Fighting the Space Invaders in Your Warehouse
Space is always a premium in warehousing and storage. Over time it’s easy for the space invaders to creep in and take up valuable space that could be put to much better use. This article features a few things you can do to maximize that space and reduce the impact of those pesky invaders.
The 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of your activity will come from 20 percent of your products or SKUs. Grouping your most active slot locations in the most logical facility locations will result in dramatic productivity increases, reduced operational expenses and enhanced employee satisfaction.
Clean floor space
Tour your facility. Do you have obsolete inventory or equipment that is no longer of use? Get rid of it. If you need to stow items for potential later use, consider storing them at an outside location. Keeping these items in your facility eats up valuable vertical space that you could be using for inventory.
It sounds elementary: You need only six inches of space between the top of stored product and the beam above for forklift interaction. Yet many companies we’ve observed allow much more than that. Two inches of underutilized space may not sound like much, but multiply two inches by 1,000 pallet positions and the volume quickly adds up to a big waste of space.
If you have dedicated slotting, do you have the correct beam for what you are storing? If you need a six-inch beam and you are using an eight-inch beam, you can recognize significant increases in pallet positions by switching to the proper beam size.
Mezzanines make excellent options for items like supplies, small parts and equipment, and warehouse offices. Anything that is not being moved by forklifts or other equipment can be housed in mezzanines.
Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) application
We know companies that more than doubled their warehouse capacity by converting to a VNA application. It cut down dramatically on long runs by forklifts; saved tens of thousands of dollars in warehouse space acquisition, heating and cooling; and greatly improved the efficiency of their operation. With VNAs, we commonly are able to improve capacity by more than 40 percent without expanding a customer’s warehouse by a single inch.