Your warehouse or distribution center can benefit from a variety of storage systems, including pallet storage racks. However, there are different styles of shelves, allowing you to store non-palletized merchandise, tools, or accessories.
Four Ways to Optimize Industrial Storage Shelving
No matter your needs, there is always room to improve the efficiency of your storage system. Here are four ways that warehouse managers can maximize their storage capacity:
Determine Your Storage Capacity
Warehouse managers and other business owners often calculate the total square footage of their warehouse when determining its total size. Unfortunately, square footage doesn’t account for those parts of the warehouse that cannot be used for storage, such as offices, and ignores vertical space.
Before installing a shelving or racking system, it’s important to account for the clear height which is the height between the floor and the lowest hanging overhead object. This measurement is different from ceiling height, as there may be lighting systems, fire-suppression systems, or other objects in the way.
The clear height determines how high you can extend your shelving or stack your items without interfering with these objects and plays an important role in determining the total storage capacity of your warehouse.
By removing non-storage space from your calculations and factoring in the clear height, you can better assess your storage requirements and what you have available. To do this, multiply the storage-specific square footage by the clear height. This gives you the storage capacity of your warehouse in cubic feet. Once you have this information, you need to determine your inventory cube size — i.e., the space you can allocate to storing inventory.
To find your inventory cube size, divide the volume of the inventory that you store in cubic feet by the square footage of your warehouse. For example, if you store 150,000 cubic feet of inventory in a 1,500,000-sq-ft. warehouse, your space utilization equates to 10%. You should, ideally, aim for between 22 and 27% which is the standard for warehouses.
If your inventory cube size is too low, this can be an indicator that you’re not using as much space as you have available. You may also be using the available space inefficiently.
On the other hand, if your inventory cube size is too high, you may not be allowing for sufficient space for non-storage purposes, such as maintaining adequate clearance for forklift trucks; forklift drivers need sufficient space to safely maneuver.
Maximize Vertical Space
Whether you’re installing pallet racks or industrial shelving, many business owners don’t use the vertical space available to its full advantage. If your floor space is limited and horizontal expansion is not possible, extending your shelving upward is a cost-effective way to add storage capacity.
Our Beaded Post Industrial Clip Shelving from Lyon is rigid and durable, using 13-gauge compression clips. Every shelving unit is 85” (7’) in height, so most standard ceilings are capable of accommodating this design. You can also adjust the shelves in 1½” increments.
Roll formed steel shelves don’t require additional reinforcement due to the front and rear box formations. Built on a 20-gauge steel frame, the weight capacity varies between 500 and 850 lbs., depending on the specific model.
Once you’ve selected a suitable shelving system, you can take advantage of vertical space by stacking inventory items on the top shelf. Ensure that you place heavy items on the bottom shelves first to prevent the system from becoming top heavy and unstable.
Like warehouse pallet racks, some industrial shelving units are compatible with foot plates or wall anchors, allowing you to securely attach them to the floor or wall for added stability. You can also use guard rails and safety netting to prevent items from falling off shelves as their height increases.
Optimize Inventory Management
Efficient inventory management not only saves time, it also allows you to optimize your use of available storage space, saving you money and increasing the productivity of your warehouse. For example, inefficiencies in inventory management and overstocking merchandise can lead to inconsistent stock-keeping unit (SKU) locations.
Products with the same SKUs should not be located in different parts of your warehouse. This causes order pickers and forklift drivers to waste time trying to locate and retrieve SKUs.
Wire shelving, such as that offered by Quantum Storage Systems, allows you to maintain product visibility, allowing order pickers to easily identify and retrieve inventory items.
Easy to install, this heavy-duty and modular system uses split-sleeve connectors that attach to grooved posts. The welded construction and trusses provide a per-shelf weight capacity of 800 lbs.
Available in four different heights and a range of 15 shelf size options, you can choose the system that best suits your specific storage needs. Quantum’s shelf unit is also compatible with casters for increased onsite mobility.
Choose the Right Shelf and Accessories
It’s not enough to choose the right type of storage system, you can maximize the potential of your shelving or racking system with add-ons or accessories. For example, to ensure you’re not wasting valuable space between shelves, you can install baskets for small parts and tools.
J-hooks allow you to suspend items from the frame of a wire-shelving unit, which is particularly useful for keeping wiring, cables, and ropes available and out of the way.
By adjusting the vertical space between shelves, you can reduce the gap between the tops of inventory items and the underside of the overhead shelf, freeing up space for the other shelves. When every square inch counts, you don’t want to have unused shelving space due to improper sizing.
Our Experienced Staff Can Help
At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we supply numerous storage solutions to help you maximize the storage capacity of your business. If you want to find the best ways to optimize the space of your office, or warehouse, give us a call at (800) 589-7225.