Every company that uses warehouse storage is keen to maximise its space in order to store the most product. Below we’ve outlined five effective ways of creating more storage space in your warehouse.
- Rearrange Your Pallet Racking
One top tip is to avoid having aisles that are wider than necessary. You will need to find out what the limits and requirements of your Material Handling Equipment (MHE) are, in order to decide on aisle width. You will need to assess whether you need additional space for personnel to pass one another, or for MHE to move and turn. WSL designers are happy to advise on the optimum aisle width for your situation. Double up your racking so it is back to back and ensure that each aisle serves two sets of shelves or racks (aisle spaces next to a wall create wasted space.) Storing produce across the length of your warehouse, rather than the width, can allow you many extra metres of space per tier. In the examples below, using shelving in a small, 12 x 6 metre room as an example of space saving solutions, we can see that placing the shelves across the length of the room rather than the width has created an extra six metres of space for each level.It can take some time and effort to analyse and rearrange heavy duty racking, but in a large warehouse a better system could mean hundreds of additional pallets. Make sure that you are not wasting area by storing small pallets in areas that are deeper than necessary – think about whether you can use narrower racks. This is especially an issue if you store very long items such as tubes or timber. If you have different depths of product, then it is worth investing in varying depths of racking. Storing 3m product on 4m deep racking is a big waste of space over a large area.
- Build upwards
It is always a good idea to utilise the entire height of your building. This may mean investing in more specialised MHE to help with loading and unloading pallets, but this can be seen as an investment as you can vastly increase your storage area. A facility like narrow aisle racking, accessed using a VNA truck running along rail or wire systems, means that you can make aisles up to 50% narrower, while at the same time creating extremely tall storage racking.
If you pick and pack smaller items (rather than whole pallets), then other options, such as multi tier storage might be worth investigating. In this case, a secure platform and stair system is created, whereby personnel can easily reach items that are two or three stories up.
There are also overhead crane systems available, which allow pallets to be moved by more complex computerised or mechanised systems, without the need for any vehicles. Building extra high racking means extra safety measures and inspections will need to be put in place, as well as the expense of specialised handling equipment; but it can reap huge benefits in terms of the extra space you can gain. If you double the height of your racking, you can compare the expense to buying or renting a warehouse that is double the floor space!
- Build a Mezzanine Floor
This is a more involved project, but one which can hugely increase your storage area. WSL have experts skilled in designing, manufacturing and installing mezzanines. Pallet gates and goods lifts allow you to transport large amounts of goods onto the mezzanine floor where they can be moved and accessed using a manual pump truck. This also means that in most cases, basic equipment will be sufficient rather than having to purchase specialist cranes and other MHE. In addition, a Mezzanine can be extremely beneficial if you split pallets in order to pick and pack products individually. A system of conveyors can be put in place, where personnel working on the mezzanine floor can send goods down to colleagues on the main floor, creating a very efficient fulfilment and distribution centre.
- Consider Specialised Storage Solutions
Double deep racking allows you to store pallets two deep which is especially useful where you are storing one product type in bulk, meaning that having half your product trapped behind another is not problematic. It involves the use of specialist MHE, but massively reduces the need for aisle space.
Another possible storage solution is powered mobile racking. This is ideal for storage of products that don’t need regular access. These mobile racks are on tracks and can be moved electronically. Seeing this on a smaller scale, in our 12 x 6m room, the 67m of shelving from figure 3 is increased to 100m of shelving using a mobile shelving system!
- Manage Good Inventory
Space can be made by ensuring that you are not storing goods that you don’t really need – large amounts of excess goods for example, or goods that are no longer selling well. Consider whether selling off unpopular goods at a reduced price could be beneficial, in order to be able to store more of the products that are selling well. Make sure that you are not wasting space by storing things that you do not really need.
For more information on increasing your storage space with improved storage solutions, call WSL today on 0113 204 5350.