One of the biggest challenges for distribution center managers is finding enough available space within the walls of the building. While the space may have been sufficient at one point, growth and product and customer mix may require a different use of space or more space altogether. Available space and utilization of that space is a major concern for many warehouse managers and can affect throughput, workflow efficiencies, and workforce morale.
As your operation grows, available space becomes more challenging. Without the option to relocate to a larger space or expand your current square footage, space is at a premium. How you use the space you have is even more important. While it may seem like you tried everything to expand the use of your current space, there may be some tables left unturned. For new ideas regarding warehouse space optimization, check out these four helpful tips and techniques.
Invest in the Right Pallet Rack System Layout
Simply having storage space is not a solution. The storage space must be properly organized to ensure the space is used to its fullest potential.
Be sure your rack system design aligns with the inventory and material you are storing and moving. Whether you are storing at a pallet level or carton level, customizing your rack design for overall material flow will ensure the maximum available space for the inventory you have. Pay close attention to your storing and retrieval process. Racking systems and layouts are determined not only by the products you are moving but also by how often they rotate or move. Fast movers should be easily accessible without disruption or risk associated with forklift traffic or long travel times. Store lighter inventory at higher levels and heavy loads toward the floor level for easy and safe access. Rack system layouts that include double-deep racks, as an example, optimize your space and offer access from both sides.
A pallet rack system designed specifically for your space and material will ensure you are getting the most from your available square footage. At DAK Solutions, we’ve helped optimize warehouse and distribution center layouts that have the most challenging spaces and material flow requirements. You can be confident that our experts can solve your space challenges using modern, practical solutions.
Consider Using Work Platforms
Much of the unused space in warehouses is airspace. Using work platforms is an easy and cost-effective approach to adding space.
Using work platforms takes advantage of your vertical space. Work platforms are versatile and allow you to add a second level for increased storage or production, placing a conveyor, or increasing space for accumulation.
Platforms are very adaptable to individual warehouse space and layouts. Since every operation is unique, platforms have the advantage of being customizable, as you can design them around existing structural components like walls, columns, ventilation, walkways, etc. Stairs and lift gates can be placed where appropriate.
Increase Storage Space With the Right Shelving or Rack System
Another great way to take advantage of your warehouse space is to invest in the right shelving and rack systems for your operation.
Whether you are storing material or picking orders, the right size shelving or racking makes a difference. As an example, for small parts picking in a manual system environment, shelving is the most practical system offering ergonomic environments for your workforce and more SKUs per station. Shelving is typically “in-reach” and supports a safe, comfortable work area. However, picking or moving cartons, totes, or pallets requires a very different racking system.
Selective Pallet Rack
Selective pallet racks are an efficient option to use the space while providing easy access by forklifts and pallet jacks. They provide the best mix of storage capacity and product access available.
Double-Deep Pallet Rack
By placing a second row of selective pallet racks immediately behind the first row, we create double deep pallet racks. This eliminates the need for an aisle between two storage racks and saves up to 65 percent of the available floor space. Double deep systems require deep-reach lift trucks.
A push-back rack is a high-density storage solution. Offering a similar storage density to a drive-in rack, push-back pallet rack systems offer better selectivity and accessibility to a wider range of SKUs.
Drive-in pallet racks are a unique storage solution. Loads are densely stored in lanes several positions deep, and lift equipment actually enters the rack structure in order to store and retrieve them. Drive-in racks are ideally suited to operations where a large quantity of relatively few products is stored.
Pallet Flow Rack
A first-in, first-out, high-density storage system, pallet flow racks are an ideal solution if you need to increase the number of pallet positions and keep the ability to rotate stock.
Carton Flow Rack
Carton flow racks are a first-in, first-out order picking solution that are powered by gravity. A carton flow system is designed for loose cartons or split cases. When compared to static pick systems, this solution can save up to 75 percent in labor costs.
A cantilever rack is a storage solution that has load-bearing arms anchored by a large column at one end or in the center. Unlike most rack systems, this leaves the picking face unimpeded by structural elements. Cantilever racks are ideal for long or bulky items such as furniture, appliances, flooring, lumber, tubing, textiles, and piping.
A pallet shuttle system is the densest storage solution, perfect for operations that require high levels of flexibility. This system is our solution to tough challenges that combine high productivity and dense storage. Pallet shuttle systems excel when it comes to high-density storage and automated rearranging and retrieval of pallets.
Contact DAK Solutions
One of the most effective warehouse space optimization tips is to contact our warehouse optimization experts at DAK Solutions. We can help create space where you need it. We take every step toward optimizing your warehouse and ensure the design and material solution aligns with your business requirements and material flow processes.
We are an extension of the team at our clients’ operations. Every operation is unique and comes with a set of challenges. Call us today for more information on the best and most effective industrial warehouse solutions.
These are the top four helpful tips and techniques on warehouse space organization to follow. Contact us for more information, and learn how we can help your distribution center reach its full organizational potential.