Imagine going to your favorite grocery store, but instead of long aisles stocked in an orderly fashion, they had pasta crammed in with diapers, donuts and motor oil with fruits and vegetables, and dairy products scattered in five or six different places.
How long would it take you to shop for the ingredients you need to make dinner?
As a business owner, you know the importance of keeping a well-organized warehouse. Not only does it make it easier for your employees to find and retrieve products, but it also makes the warehouse more efficient, which leads to business growth.
A cluttered warehouse can quickly become a disaster zone, making it difficult to track specific items and slowing down the picking process.
One way to help keep your warehouse organized is by using labels on your racks. This will not only help guide your employees as they navigate the space but also help you keep track of what is stored where.
This blog post will provide some ideas and best practices on how to best label your warehouse racks.
Rack Labeling Ideas
For future reference, we’ll refer to your warehouse racks as the sections that store inventory and equipment that must be retrieved using a forklift or other mechanical device, and your shelves as the locations where you store objects in the warehouse that can be retrieved by hand.
To efficiently and effectively utilize your warehouse space, your racks and shelves should be labeled to increase efficiency throughout the order fulfillment process.
But first, let’s take a step back and examine what warehouse labeling is and why it’s important in the first place.
What is Warehouse Labeling?
Warehouse rack labeling is vital for any business that ships or stores products in warehouse racks.
By clearly identifying each storage location, businesses can optimize their storage and inventory management while also reducing the risk of errors.
There are several different types of warehouse rack labels, including barcoded labels, RFID tags, and magnetic labels. The right label will depend on your business needs and budget. However, all labels offer the same essential benefit: the ability to quickly and easily locate products in the warehouse.
As a result, warehouse rack labeling is necessary for business that want to improve their efficiency and bottom line.
Pro-Tip: Learn the difference between RFID vs barcodes and how they help in the labeling process.
How do you label a warehouse rack?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to label a warehouse rack will depend on the specific needs of the warehouse.
However, there are a few general warehouse labeling tips that can be useful in most cases:
- Use a durable and easily visible material for the labels.
- The label should be placed in a location that is easy to spot from a distance.
- Use symbols or colors to indicate different types of items or areas within the warehouse.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your warehouse is well-labeled and organized.
Be systematic when labeling your racks and shelves
Labeling the shelves and racks in your warehouse is relatively straightforward, but you’ll want to keep these best practices in mind as you get started:
- Start from the floor and go up. This is an effective strategy that prevents you from needing to re-label in the event that you add additional shelves on top of your existing racks or if you move to a bigger warehouse at some point in the future.
- Label your shelves consistently. Make certain The SKU number and/or UPC code for every product is easy to identify. Use the same strategy throughout the warehouse for all of your products.
- Use a labeling system that can coordinate easily with your warehouse management software (WMS), such as SkuVault.
You’ll want to make sure to label each shelf, rack, and section with its own unique identifier. This will allow you to scale your warehouse space, as needed, in an easy-to-learn way for your employees.
Choose between the serpentine or standard method
When labeling your warehouse racks, you have two main options: the serpentine method or the standard method. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s essential to choose the right one for your needs.
Serpentine method – The serpentine method is the most efficient way to label racks. This method involves labeling racks from left to the right, then at the end of the row, continuing to count up only this time from right back to the left, and so on and so forth. This method gets its name from zig-zagging back and forth on a rack. This method works well for warehouses with fast-moving items or many SKUs because it allows pickers to move around the warehouse more quickly without needing to double back for anything. However, it can be more challenging for pickers to keep track of where each item is located, which can lead to errors.
Standard method – The standard method is less efficient movement-wise but allows you to more easily keep track of items. In this method, racks are labeled from left to right, with the count always continuing with the leftmost space. This allows for items to be located relatively quickly since spaces are vertically aligned across an aisle. However, this means as a picker goes through their pick list, they are more prone to backtrack, leading to a less efficient warehouse route.
Ultimately, the best way to label your racks depends on your specific needs. If you need a quick and easy solution, the serpentine method is a good option. If you need a more reliable and organized system, the standard method is a better choice. After implementing one system, it is not a walk in the park to swap systems, so be sure to think through which method works best prior to implementation.
Pro-Tip: You can more easily switch locations by placing your labels on
Bottom-up rack labeling system
A bottom-up rack labeling system is one in which labels are placed on racks from the bottom up. This system allows for quick and easy identification of products.
The bottom-up system is also less likely to damage merchandise, as labels are less likely to be ripped off or become displaced. In addition, this system can save time and money because it eliminates the need for workers to constantly stop and look up product information.
The bottom-up rack labeling system also allows you to easily expand your shelving space or move to a larger warehouse without the need to re-label every rack.
When using the bottom-up rack labeling system, your lowest row should be called 01. The next row from the bottom should be 02, etc.
Two-digit labeling will give you additional flexibility as your warehouse expands and will prevent you from needing to re-label as your business grows.
Bottom-up rack labeling systems are an efficient and effective way to label your warehouse racks.
When planning your warehouse layout, your rack labeling system should take into account the most effective movement of inventory through your warehouse. Ideally, you should be able to draw a straight line from the location where your stock arrives to where it is stored and processed to where it eventually leaves the warehouse.
You’ll want to consider how you can eliminate unnecessary steps in order to increase productivity, how to save space, and how to move your inventory more quickly.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out our guide on warehouse bin location systems.
How do you label a product in a warehouse?
In the warehouse, products are typically labeled with a barcode. The barcode contains information such as the product name, SKU number, and production date. This information is then scanned by a barcode reader, which creates a label that is affixed to the product.
The label must be placed in a visible location so that it can be easily scanned. These labels help to identify the contents of each storage container and can also be used to track inventory levels. By adequately labeling items, warehouses can ensure that products are correctly identified and tracked throughout the fulfillment process.
Labeling products is the entry-level version of asset tracking. For businesses that need a more robust solution, see our post on how asset tracking works.
How do you label aisles in a warehouse?
In a busy warehouse, it is crucial to have a well-organized system for labeling the aisleways. There are a few different ways to do this, but one of the most common is to use color-coded labels. For example, all of the aisleways that contain products from the same department may be assigned the same color.
This makes it easy for employees to quickly find the items they need. Another option is to label the aisleways according to the type of product they contain.
For example, all of the aisleways that contain heavy equipment may be labeled with a green sign, while those that contain lightbulbs may be marked with a yellow sign. Whichever system you choose, make sure it is clearly communicated to all employees so that everyone can find what they need in a timely manner. This allows pickers to immediately know on sight whether or not the product they are looking for is in an aisle or not, saving valuable time in the process.
Ideally, it’s a good idea to label aisles in your warehouse to encourage employee food traffic to travel in a single direction to increase efficiency.
How do you name a shelf in a warehouse?
How do you name a shelf in a warehouse that houses hundreds or thousands of different products? How do you label the aisles to increase efficiency and prevent confusion?
There are a few different schools of thought on this subject. Some experts recommend using a simple alphabetical labeling system, while others advocate for a more complex system that takes into account the most popular items and the most efficient routes through the warehouse. Whichever approach you choose, it’s essential to make sure that the labels are clear, easy to read, and your setup is consistent across the warehouse.
After all, even the best-laid plans will go to waste if your employees can’t find what they’re looking for.
Warehouses can quickly become disorganized and inefficient, leading to delays in order fulfillment and increased costs. The best way to combat this is through effective warehouse labeling. By creating a system and sticking to it, you can keep your warehouse organized and functioning efficiently.