A warehouse can run out of inventory space for any number of reasons, including (but not limited to) rapid growth, seasonal peaks, facility consolidation, and large discount buying. When expansion isn't an option, it’s important to develop a floor plan that maximizes every square inch of your small warehousing facility.
So how can warehouse managers properly utilize their existing storage space? The key is to employ a host of innovative warehouse solutions that can enhance storage and distribution. Here’s a look at 4 simple steps for how to do so:
1. Remove Excess Inventory: While there may be many reasons for maintaining excess inventory (i.e., customer satisfaction, having complete product lines, lead time uncertainty, etc.), housing excess or obsolete inventory is a poor utilization of space and can be a costly mistake. The solution? “Calculate the economic amount of inventory you should have on-hand,” says leading material handling/logistics trade organization MHI. “Then, compare this amount to the actual inventory on-hand. The difference is the amount of potential excess inventory that can be removed.”
2. Select Space Efficient Storage Equipment: In order to determine the most space efficient equipment for your facility, it’s important to perform an analysis of your product inventory levels and cubic order activity. Once this has been completed, it will be easier to select from the various single-deep to deep-storage equipment options. For additional storage efficiency, Arlin Keck, Corporate Engineer for Steel King, recommends “combining rack types to better use vertical space and improve storage density.”
3. Take Advantage of Vertical Space: Another way to think about this is to maximize the clear height of your facility, essentially “filling the air with product.” Vertical cube utilization includes all space above loads, total building clearance, space above cross aisles, space above work and pick areas, and space above docks. Corporate Jet Support, a wholesaler of high-quality airplane parts, replaced its low-density storage with a modular storage system that could take full advantage of its available, underutilized vertical space.
4. Consider Current and Future Needs: To ensure your storage solutions remain effective in both the short and the long term, make sure to consider the current and future needs (to the extent possible) of your warehouse. FloStor refers to this idea as “encapsulating your needs in 1-3-5 year increments. As the business grows, material handling solutions can also grow. If the future growth plans on doubling the warehouse space, take a look at a dynamic storage solution that has scalability.”
Having a small warehousing facility doesn’t mean that the amount of available storage small has to be minimal. In fact, the 4 steps outlined above can help warehouse managers maximize their existing storage space and ultimately add to the bottom line.
Contact us today to learn more about how Vidmar can help you with your storage needs!