Distribution centres and warehouses are constantly battling the challenge of maximizing their internal space while keeping costs at bay. There is always this temptation of storing more goods without increasing warehouse costs. Another challenge is to store goods in a manner that they can be located and moved around easily.
This article takes a keen look at maximizing warehousing space in a manner that costs are kept low, and goods are accessed and moved around effortlessly. If you are a warehouse manager, you need to categorize goods based on their shipping frequency. Just 20% of all the warehouse goods are responsible for 80% of all the movements. It is evident that to maximize space; one has to focus on the top 20% of the goods. This is how you can maximize your storage space while giving major priority to the items that you stock and relocate frequently.
This is one of the more inexpensive ways to optimize space in your warehouse. You can use your unused extra heights to create extra space for storage of goods. Mezzanine floors can be created by using frames made of steel, wood or even concrete. Consider placing lighter materials on this newly created floor.
2. Optimizing aisle space
If your aisle is pretty wide, you could save some space by making it a bit narrower. This can free up some extra space that can be used to store additional materials. Please note that saving on aisle space should not be done at the cost of operational efficiency. Your loaders should be able to move around in the aisle easily.
3. Managing vertical space
While it is expensive to expand your warehouse horizontally, you can still make it bigger by putting higher roofs over your storage facility. If you think there will be fresh demand from your customers shortly and that your warehouse can not be expanded via the ground, you can rebuild your roof. Make your walls taller so that your roof becomes higher.
However, please consult your local construction specialists before going in for this solution. You will also have to look at the strength of your walls. There are companies like AW Structures, which help in managing your vertical warehouse space.
4. Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
Another great way to optimize space is by installing lifters and conveyors. These pieces of equipment altogether remove the need for aisles.
5. Obsolete inventory
Over a period, our warehouses are littered with obsolete inventory. This stuff is useless, and nobody buys it. Some of it may even be ‘returned stock’. To maximize your space, you may consider removing it altogether and replacing it with fast-moving stock.
If your warehouse stores and ships large-sized material, then you may consider drop-shipping as a great space utilization tool. This strategy is particularly useful for retailers who have scarce space and are unable to hold large volumes of material. In drop-shipping, the retailer directs his supplier to transport the goods directly to the consumer. This way, the retailer saves on his space.
7. Creating additional storage space
Sometimes, the shipping and landing areas are not well utilized. Creating dock doors above these areas can create additional storage space.
8. Location advantages
If there are multiple locations where you are storing your goods, then it helps in consolidating all those sites. This way, you not only optimize your space, but you also save substantial sums of money.
In this technique, distributors sort their stock depending upon their demand. For example, goods that are to be transported quickly will be loaded on transport rather than being stored inside the warehouse. Cross-docking, besides being inexpensive, is also a tricky exercise.