Developing an effective approach to warehouse storage is part science, part art. In some ways, you are limited by the actual physical amount of space that your warehouse provides. Nevertheless, there are many creative ways to not only maximize that space, no matter how small, but also to maximize efficiency.
If you are struggling with warehouse storage techniques, take a step back and consider whether your specific needs may require you to shift the way you use the space. Your goals will dictate the exact measures that should be taken to improve your use of warehouse space. Still, there are some general concepts to keep in mind.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to maximize your warehouse storage space:
1. Are We Going Vertical?
Stacking inventory and making use of as much of the vertical space in your warehouse as possible is a crucial way to increase the amount of merchandise your warehouse can hold. If there is a large amount of empty air between the storage mechanisms and the ceiling, chances are you are not using your warehouse’s vertical space to your advantage.
According to storage solutions company, Stanley Vidmar, truly utilizing vertical space means using the space above docks, cross aisles, work and pick areas, loads and anywhere else empty air exists.
Another benefit to going vertical is workers may have an easier and safer time navigating the warehouse facility. Because there will be less inventory cluttering the ground floor area, the warehouse will feel more organized and a worker will have a clearer path.
2. Do We Really Need This Much Inventory?
QC Software, which provides warehouse control solutions, suggested minimizing the inventory actually kept on site. To do so, you will need to keep careful records of how your inventory is used. That way, you will be able to accurately predict how much you will need to have on hand at any given time and can get rid of excess inventory that is taking up valuable space.
3. Is Our Storage Equipment the Problem?
It is possible the equipment you are using to store and organize your inventory is not allowing you to utilize your warehouse space in the most effective way. Make sure the slots and racks you use are the best options based on the sizes of your specific inventory. Storage equipment should be chosen based on what can best accommodate the most amount of inventory.
4. Are the Products Organized in a Logical Way?
The Houston Chronicle’s small business section discussed how greater efficiency can be achieved when similar products are all stored in the same area. Employees will have an easier time finding products if they are sensibly grouped together.
5. Are We Using Up-to-date Technology to Help Us Stay Organized?
There are so many technology-enhanced solutions out there meant to help you manage your inventory and warehouse. Taking the time to research the various options available will benefit you immensely in the long run.
As explained by third-party logistics provider, Kenco, warehouse management technology can help companies accomplish the following (and more):
- Save money on operations
- Better track the location of the inventory
- Increase knowledge of inventory usage to help suppliers make production plans
- Increase order accuracy
- More effectively distribute labor
6. Have We Thought About the Future?
If you are planning to reconfigure your warehouse storage strategies, it is vital to consider whether or not your needs will shift in the future so you can account for these changes when implementing improvements.
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