then, you can measure the time it takes for the unit to pass through your processes.  

For example, you may want to measure how many orders are processed by your warehouse within four hours. Then, you can track the number of orders received in that amount of time, and how long it takes each product to move from the picking stage to packaging and labeling. If your warehouse processes 200 orders in four hours, it means that workers are completing an average of 50 orders per hour.  

Practical Ways To Increase Throughput in Your Warehouse Using Material Handling Systems 

You may think that the only way to increase throughput in small and medium warehouses is to move to a larger building. However, this scenario isn’t always feasible and may not actually address the real problem. In fact, one of the best ways to improve throughput in manufacturing is to introduce more automation and materials handling equipment into processes. This can help speed up order fulfillment tasks. Some products to consider from A-Lined Handling Systems include: 

  • Mezzanines – Your tallest racking system may only reach up to 20-feet in height. Yet, if your warehouse has higher ceilings, there is a lot of vertical space that could be used. Custom mezzanines allow you to use up this free vertical space to store more products. Mezzanines can also minimize walking and traveling time across the warehouse as workers are able to simply walk up the stairs to retrieve an item. 
  • Pallet Flow Racks – Ideal for perishable and time-sensitive products, pallet flow racks help to maximize warehouse space by allowing pallets to flow down rails set at a pitch to the unloading end. So, when one product pallet is lifted from its place in the front, the next pallet will start to roll forward gradually and stop at the bottom. Therefore, the second pallet is ready for the next picker to take without having to move down the pallet racking system. 
  • Conveyor Systems – Sometimes warehouse layouts can be complicated if the labeling, packaging, and shipping areas are located in different locations. In addition to redesigning your building’s layout to have the best flow traffic and reduce congestion, you can use pallet conveyor systems to move products quickly and easily. 

To effectively manage throughput, you must have a good understanding of how many orders are being processed over a set time period. From there, you can find ways to make operations more efficient. You may discover that you can improve your warehouse throughput by simply upgrading your materials handling equipment.  

If you are looking to increase the number of products you move through your warehouse, A-Lined Handling Systems can help. We offer a number of warehousing solutions that can help productivity and safety in your facility. For more information or to place an order, contact us today.