There’s nothing worse than when inventory arrives, and you haven’t got room to store it. Pallets piling up and obstructing walkways do nothing for a smooth operating business.
Congested warehouses lead to a disordered way of working. When new items arrive, you have to scramble to find space for them. Your other inventory becomes harder to find too. Staff feel stressed, and you waste time unnecessarily.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you prioritise organisation, warehouse optimisation will be a recurring issue. This is because businesses grow, inventory changes and working habits evolve, which means your storage needs will change.
When is it time to rethink warehouse storage?
Supply and demand change
Supply chains can be fickle. As much as you can predict demand and plan for supply, there’s always a chance of over-ordering or old inventory stagnating. This wouldn’t be an issue if you had the warehouse storage to accommodate an increase of stock, but it poses problems if you don’t. So if you’ve noticed a change in inventory levels and are struggling with space, it’s time to rethink your storage.
Poor warehouse storage layout
No matter how well you are at warehouse management, you will encounter industrial storage problems if your storage isn’t optimised. Warehouse needs change, too, so what once worked perfectly may no longer serve the business.
Here are a few common problems:
- Underutilised space (not building up, wide aisles)
- Poor pallet racking design (not suitable for inventory type)
- Inaccessibility (Not using the first-in, first-out method)
- Poor warehouse management and systems
Don’t get us wrong, growth is definitely not a bad problem, but it means you can run out of space. Don’t jump the gun and move warehouses, though. It’s best to avoid a disruptive and stressful move if you can. There are other less expensive ways to optimise storage space first.
How to maximise warehouse storage
1. Identify warehouse storage problem
The first step to optimising your warehouse space is identifying why you’re running out of room. As we lay out above, there could be many reasons, e.g. if you know you’re going through a growth period and it looks like it’s going to continue, you will need to increase your storage space considerably. On the other hand, perhaps it’s more of an access issue. Once you identify the problem, you can find an appropriate solution.
2. Look for ‘dead’ space
When we inspect warehouses to recommend solutions, we often find dead space – areas not utilised, including corners where empty boxes or loose tools are stored haphazardly or whole walls without industrial shelving. Identifying the ‘dead space’ around your workplace is an easy way of maximising space.
3. Take a look at your aisle space
Dead space goes beyond forgotten corners sometimes, it’s the space you don’t consider. A common culprit is the warehouse aisle. Shallow storage may give you more room to move around but decreases the amount of inventory you can store. Instead, you could extend your pallet racking to take up more floor space without obstructing equipment or walkways.
4. Consider storing up with mezzanine racking
Make the most out of your space with mezzanine floors. A mezzanine floor is a raised storage area and semi-permanent floor above ground. This warehouse storage option can give you up to 50% more storage – it’s pretty miraculous. Of course, mezzanine racking will depend on your specific warehouse set-up, but it’s worth considering.
5. Consider a change of storage system
Has inventory changed? If so, you may need to invest in alternative storage racking systems. For example, if you’ve upped your inventory of a particular product, double-deep racking may be an option. Double-deep racking stores items two pallets deep, doubling your industrial storage in a single area. It also improves accessibility by storing similar items together.
6. Install smaller industrial storage systems
It’s not all about heavy items. Your space issues may be more about finding a place to keep smaller things that accumulate around the warehouse or workshop. This could include long span shelving for easy access or upright shelving. There are many industrial storage options to consider.
Whatever your storage problem, Global Industrial can solve it. Get in touch today.