With each vehicle containing around 30,000 parts, you have your work cut out for you when it comes to inventory management. These parts range from small nuts and screws to large pieces of felt and steel rods and beams. So, how are you going to make sure your workers can find what they need? Use these tips to improve your automotive parts storage systems.
1. Separate Small Items with Parts Bins
Every part should have its own slot or container on the shelf. Many of your parts likely look the same, so put clear dividers between each category to keep them separate. Use plastic parts bins with drop-down slots to keep your inventory accessible without mixing different items together. You can also post images and dimensions over the bin to give your workers a visual reference. Assign different colored bins to each type of item to visually break up the space.
2. Match Your Materials
Most vehicles contain lots of different types of materials. It’s tempting to store everything in the same type of container, but this damages your inventory. Try to match materials when choosing a container for your parts. Put metal items in metal storage bins and plastic or fabric items in plastic storage containers. Sharp metal ends can easily damage the plastic. Fabric can also contain moisture that could corrode the metal on the containers. If your containers are damaged, your inventory will be at risk. Use a wide variety of containers when organizing your materials for more peace of mind.
3. Use Plastic Pallets to Keep Your Facility Clean
Wooden pallets may be popular, but they aren’t the best choice when it comes to storing automotive parts. For starters, none of your parts are made of wood. They will usually be made of plastic, metal, fabric or aluminum. These parts and containers can easily scratch the wood, spreading debris all over your workplace. All that dust and dirt can also clog your automotive parts. You will need to clean your facility often to keep your parts clean if they are left out in the open.
You will also need to make sure your wooden pallets have been treated for international shipping if you need to send goods overseas, or they won’t make it through customs.
Use plastic pallets for more peace of mind. You can reuse them for years on end without damaging the plastic. These pallets can also withstand more weight, so you can move all of your inventory at once.
4. Utilize Reusable Storage Containers
Disposable storage containers will only add clutter to your warehouse or manufacturing facility. Your team will need to clear the empty container from the shelf, break down the box and put in recycling all while trying to fulfill an order. All those cardboard boxes sitting on the shelf will also confuse your workers during the picking process. They should be able to see the item in question instead of having to scan the barcode, so they don’t have to waste time scanning different packages until they find the right one.
Clear up the space by emptying smaller packages into a bulk container. These containers can hold large quantities of goods without taking up as much space on the shelf. You can then get rid of all these empty boxes at once instead of building up clutter over time. The bulk container will also stay in the same place, so your workers always know where to go. Just refill it with more supplies before you run out.
5. Use a Warehouse Automation System
Your workers may need help finding what they need on the shelf. No one can keep 30,000 parts straight in their head without looking at a reference. That’s why many facilities will have their workers wear technology that lets them access the warehouse management system in real-time. They can check the packing list or look up a direct route to the item using a smart wristband or headset. The system will even recommend the most productive picking path to keep your workers on task.
Keep your automotive parts storage system organized by upgrading your containers today!