Warehouse

Do you feel like you just have too much warehouse space? Or maybe you’re worried that the space you have isn’t being used correctly?

Running out of space is a common worry for warehouses, either by having a facility too small for the needs of the warehouse or by using the allocated space improperly. In too many cases, warehouse management starts looking to rent bigger (or additional) warehouse spaces to try and expand, but this can be a costly solution to a problem that can be solved with a little imagination.

Here’s a few ways to consolidate your warehouse space and make the most of the facility you already have:

Remove excess inventory

One of the most common and obvious sources of mishandled warehouse space is an overabundance of inventory. We could spend all day talking about the reasons why this could happen – keeping extras around for replacements/returns, concerns about lead time, stocking up for sales, etc – and many of them are valid ways to manage inventory, but consideration needs to be paid to the overall cost of stocking these items. Review your sales charts to see what hasn’t been moving or shipping lately, find out the cost of these items vs. items that are still active sellers and begin to prune your inventory accordingly. This will go a long way towards freeing up warehouse storage space and give you a chance to reconsider your inventory going forward.

Minimize aisle widths – but prioritize safety

Maintaining proper aisle spacing in a warehouse is something of an art, and there’s always a careful balance to be struck. While wide aisles are a necessity for safe usage of things like forklifts and pallet racks to ensure safe loading and unloading, it is possible that your aisles could be too wide and are hampering productivity and taking up space. Assess your aisle widths throughout the entire facility and look for the areas that don’t need to be too far apart – areas where forklifts rarely travel, or places where the products are set low enough that they’re accessible by humans only – and see where you can compact your aisleways.

Use more vertical space

Many warehouses, particularly in urban areas, are often taller than they are wide, and this vertical space typically goes unused when in reality it can be a huge part of consolidating warehouse space. Install some mezzanines over heavily-trafficked areas of the warehouse to get more workspace and storage capacity even in the most cramped of warehouses – just make sure you’re not bumping into anything while you’re up there.

Optimize product location sizes

Finally, a strategy that gets overlooked more than it should is the optimization of product location sizes. A frequent source of wasted space in warehouses is misallocation of size and space to product locations – think smaller products being given too much space, or overstocked items being crammed into a corner when they could be kept somewhere easier to access. Perform a product slotting analysis on the wire shelving and storage you use in your main storage, forward picking, and reserve storage areas to define a better density for storage. Pallets can be stacked closer together, products can be moved onto bigger or smaller storage options as needed, and doing a better overall job tailoring your product locations can help you condense space in ways that can change how your whole warehouse operates.

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