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Enhance Your Manufacturing Process With Improved Inventory Control
Practical steps can be taken to improve how inventory is managed within your manufacturing facility, and with careful analysis of your business model, WSL can help you determine the best solution for your operation. We will take time to understand the whole process infrastructure of your facility, including the building layout, equipment, accessibility and material flow whilst considering the nature of your inventory, including weight, size, volume, shelf life and frequency of use. Using this information, we can create bespoke solutions, carefully designed to ensure all these collaborative aspects are supported throughout the process.
Location Of Storage Areas
Whilst a proportion of your facility is dedicated to storage, where these areas of storage are located is crucial to the production process. Depending on the manufacturing method, the scale of the operation and volume of items produced, many facilities have storage areas in various places throughout the facility to keep materials secure and close to where they are needed. This enables fast and effective access and retrieval to assist a smooth flow and eliminate delays and disruption.
Many manufacturing facilities use industrial shelving to store the non-palletized items required during the production process, however there is a number of different types of shelving:
- Short Span Shelving – Simple, cost effective storage for light weight products the system consists of thin steel uprights and the use of drop in shelves. Multitudes of accessories are available such as; louvre panels, mesh decks, garment rails & many more.
- Long Span Shelving – Strong and flexible, it is essentially a small version of pallet racking. This is a fantastic cost effective way to store light to medium weighted goods, ideal for picking and packing.
- Garment Hanging – Rather than shelves, a tubular beam is used to suit the placement of hangers to store clothing
- Carton Live Shelving – Great system for the first-in first-out picking method. This is a deep storage where shelves are replaced by a bed of rollers so that stock can move steadily to the front ready to be picked. Picking times can be reduced by up to 80% when utilised correctly.
- Multi-Tier Shelving – Ideal for high demand picking with a good vertical space the system uses integrated walkways between each row of shelving for fast, easy access to stock.
- Mobile Shelving – Useful where space is limited and the stock is a low access frequency.
- Office Mezzanine Floor – Installing a mezzanine floor to be used as office space, will free up space bellow for storage and production.
- Storage Mezzanine Floor – Ideal where there is a requirement for additional storage such as shelving with limited floor space but has efficient vertical space. A mezzanine floor can provide the floor space to install the shelving without having any effect on the ground floor operations.
- Multi Tier Mezzanine Floor – Where vertical space is plentiful, a multi tier mezzanine floor allows you to implement storage and offices using multiple levels. This saves valuable ground floor space to be used for the main operation.
Material Handling & Storage
A structure which allows you to store palletised items above floor level and depending on the size, weight and composition of your items, there will be a pallet racking system to suit your specific requirements. The most common types are:
- Wide Aisle Racking – Popular in warehouses across the UK this standard pallet racking system gives clear access to all stock and is suitable for suitable for goods that require 100% selectivity.
- Narrow Aisle Racking – High density storage whilst using narrow aisles. Narrow aisle racking is also less susceptible to damages (When a wire guidance system is used). Narrow aisle racking tends to fully utilise the height of the building, with some systems been in excess of 16 meters tall.
- Drive In & Drive Through Racking – Cost effective bulk storage for high stock commonality. Can be set up in either first in first out (FIFO) or First in last out (FILO) configuration.
- Pallet Live Racking/ Pallet Flow – Great for perishable goods as rotational movement is automatically achieved as it operates using the FIFO (First in First out) method. More expensive than drive in racking, but allows for quicker movements of goods
- Pushback Racking –Although restrictive of access to individual items, this enables a good speed of product access with very high density storage. Suitable for none perishable inventory as it works on the First in/Last out basis.
- Radio Shuttle Racking – High density storage where pallets are accessed by radio controlled shuttle. Cutting edge technology, radio shuttle has the added advantage of been a “flagship” storage solution.
- Powered Mobile Racking – Pallet racking fixed onto a mobile footing which can be moved to access the aisles enabling 90% of floor space to be used as storage. The most condensed storage solution, it can vastly reduce the footprint of warehousing space in your building. This system is often utilised in cold stores as inventory is condensed within the cubic foot of air that required cooling. Powered mobile can also add a level of security, as closed racks prevent access & therefore goods being stolen
- Cantilever Racking – A very versatile and robust structure which uses cantilever arms rather than racking bays to allow the safe secure storage of particularly large, bulky or long loads. Cantilever racking is a cost effective, easy to adjust, and can be used for external storage.
Your Viable Inventory Plan
Make the best use of the space in your storage areas –During the design process our primary focus is ensuring effective use of all available space within your facility. Achieving optimal use of every square foot maximizes space utilization, allowing you to store more items, safely and effectively whilst preventing you from running out of places to store your material. There are a number of ways to increase storage capacity and here are a few things to consider.
Reduce Aisle Width – Reducing the width of your aisle will allow you to increase the number of pallets you can store. Depending on how much the width is reduced to, you can increase your storage space by 20-50%, however this is only possible with the use of specialist narrow-aisle forklift trucks.
Use Your Space Vertically – When looking up, is there sufficient space between the ceiling and the top of your racks? If the answer is yes then there may be an opportunity to extend your racks vertically. High racking may require high reaching specialist trucks, however WSL can assess the capabilities of your current plant and supply storage solutions tailored to fully utilise the reach and capacity of your MHE.
Install Mezzanine Floors – Create extra usable space with an additional floor or even multiple additional floors. Mezzanine floors are a cost effective way of increasing storage capacity without expanding the footprint of the building. Moving light-weight production and assembly operations onto a mezzanine allows for storage of heavy items on ground level space – increasing capacity and reducing interactions between personnel and plant: increasing safety.
Double the depth of racking – Reconfiguring your racks so pallets are stored back to back can double your storage capacity. This requires a lot of products being stored in the area to be the same in order to work – however, if you have the kind of operation that stores a high number of non-aging raw materials; this could be for you.
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