Managing space in your distribution area is one of the key challenges facing businesses. As your business expands, you keep looking for a new space to store your merchandise. Getting new warehouses is near impossible these days, thanks to costly real estate!
Running out of space means problems in receiving and dispatching goods and other process areas. Generally, the occupation of 85% of your warehouse area means ‘running out of space’. So how can we get more space from our existing warehouse? Please read this article and get a few tips.
- Extending racks vertically
This is the lowest hanging fruit for you. You can stack racks up until they reach within 18 inches of the fire sprinkler system. However, there’s a drawback to this method. If the racks don’t fit into each other, they might become unstable. In that case, please call a structural engineer or a PE expert to solve this issue.
- Install a mezzanine
One of the simplest and the easiest ways to add space to your cramped warehouse is to add a mezzanine one floor above. This way, you don’t have to construct something firm, which costs extra. Of course, there is a pitfall in this method. The floor of the mezzanine should be strong enough to support all your crates and other merchandise. Need ideas to install a mezzanine? You may consider consulting experts like Advanced Warehouse Structures for expert advice.
- Reducing aisle-width
If you have generously broad aisles, consider reducing the width. A 12-15 feet wide aisle can be easily reduced to 8-12 feet. This way, you get an additional 20% space. But is this space enough for your lift equipment to work? Can you lift and hoist your stuff easily from your aisles? Secondly, can you lay down your wires and other pipes easily in this ‘new space’?
- Directed Put-Way; Leverage your Warehouse Management System
Rather than putting your pallets anywhere, follow the Directed Put-Way protocol for increasing warehouse space. Place your pallets most efficiently; don’t let convenience come in the way.
- Using unutilized space
Find out which spaces are being under or un-utilized. The space above the staging, receiving and dispatching areas is not used to the optimum. Slow-moving goods often stack it. You can replace that merchandise with one that has greater commercial value. If you have a pick module or a conveyor down the hall, consider placing a shelf above it to optimize your space. This way, you can store slow-moving goods without having to create something new. Slow-moving products can be replenished either by the conveyor belt or via hands.
- Storing merchandise in trailers for short-term
Warehouse owners use this tactic for seasonal products like fruit, vegetables, etc. They will hire trailers for short-term use and park them alongside the warehouse. There is negligible expense here; all you pay is demurrage charges. However, you will have to load and unload stuff manually, and that will take some extra time. Trailer based warehousing, although cost-effective slows down your operations.
- Consider changing your storage medium
You may also like to change your single- deep rack to a double-deep storage rack. This means you are packing things more densely than before in the same warehouse. When you use double-deep racks, you may need to reach trucks to load and unload pallets. You can also use push-back or drive-in racks for increasing storage density. However, the major disadvantage is managing FIFO- First In, First Out. Higher density storage restricts access to pallets that were loaded earlier.