With warehouse space at a premium, moving to new premises or building an extension on your current space can be cost prohibitive for many businesses. Fortunately, there is a solution that is both cost-effective and can maximize the warehouse racking space you already have.
Warehouse optimization creates an efficient storage and retrieval system that allows you to store more items in less space. Ideally, this can allow you to operate a smaller warehouse and reduce the costs associated with utilities, rent, and storing stock. Here are some ways you can maximize your warehouse space without the need for expansion.
Use the Vertical Space
When you run out of floor space, the best way to go is up. The dead space at the top of your warehouse is ideal for creating additional storage and can be achieved with minimal cost and effort.
Before you consider increasing the vertical storage space, you will need to plan for how the stock at these upper levels will be loaded, retrieved, and transported. Consider the maximum weight capacity of the upper levels of warehouse racking and ensure that your employees can access them safely and efficiently.
Also, consider the additional tiers’ proximity to other building structures and ensure the completed structure is compliant with all warehouse health and safety and fire codes.
In some cases, automated storage systems such as a vertical lift module can help to increase your vertical space without sacrificing the safety or productivity of the warehouse employees. An automated system such as this can be built to fit the entire height of the warehouse, and due to the automated nature of picking and loading, it can also reduce the amount of floor space used.
Reduce Aisle Width
Efficient loading and picking is an excellent way to boost warehouse productivity, and ample aisle space allows forklifts enough room for a large turning circle. However, many warehouses tend to overcompensate with their layout to accommodate forklifts and staff, which can lead to a waste of space.
The standard for most warehouse aisles is around 12-feet without considering the storage and retrieval needs of the warehouse. Reducing this width by just one or two feet either side can save up to 15% of your floor space. If you do reduce the width of your aisle, you will also need to consider using smaller model forklifts or standup trucks.
Use Precise Storage
When boxes or bins are smaller than their allocated shelving area, this can add up to a lot of dead space. When you design your racking and shelving systems, it is essential to use a design that accepts the exact dimensions of the box or bin your product is stored in.
For businesses that need to store items of various sizes, a flexible racking and shelving option can allow you to adjust the width and height of the shelves as necessary. An automated system such as a vertical lift module can be adjusted in 0.98-inch increments for precision storage so you can store more items in less space.
In addition to calibrating your shelving to your storage containers, you can also save space by using storage containers hat perfectly fit your product. In a typical warehouse, storage bins are usually one-size-fits-all, which means there is often a lot of wasted space when small items are placed in too large bins. Consider purchasing a variety of bins sizes that are compatible and storing them in flexible warehouse racking that can accommodate bins of all sizes.
Careful Loading Practices
Not only does poor loading technique put warehouse employees at risk of injury from falling items, but it also limits how efficiently to can store your inventory. A poorly placed pallet or bin leaves no room for other items on the racking and shelving unit. Bins, boxes, and pallets should be stored neatly and at their precise location to create space for additional inventory and facilitate easier picking and retrieval.
Limited warehouse space allows warehouse managers to be creative when is come to space optimization. Try some of these space saving tips to maximize your warehouse space and increase productivity.