How to Store More in Less Space: Smart Solutions You Can Use

How to Store More in Less Space: Smart Solutions You Can Use

By Tom Jameson, President

Let’s start this review of time & money-saving storage solutions by reviewing the persuasive reasons for storing as much material as possible in the maximum amount of floor space you have available.

First, of course, you’re already paying for every square foot of your current warehouse or distribution center. With rent, construction costs, interest, etc., these expenses represent a substantial part of your operations budget.

Figure 1

Plus, your facility also consumes a sizeable sum each year in utilities and maintenance expenses, not to mention city, county and state taxes. This means, to the extent that you can manage to store more merchandise, parts, equipment or supplies within the walls of your current building, your operating efficiency goes UP because your cost per transaction goes DOWN.

How to Spot Facility Efficiency Problems

Okay, so how do you evaluate the relative productivity of your warehouse operation? Here’s a list of questions to get your thinking headed in the right direction:

Figure 2
  1. Dead, outdated inventory – This problem is easy to identify. old stuff stashed in out-of-the- way corners and covered with a thick layer of dust because no one’s touched it for a couple of years or more. Question is: how soon can you sell it for what you can get or throw it out to make room for profitable materials?
  2. Pallet Storage – Do you have the most efficient racking type for your product lines? Is it properly installed to maximize usable floorspace? How many pallets can you store in a given area? How quickly and accurately are your pickers able to pull orders?
  3. Shelving Storage – Same questions as pallet Storage above.
  4. Overhead Space – What is your facility clear height? How much of your current clear height is used for material storage? How much holds nothing but costly air?
  5. Access Aisles – Do size and orientation of your access aisles aid – or impede – your picking operation? Does aisle plan maximize storage space available?
  6. Small Parts Storage – There are many specialized storage tools for small parts that can make a huge difference in storage and picking efficiency. Are you using the most appropriate shelving for your lines?
  7. Office Space – Are warehouse personnel wasting time because there’s insufficient office space dedicated to warehouse operations? How can you increase productivity without knocking out walls and constructing expensive building extensions?
  8. Off-Site Storage – Are you storing overflow materials in a building other than your main warehouse or distribution center? If so, this is a sure sign you’re probably paying more than should to accomplish your operational mission. The same applies to overflow storage in trailers, mini storage facilities, etc. Have you considered all feasible internal solutions?

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How to Store More in Less Space: Smart Solutions You Can Use

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