Warehouse Tips and Tricks: Getting More Space Without Expanding
Warehousing businesses, as well as manufacturers and logistics companies with warehouses, would eventually come across the issue of not having enough space for new inventory. Even with proper planning and having operational growth in mind, there will come a time that all shelves are filled to the brim with inventory, and the notion of expanding the current warehouse, or building a new one, becomes an attractive idea.
However, expanding a warehouse or building a new one can be quite expensive, and ultimately not as cost-effective as maximizing the current warehouse’s storage space. That said, we’ll be taking a look at ways to optimize your warehouse in order to maximize and add warehouse space without expanding.
Study Your Inventory and Operations
Before you invest in any improvements, it’s best to try and figure out why your warehouse is starting to lack space in the first place. There’s a good chance that your warehouse already had operational expansion and growth in mind when it was planned and constructed, so it’s a good idea to take a look at why your warehouse has reached its current capacity. See to it that the issue isn’t simply because of an inventory mishap or undelivered goods. Next, determine how much additional space you need, while also considering and forecasting future needs.
Making use of your warehouse’s vertical space by adding shelves and racks can definitely go a long way in adding more space. However, you’ll need to evaluate if it’s safe to do so properly. You need to take note of the sprinkler system you have in place. Adding racks and shelves may require you to redo your fire suppression system, but it’s a more cost-effective and cheaper alternative than expanding or building a new warehouse. Next, you’ll want to have a structural engineer properly evaluate if it’s structurally possible at all to add racks and other extensions.
When adding racks and shelves, you’ll need to have safe and sturdy stair ladders in order to have access to goods stored at higher levels. Consider having an industrial stair ladder instead of a stairwell as it takes up much less space. Your ladders should have handrails and utilize slip-proof material to ensure the safety of your warehouse workers. Additionally, you’ll also want to have lifting equipment to aid in the storage and retrieval of goods at higher levels.
Minimize Aisle Width to Maximize Space
Reducing the width of your warehouse’s aisles can be a bit tricky, but it can free up a lot of space. Make sure that the reduction in aisle width can still allow for enough space for your handling equipment and vehicles. If reducing the aisle width restricts or compromises efficiency and safety, then it may not be the best option.
Use Your Trailers and Vehicles
This may not be a permanent solution, but during peak seasons and additional space is needed, you can make use of your truck trailers as a temporary place to store goods that your warehouse can no longer accommodate. Just make sure that your warehouse staff is instructed to take note of the temporary storage space to prevent issues in tracking goods that are stored in them.
Many warehouse offices are located on the ground level, restricting the use of vertical space within the area occupied by the office. However, adding a mezzanine office (or lunchroom, etc.) can save you a lot of space, and allow you to store more items and equipment in the space below the office.
Maximizing storage space is definitely a cheaper and more practical option than expanding your warehouse or building a new one, so take note of these space-saving-and-adding optimizations in order to achieve it.