Warehouse spacing is one of the toughest jobs to do. Even though supply chain managers spend a considerable amount of time figuring out what to place and where not everyone manages to do is the right way. As per the research conducted by the Wall Street Journal, there was a huge demand for warehouse spaces in the US back in 2019. In fact, it was one of the most talked-about markets and the buzz lasted for a while.
As warehousing and freight handling become more important, it is necessary for the supply chain leaders to optimize their existing space and maximize storage. Adding new spaces isn’t the best option always. What we suggest is to assess the underlying storage and strategize the positioning of the products in a way that leads to optimal utilization.
For example, suppose that a package of size 3×3 is packed to be stored in a location. So the area should correspond to the said size. Placing a 3×3 container in a bin location of siE 4×4 would only account for wastage of space. This is why it is important to strategize the positioning of goods at the best location.
Tips To Maximize Warehouse Space Utilization
- Outline The Total Space
The first thing to do is to make sure that you have the exact idea of the space. It is important to note what the total space to move ahead with optimization is. Remember that not every building or location would have the same height. So, it is important for you to keep track of the spaces and know in detail about the storage. The formula used to calculate the storage space is:
(square feet) x (feet of clear height) = (cubic warehouse feet)
This will give you insights about the hidden space that you might have missed when placing the goods mindlessly.
- Readjusting Vertical Height
Have you considered adjusting the vertical spacing between the product and the next rack?
Well, if you haven’t, then it’s time that you pay heed to the same. As a best practice, it is important to leave a maximum of 6inches space between the product placed on the rack and the top beam, next to it. If your warehouse has products stacked in a way that they have much more vertical space, then you need to plan and realign the products.
It is important to have minimal space between the racks so as to ensure that the storage is utilized optimally.
- Increase The Vertical Height
Expanding your warehouse horizontally might not be feasible but as long as you do not defy the building codes, adding more vertical space wouldn’t be a problem. Increasing the vertical space would require clearance, approval from the government, and a budget. If you are ok with these, you can easily expand your storage.
- Replace Tins, Totes with Containers
Traditionally, supply chain managers place items within totes, pallets, and tins. The problem here is that these aren’t of the exact size of the items within. Even if you use metal or plastic containers, they might not be of the right size, creating the impression that they are packed with hefty items.
The best thing that you need to do is to find the right container. Remember, there isn’t any one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, using the same container would account for space wastage. Pack your items in containers that are fit for the products and not otherwise.
- Adopt a library-style approach
Before we get into the depth of library-style stacking, it is important to understand what that means. Library-style packing means placing the right product in the right place. Imagine putting a lighter product at a rack designed to accommodate heavy items. This is why you must have a holistic view of styling your warehouse.
- Follow the 80-20 rule
As said, 80% of the time is spent on working over 20% of the task. Now how is this applicable with respect to the warehouse management system? Irrespective of the type of products your warehouse incorporates, there would be a group of products that are most popular with the maximum probability of sales. It is important to keep them at the front so as to prevent rummaging around the warehouse to locate them. Keep track of the product velocity and relocate the ones in demand to utilize productive space effectively.
- Reduce Aisle Widths
Similar to the racking height, there lies a possibility of reducing the distance between the aisles within your warehouse. Standard spacing between aisles is around 10.5 inches. However, this space can be reduced to 5-7 inches and this would never hinder your travel space. Whether it is your manual labors or the narrow forklifts, they can swiftly move across the aisles.
The Final Word
Knowing different ways to increase your warehouse storage space, the first thing you need to do is evaluate your existing storage space and then decide the next step. Start with calculating the current space utilization score. The ideal range is 22%-28%. A score below 22 suggests poor layout and a score of 28% creates an impression of denser space.
Depending upon your score, you can take significant steps to utilize the storage space and boost productivity.