Improved warehouse space utilization is the focus of many of our consulting assignments at JDH Warehousing Systems. These are extremely important issues for a business. Inefficient use of available space can lead to bottlenecks, lost product, double handling, safety concerns, etc.
In addition there are overhead costs. A lot of companies are committed to long term leases and need to employ better ways of using their existing space. Finding ways to ‘stay where you are’ avoids the cost of moving and having to pay more money for a larger facility.
Here are five easy ways to find more warehouse space.
- Review the widths of your aisles. All warehousing consists of aisle spacing in order to allow access to product and support efficient material flow. Aisles can sometimes account for over 50% of the facility space allocation. Generally speaking, aisle widths are determined by the material handling equipment, methods of storage and column spacing within warehouse. So for example, by switching from a counter balance fork lift to a reach truck, you can reduce aisle widths up to 25%.
- Use the height of the building. Many companies fail to maximize the height (or cube) of their warehouse. Opportunities for increasing the warehouse space utilization include mezzanine storage and better use of racking elevations. Finding ways to store ‘higher’ can provide improvements to overall warehouse space utilization.
- Profile the inventory by sales/activity. Assessing the activity of the various SKUs can be very useful in finding ways to improve warehouse space utilization. First and foremost is to identify the ‘dead stock’. Clearing out obsolete items can free up to 10% of storage space. Also, slow moving items should be slotted in high density storage configurations.
- Consider different storage options for you products. Most traditional warehouses use single deep selective racking for their pallet storage. Depending on the product mix and stock rotation requirements, there are a variety of different options to improve warehouse space utilization. This includes double deep racking, push back solutions, and drive in racking.
- Random versus dedicated storage. By employing a stock locator system, you will have the ability to use random storage methods. This will improve the flexibility of how you use the storage options within the warehouse.