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How to know when it’s time for better clothing warehouse organization

April 19, 2024
11 min read
Ioana Neamt

Ioana Neamt

Contributing Writer

Anyone who has worked on making something can tell you that you can’t go very far without organization. Even at the very start of a crafting enterprise, you will soon feel the need to keep things in some sort of order so that you can better focus on the crafting work.

Similarly, there are puzzle fans who prefer the relaxed chaos of picking any one random piece from the box at a time to see if it fits somewhere. However, the bigger the puzzle gets, the better your chances of finishing it if you organize your pieces.

The importance of apparel warehouse organization

A successful operation depends on how well it is managed. You can’t manage very well what you don’t measure, and you can’t measure very well what you don’t organize properly. If your business is apparel, then how you organize your warehouse is essential to your efficiency and success. Odds are you are already aware of that by the time you get your business going. However, you might not always realize when the time comes to rethink and improve some things along the way.

Apparel inventory management is essential for improving your bottom-line and keeping track of items moving along your supply chain.

Signs it is time to reorganize your clothing warehouse

Luckily, the need to organize has many ways of introducing itself in a timely fashion. You might start to realize it but feel compelled to put it off because, let’s be honest, it’s a chore at any scale. However, it is important that you don’t ignore the signs, and it is certainly worth the effort to make it happen. Improper or inappropriate organization can manifest as:

  • Slow order fulfillment — If your apparel is not stored properly or organized clearly, it will very likely take longer to be picked, packed, and shipped.
  • Frequent picking errors — If you want to ship orders quickly but have poor categorization, unclear labeling, or haphazard storage, the risk of shipping the wrong items is quite high.
  • Inaccurate inventory — If you frequently find yourself surprised by either overstocking or stockouts, it might be due to a lack of inventory level visibility because of poor organization.
  • Damaged inventory — When garments are folded or stored improperly, it is only a matter of time before they get wrinkled, stained, torn, or damaged in some other way.
  • Inefficient use of space — When your inventory is poorly placed, your employees might find it challenging to move efficiently through the warehouse, even if you actually have plenty of space.
Nicely organized shelf with clothing articles

Challenges of apparel warehouse organization

A well-organized and efficient storage space is an important pillar of growth for your apparel business. Achieving optimal organization does not come without some effort, but with careful planning and consideration of your specific needs and resources, you can navigate the challenges to unlock the benefits.

  • Warehouse layout redesign — Depending on how your current layout works for you and the level of optimization needed, you might need to get creative in reconfiguring your warehouse layout.
  • Space constraints — It can be challenging to implement new storage solutions if you have limited warehouse space that is already cramped.
  • Complex storage needs — Accommodating a wide variety of apparel or particularly seasonal items might require specific storage areas and separation. In that case, you’ll need to get creative with how you distribute storage zones throughout your space.
  • Workflow considerations — Good organization can make picking and packing easy and error-free. Consider your fulfillment workflow needs, how in-demand some items are compared to others (keep them handy accordingly), and make labeling easy to work with for the best results.
  • Scalability — Ideally, your business will keep growing, which in itself offers a storage organization challenge. You’ll need to consider clothes warehouse organization solutions that are easy to adapt and make scaling possible without too much effort.

Benefits of clothing warehouse organization

Although it can present challenges, achieving a well-organized clothing warehouse is worth the effort and has almost immediate benefits. Investing in a better organization helps you streamline operations, minimize errors, preserve the quality of your inventory, and create a more positive work environment.

  • Enhance efficiency — Good organization is an essential step toward a smooth-running warehouse. Having everything clearly labeled in its right place means workers can identify and locate items quickly, which translates to faster task fulfillment and happier customers.
  • Reduce errors — A disorganized warehouse means wasted time and picking mistakes just waiting to happen. Issues such as misplaced apparel items, unclear labeling, or an incorrectly used space can lead to frustrating customers and burning out employees.
  • Improve inventory management — Optimal organization is a key element of effective inventory control, as it makes it significantly easier to maintain accurate stock counts and prevent stockouts or overstocking issues.
  • Optimize use of space — There is value in every inch of warehouse space, but the value you get depends on how you use it. Smart organization helps you maximize storage capacity and improve the flow of people and items through the space.
  • Protect your products — Poor organization tends to translate to improper storage, which, in turn, affects the condition of your apparel items. Shipping damaged goods would mean returned orders, dissatisfied customers, and a bad image for your business.
  • Improve worker satisfaction and efficiency — Trying to do your best work in an environment that is cluttered and disorganized is likely to get frustrating quickly, consume a lot of time and energy unproductively, and lead to demotivation or even burnout.
  • Reduce costs — The benefits of a good clothes warehouse organization can also translate to cost savings in the form of less waste, fewer returns, reduced storage costs, improved productivity, overall operational cost savings, and more.

Best practices for clothing warehouse organization

Among the best practices and strategies for optimal clothing warehouse organization is the understanding that this will always be a work in progress. There is no final configuration that is perfect forever, you’ll need to keep evaluating if and how your current organization methods work for you and keep improving along the way. Below, you’ll find some common tips for organizing apparel inventory.

Space optimization

  • Maximize your use of vertical space with shelving and racking systems that offer different heights and depths
  • Allocate specific areas to different categories of apparel and footwear to make them easier to locate
  • Consider off-season and in-season storage separation solutions

Smart inventory management

  • Figure out clear categorization that works for your inventory within your layout
  • Devise a consistent labeling system that is easy to adapt, such as barcodes or quick-response codes
  • Have a rotation system that ensures no items lay forgotten, risking obsolescence and waste

Storage and handling considerations

  • Climate control is essential, so make sure your apparel is stored at the appropriate temperature and humidity
  • Pay attention to how each type of item needs to be stored physically (folded, hanging, or otherwise)
  • Use garment bags, dust covers, or other protection for storing delicate items

Workflow efficiency

  • Clear aisle planning makes it easy to get around the warehouse for order processing
  • Strategic placement of high-demand items makes them easier to retrieve
  • Have proper lighting for clear visibility during picking, packing, and quality checks

Organize your clothing warehouse with Katana

Technology is, yet again, your friend here. Implementing a warehouse inventory management system can take a lot of effort off your hands, as well as save time and costs. With Katana’s cloud-based software, you can track inventory levels, manage picking and packing processes, optimize warehouse operations, and more:

Reach out for a free demo with Katana experts to find out how our user-friendly interface, customizable workflows, and seamless integrations can help you optimize your business processes.

Ioana Neamt

Ioana Neamt

Contributing Writer
With more than 10 years of copywriting experience, Ioana has a fondness for longform writing, investigative journalism, cats, and Victorian-style mansions.

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