Having space issues with your warehouse? You’re not alone. It’s one of the most common warehouse-management problems and can be a challenge for suppliers and distributors, large and small. Luckily, there are strategies and steps you can take towards solving your warehouse space issues.
Quality warehouse space management doesn’t just make the place look nicer. It plays a vital role in improving the productivity, accessibility, efficiency and safety of your business.
So taking all that into consideration, let’s take a look at our top ten ways to fix your warehouse storage problems.
- Effective warehouse space management will result in increased productivity and better workflow.
- Mezzanines, shelving, palette stacking and raised storage areas are excellent types of storage options.
- Spending money on quality storage options will increase performance and revenue in the long run.
- Most storage options, like mezzanines, can be custom-built for both the area and the needs of your warehouse.
What is effective warehouse space management?
Some of the trademarks of good warehouse management is creating a facility layout that allows procedures to be efficiently achieved by personnel, especially the picking, packing and shipping of products. Good space management can reduce labour costs and make orders easier to process.
Warning signs that you’re running out of warehouse storage space
- Large order backlogs or stock build-ups.
- Cases of items, particularly larger products, are being stored on the floor.
- Equipment, forklifts and employees are being impeded by stock.
- Workers can’t find items in a reasonable amount of time.
- Lost items are becoming increasingly common.
- Bottlenecking happens regularly at unloading areas.
- The rate of missed KPIs isn’t improving or are getting worse.
- There have been accidents or collisions on the warehouse floor.
- There’s no room for further growth.
- Profits suffered a dip along with any of the above.
10 Ways to fix your warehouse storage space problems
Warehouses that reach over 85% capacity can begin to experience issues with congestion which can slow down warehouse operations, worsen working conditions and reduce employee productivity.
Working to improve the space you have means avoiding the labour and cost problems that come with moving to a new location.
Here are some ways to create more space without having to move to a new warehouse…
1. Build a mezzanine floor
One of the best ways to improve any warehouse space problem is by building a mezzanine. Like the addition of another floor to your warehouse, a mezzanine can be used as extra storage space, as separate rooms or an extra working location.
For a storage project like this, it’s worth consulting a qualified engineer to create the perfect mezzanine design for your needs. An industrial mezzanine floor is one of the most effective and versatile methods of solving storage space issues, creating a whole new level for your workspace.
2. Extra Shelving
Shelving – it’s usually the first solution that comes to mind when solving the problem of not having enough storage space. And it’s not hard to see why. With the majority of warehouses having high ceilings, building up is a great way to meet your storage demands. Shelving is custom designed to suit a variety of industries and warehouse spaces. Longspan and RET shelving are both ideal for smaller products and make order-picking a breeze.
3. Build a mezzanine office space
A warehouse office is perfect for every behind-the-scenes task. Being a warehouse manager involves handling payroll and expenses and communicating with customers and clients.
By creating a mezzanine office space, you don’t sacrifice any warehouse storage floor space. Whether you want an office which overlooks the warehouse, is completely separated, or a mix of both, there are a range of options available.
4. Pallet Stacking
Pallet stacking systems are an effective means for businesses that need storage for a large amount of pallets, without taking up much floor space. If your warehouse uses forklifts and pallets, then these are key investments for your workforce planning.
Storing pallets in a disorganised manner is a sure-fire way to waste valuable floor space, and pallet stacking can be custom designed to meet your requirements and warehouse space. The types of pallet stacking include:
5. Make the Most of Underused Floor Space
Have a look at your current layout, and consider if there is any part of your floor space that could be better utilised? A mistake many manufacturers make is not seeing opportunities to increase their storage space.
Underused spaces can become great storage assets with the installation of some shelving, pallet stacking or even a mezzanine. Another great option is a raised storage area, which provides an extra storage level without sacrificing too much floor space.
6. Use Space Efficiently
It’s not just about having extra storage space. It’s how you use it. Store similar-sized items together to avoid the risk of toppling. Along the same lines, keeping similar items and products together will make order picking simpler and quicker. Well-organised stock not only reduces wasted space but it’ll also helps with all warehouse processes, including tracking, receiving and loading items.
7. Re-assess Your Inventory Management
If you’ve noticed a reoccurring problem with inventory levels, it may be time to reevaluate your ordering system. Order management is all about finding a fine balance between ordering enough products to meet demand without over-ordering, especially when considering your supply chain and shipping times.
This will always provide challenges, with demand fluctuations, the value of some items depending on seasonality, industry changes and other issues keeping you on your toes. Also, consider how you keep inventory information. Does it have a high success factor or is it a flawed system that could be improved?
Consider your process as ever-evolving, as being willing to adapt and improve will help you learn from mistakes and keep your stock levels adequate. Everyone makes mistakes, but great managers and employees learn from their errors and improve.
8. Consider Your Warehouse Layout
It’s amazing how many warehouse problems are caused by the poor configuration of the warehouse floor. A great warehouse management system is all about accuracy and getting the little details right. An analysis of your everyday operations will supply invaluable insights into the reasons for your current storage locations. Does this facility layout allow your warehouse staff to reach their full potential, or could a rearrangement help improve warehousing operations and yield better results? Could solutions like more storage spaces, shelving, or a mezzanine help improve your warehouse layout? Perhaps moving office space from the warehouse floor to a mezzanine will give you the room you need for storage.
9. Reduce the Aisle Space Between Shelving
The positioning of your shelving or pallet spaces is key to the optimisation of your warehouse layout. When warehouse managers are considering the right aisle width, it’s all about providing enough room for access and working safely without wasting space.
The required aisle space will depend on the type of daily operations in your company. For example, do you need space for forklifts, or are all your orders done by hand?
10. Train Your Team with Good Work Practices
The combination of daily activities, no matter how big or small, will quickly stack up and have a huge influence on your workplace environment. The organisation is a key factor in the optimisation of your business and warehouse.
For example, are all your packers and pickers on the same page, or is there some redundancy caused by needless repetition and poor storage decisions being made?
Training your warehouse employees on the implementation of better practices, how to use the latest technology for order fulfilment, and the best practices for storage and quality control will help cut down on errors, provide motivation and improve productivity – all while making sure you are making the most of your warehouse space.
Every warehouse is unique, and different environments will need different solutions – making it important to work with experienced and highly qualified engineers.
At Advanced Warehouse Structures, our team has the skills, ability and expertise to solve your storage problems in a number of ways. Our expert team of engineers and our attention to detail during design, manufacturing and installation will lead to the perfect solution for your business.
Get in touch today to discuss your next project.