Your business is likely to experience times when there just doesn’t seem to be enough storage space for all the product and materials you need. This could be a welcome sign that business is growing, but you still need more volume in your warehouse and storage areas. But buying, building, and even leasing additional warehouse space can be costly. To maximize your floor space, there are some design changes you should try first.
One good rule of thumb in businesses is to stay within 85 percent of total capacity; otherwise the next problem could become a breaking point. The same is true of warehouses and distribution centers. If you’re typically using 85 percent of your storage volume or more, you can run out of room at any time. If you start to see pallets full of product or materials sitting in the aisle because there’s no more room, it’s time to cut back on order quantities and reallocate your storage space.
Inventory that can’t be turned over in the expected time frame can become a problem. Check your order histories, and if you have parts or product that haven’t been used in months or years it’s time to get rid of this obsolete inventory. Often this can amount to waste that the business just doesn’t want to accept. But if it will help lower costs on handling better sellers, you can try returning it to the manufacturer, selling it off, or donating to charity. Even trashing it is better than tying up valuable real estate for years ahead. You can use the space for something more in demand.
Reduce order quantities
Some warehouses can get swamped with excess inventory because some purchasing agent found a great deal on buying a SKU in bulk and ordered way too much. While this saves the company money, when it happens frequently it’s a nightmare for the warehouse manager. Ask your purchasers to arrange for these large orders to be delivered in increments rather than one big load. This should keep your inventory at more reasonable levels.
Many businesses have rapid-turnover items that seem to always be taking up less than 10 percent of the space allocated to them. You can either start ordering more, or if the sales projections aren’t there, such as for seasonal items, consider segmenting those yawning gaps into multiple cubicles in the same area for these low-density SKUs. That way you’ll economize on the space needed, and free up locations to store other goods.
There are many ways to optimize floor space with some material handling organization and equipment. Storage bins that allow you to keep tiny parts or items inside will save space over leaving them in boxes and stacking them on pallets. Look for empty space overhead that can provide additional storage with the introduction of shelving, platforms, or higher pallet racks.
Many companies thrive on sales of certain items during the holidays. This usually requires a flurry of ordering during the weeks prior, and a lot of empty space in the weeks afterward. Instead of wasting all that space for the greater part of the year, consider contracting additional storage you can keep on site during the peak season. This might be temporary aluminum structures, trailers, large portable cubicles, or more. Just be sure they’re secure. Once the holiday rush is over, you can send them back, and in the meantime you have the extra space to accommodate your regular merchandise.
Insufficient storage and cluttered aisles can create confusion, traffic congestion, damaged goods, and safety risks. When any part of your warehouse starts to look cluttered and disorganized, it’s time to strategize on ways to free up floor space.