An organized workspace makes safety a priority and establishes an environment conducive to efficiency. We’ve created this round-up of top warehouse organization ideas to help you create a visual workplace and enhance safety and productivity on the job. For maximum effectiveness, incorporate a multi-pronged organizational approach that incorporates visual cues, employee training, and regular 5S audits. Explore these warehouse organization tips and ideas to make the most of your available space.
1. Pair Text and Graphics for Clear Communication
Floor tape that uses both graphics and text reduces the chance of misinterpretation by making important messages as clear as possible. There are many ways to use floor tape, signs, and markers to create clarity and promote safety and productivity in the workspace. One of the most common uses of text and graphic floor markings is to improve compliance with OSHA standards that require clear labeling of the location of fire extinguishers, first aid kits, or emergency exits. Or, offer instructions for placement of delivery packages, explain parking protocol for forklifts and other vehicles, or direct proper placement of important products in storage.
2. Use Floor Tape to Separate Vehicles and Pedestrians
Beyond keeping products and supplies organized, warehouses also need to ensure proper traffic flow for safety and efficiency. While physical barriers are the recommended way to separate vehicle and pedestrian traffic, visual cues may be suitable when barriers aren’t an option. Keep vehicles and pedestrians safely separated by using floor tape to manage traffic flow.: Floor tape can clearly indicate pedestrian- or vehicle-only aisles; arrows and directional markers can be applied to indicate the direction of traffic movement; and “Stop,” “Sound Horn,” and “Pedestrians Only” messages provide forklift operators with important notices.
3. Customize Visual Cues to Improve 5S & Lean Management Processes
Organization is the crux of effective 5S and lean management practices. While some methods may be applicable across the board, for maximum efficacy, the approach taken by each warehouse should be customized to its specific objectives, workflow, and facility. Start by auditing your current organization, implementing and testing temporary solutions, then identifying which approaches provided the best outcomes before implementing them facility-wide.
Custom Superior Mark™ floor marking tape and signs provide messages and visual cues tailored to your facility’s needs. Using any combination of text, our graphics library, and your own logos, example diagrams, or images, you can create customized visual cues that are easy-to-understand and communicate exactly what you need. For example, you may choose to apply floor signs to meet the following needs:
- Designate an overflow area for when seasonal shipping and receiving traffic exceeds capacity
- Create a template on the floor to ensure shelving units or staging areas are placed properly
- Provide reminders for required protocols regarding packaging, unloading, or distributing goods
- Apply brand- or industry-specific messaging that have been determined to help you achieve the location’s personal warehouse safety goals
4. Provide Temporary Cues with Removable Tapes & Signs
Whether you’re testing 5S ideas for a warehouse, sorting a stock of supplies, or adjusting storage for seasonal products, use easy-to-remove floor tape and signs to support your time-limited organizational efforts. While some inexpensive tape products leave residue that’s hard to remove, Superior Mark™ tape, floor markers, and signs are easy to apply and remove without leaving behind sticky residue, so you can apply, remove, and adjust your warehouse messages as necessary. This is especially useful in warehouses that rely on flexible floor plans to meet demand.
5. Use Color Coding for Consistent, Clear Messaging
OSHA assigns specific meanings to the colors yellow and red, while ANSI offers more extensive guidelines regarding colors and visual messaging. But using standardized color codes to communicate important messaging remains relevant even beyond these standards: Color-coding warehouse cues makes it easy to denote different areas, identify appropriate storage locations, and accomplish other practical organizational needs.
Consider these ideas for using personalized color cues to create a visual workplace that helps improve organization:
- Label cleaning supply storage areas using a designated color so the area is easy to locate in the event of a spill.
- Use symbols and text along with universally recognized stoplight colors—red, yellow, and green—to indicate areas and aisleways where it is safe, hazardous, or prohibited for pedestrians to travel.
- Designate color zones using signs and tape to label storage areas by type, use, or season to help improve organization and identification—which may be especially helpful for new or temporary employees.
- OSHA does not require a specific color for marking aisles and pathways, only that they be marked, so consistency is most important: Many warehouses use yellow to mark pathways, but always ensure the color you choose is used consistently, facility-wide.
6. Use Arrows & Markers for Directional Assistance
Floor markers in pre-cut or custom shapes, such as arrows or circles, can offer directional cues regarding emergency exits, pedestrian-only pathways, and other safety cues. Similarly, you can use these visuals to orient employees within large, hard-to-navigate warehouse locations by applying taped arrows, lines, and dashes providing information about the distance to or direction of important warehouse locations, such as loading docks, supply areas, and vehicle storage. These directional markers also help keep visitors out of areas intended only for employees.
Additionally, directionally cues can provide navigational assistance for forklift and other motor vehicle drivers, interoffice couriers, and utility cart operators.
7. Offer Regular Training for Maximum Efficacy
An organizational system is only effective when it’s used consistently. Train new employees on color coding standards, 5S practices, and warehouse-wide organizational approaches, and alert the entire staff when changes are implemented. Perform regular audits to ensure your organizational strategy is effective, and open avenues for employee feedback about what is or is not working. And, don’t ignore the “continuous improvement” portion of the 5S model: If something doesn’t seem to work, or if processes evolve beyond your current organization strategy, look for ways to improve your storage and processes so they remain effective.
Strategically implement floor tape and other signage to increase the safety and productivity of your warehouse. Explore more warehouse organization methods and ideas, or find industrial marking tips in our Resource Center.