Have you ever had to navigate a neighborhood or a city with street signs that are hard to read, or that you just can’t see? That is what a warehouse with poor bin labeling looks like to your employees. Whether your organization is utilizing GPs Multi bin feature set, or if you just have locations within the warehouse and track at a site level, giving your team a logical roadmap is key to ensuring they can do their jobs quickly, efficiently, and with the minimum interruptions. In an upcoming blog you will see a deep dive into how to set up your warehouse for bins, in this session we are going to cover the bin labels themselves.
Bin labels need to hit three main targets to be successful in the warehouse; they must be durable, they must be decipherable, and they need to be consistent. Today we will discuss the materials that bin labels should be printed on, the sizes and formats that work best, as well as where they are placed on the shelves themselves. While this will not be a comprehensive guide to bin labels, we hope it gives you an excellent starting point as your team prepares to take control of your inventory.
Bin labels need to be much more durable that your standard inventory item label. These labels will be in your warehouse for the future, not just applied to items that go out to customers. For this reason, Panatrack does not recommend using your standard inventory label printer and media, as even the most rugged synthetic labels that your standard printer handles are not meant to deal with items, people, forklifts, and other constant exposure throughout a full day. Instead of these labels intended for temporary use, Panatrack encourages all of our clients to connect with a company that prints specific warehouse bin labels. These labels offer enhanced features such as scratch resistance, reflective backings, chemical resistance, magnetic backs or even be labels meant to be hung from walls or mounted on floors.
While Panatrack does not have any specific vendors we recommend for labels, we would be happy to provide a list of some organizations who have provided labels to our customers in the past. Relying on companies whose sole focus is warehouse labeling will ensure that your team is in the right hands and will get the highest quality product.
Just like those street signs from earlier, it is vital that when looking at a bin label it be easy for both the employee and the scanner to read. That means we want to keep labels simple, clean, and in easy sight. Placing labels on the edge of a rack is a great way to start, though they need to be marked clearly as to which label is meant for which shelf. Looking at the image on the right below, you can see how each level is color coded and separated from the next. This makes it easy for an employee to identify and scan the correct bin label when they need it. The arrow at the bottom confirms which side of the rack the labels are intended for. This will come up again in our next section. The image on the left is technically a functional bin label, however it is not nearly easy to read for a person and if we had a stack of those located near each other in a single location, it would be difficult to rapidly identify the correct location.
The reason that signage, be it road signs, grocery aisles, or bin labels all need to be consistent is very evident, it increases our ability to identify and react in any situation. In the warehouse, it is best practice to have all of your bin labels look similar and be placed in a consistent manner. If one shelf has the bin labels on the upper right, another in the middle, and one in the lower corner, it is going to require workers to look for the labels, locate them, then identify the specific bin they are looking for. Panatrack recommends that your bin labels be placed in the same manner on each rack. If you have different areas with different racking or shelving, then it is fine to move them to the most conducive location, however consistency is key. If every street sign was at a different height, or located on a random corner of the intersection, it would make navigating more difficult without the advanced GPS systems we have now.
When it comes to bin labels and warehouse layouts, Panatrack is happy to recommend companies and best practices to best suit your environment. To learn more about our inventory control solutions and to schedule a one-on-one demo of the Panatrack application, contact us.