10 Questions That Will Determine If You need to Up Your Warehouse Solutions Strategy and Rent a Larger Storage Facility

//10 Questions That Will Determine If You need to Up Your Warehouse Solutions Strategy and Rent a Larger Storage Facility

warehouse solutions

 

Did you know your storage facility is a good indicator of your business growth? Not having enough storage space to house an overwhelming number of product is a sign that demand has gone up.

While this is reason to celebrate, continuing to operate in a now-cramped warehouse hinders business growth, possibly even reversing it—due to slower work performance, an unorganized warehouse, and clutter, which makes retrieval harder.

This is but one example in which your business needs to up its warehouse solutions strategy and rent a larger storage facility. Answer these 10 questions to see if relocation is a viable option for you.

1. Do You Have Available Free Space?

Leaving a percentage of your warehouse empty is needed to account for future business growth, as you need more available storage space when sales go up. Not having available space is a telling sign that:

  • Sales may not be up—instead, you did not account for future business growth, never setting aside free space in the first place
  • Sales may have stalled—product is not going in or out of the warehouse facility and stays on the shelves longer
  • Sales may be up—the space you set aside for future business growth is now full

In either of these situations, it is best to look through logs to determine how much product is coming in and out of the warehouse, and at what rate.

If the logs show items are moving through the warehouse faster than usual—in addition to not have available storage space—you may need to look at optimizing your warehouse to free up existing space or leasing a larger facility.

2. Do You Have a Mezzanine Office and/or a Modular Inplant Office?

A mezzanine office creates a second level, freeing up space on the ground floor and overhead. While a modular inplant office is flexible and allows for future expansion.

Both are storage optimizing options that up a business’ warehouse solutions strategy and create space you did not realize you have. In this sense, you may not need to move to a larger storage facility but reconfigure your existing space.

3. Is Product Impeding Warehouse Aisles?

The first indication of needing to optimize your space or move to a larger facility is not having more free space to house product. The second, and more urgent of the two, is when product sits in aisles.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “improper stacking of products” is one of the potential hazards that could injure workers.[1] Plus, product in the middle of entry and exit routes are considered a fire hazard. Safety is top priority. For that reason, aisles always need to be kept clear.

4. Are Lift Trucks Having Trouble Retrieving Product?

Standard sit-down lift trucks need at least 12 feet of aisle space for right-angle stacking functions. If lift trucks are having trouble retrieving product, the aisle space could be too tight, with additional (unnecessary) maneuvering needed to access it. However, cramming items on top of one another could lead to overhang issues, which is a sign that you need to optimize your space or move to a larger warehouse

5. Are Managers Able to Observe and Help Warehouse Employees?

Ineffective storage practices and not enough storage space makes it difficult for managers to oversee warehouse activity. If a warehouse employees needs assistance, managers may take longer to provide it—simply because they were not able to see the employee. If this is the case, it is time to install a mezzanine or modular inplant office to maximize space and improve management capabilities.

6. Is Work Performance Slower?

Too many items and not enough storage clutters a warehouse and slows retrieval methods. Employees may have a slower time locating product and taking it to the loading dock for shipment. Because of slow work performance, shipping times will be affected—and slower shipping times means unhappy clients, potentially resulting in a decrease in profit.

To improve work performance and shipping times, aisles need to be cleared, items stored in their proper location, and cross-docking and batch picking methods used. If you are in a storage facility that cannot facilitate this, it may be time to start looking for a larger facility.

7. Is Your Workforce Unhappy?

Because of crowding and clutter, your workforce will not be able to perform their duties at an optimum level. Continually working in a cluttered environment where they are not able to “give it their all” could dampen employees’ mood.

According to research, multiple items in your field of vision compete for your attention at the same time, which decreases performance and increases stress.[2]

Assess if clutter is the cause for employee dissatisfaction and determine if you need to relocate to a larger storage space or optimize your existing facility.

8. Are Shipping Times Slower?

Shipping times depend on how fast product can be processed, and come on and off the shipping trucks. Not enough space to store product may lead to employees trying to fit it in any space they can find, which leads to clutter and disorganization.

As mentioned, employees take up time trying to find product that should be stored in their proper place. Slow shipping times could also be due to not cross-docking or batch-picking items or ineffectively using equipment—like material lifts. It is important to evaluate why shipping times are slow to see if you need to optimize your space or relocate.

9. Are You Meeting Local Business Codes?

An ineffective warehouse design and layout, or too much product, may result in improper stacking. Product that is not 18 feet below the sprinklers violates local business code, which could result in hefty fines or legal ramifications. Code violation is a serious matter; we recommend that you redesign, optimize or relocate in order to meet it.

10. Is Batch Picking Ineffective?

Batch picking items for multiple orders cuts down on time and improves work performance. Which is why something may be up if batch picking methods are not facilitating load times. It could be that, in trying to retrieve multiple common items, warehouse employees are taking a longer time to find them because the warehouse is disorganized.

Re-evaluate your batch picking methods to see if disorganization is the culprit. If so, it may be time to rethink your warehouse solutions and look into upgrading to a larger facility.

Final Thoughts: It Comes Down to Assessing Your Warehouse Solutions Strategy

Your storage facility should work for you. It should consistently allow you to provide customers with consistent fast shipping times and help you increase profitability. When lift trucks are having trouble accessing product, batching picking methods are ineffective, and product is blocking aisles, you need to evaluate your warehouse solutions strategy.

If you already have a mezzanine office or modular inplant office, proper storage equipment, and a good warehouse layout, it could be a sign you need to move to a larger warehouse storage facility. On the other hand, if you don’t have these, you may simply need to install them to maximize your warehouse solutions strategy.

Have questions or comments about warehouse solutions, utilization, or optimization? How did you know you need to upgrade to a larger warehouse space? Leave a comment!

Summary

  • Not having enough warehouse space could be a good indicator of business growth
  • However, there are other reasons why space is not available such as not product sitting on the shelves.
  • Look at your logs to see if product is moving at an above-average rate. If so, your business is growing and you may need to find a larger storage space to house the product surplus
  • Mezzanine offices free up space in the overhead and on the ground floor
  • Modular inplant offices are a flexible warehouse solution
  • Both optimize storage space and are great add-ons, upping your warehouse solutions strategy
  • If you don’t have them in your warehouse, installing them may be a simple fix for your warehouse storage troubles
  • If you have them, perhaps it is time to think of relocation
  • Product that sits in the middle of aisles is a warehouse hazard according to OSHA
  • This is an urgent fix; instead of improperly stacking items in aisles, consider evaluating your warehouse or possibly relocating it
  • Too much product could cause crowding, which could lead to overhang issues. These issues, as well as other factors like too-narrow aisles, makes it harder for lift trucks to retrieve product
  • Not enough space for product means managers may not be able to oversee the warehouse effectively, leading to slower response times in assisting warehouse employees
  • Not being able to find or retrieve items and disorganization leads to slower work performance and unhappy employees
  • Improperly stacking items above the 18-foot limit from ___ to sprinkler violates local business code
  • Batch picking is supposed to increase shipping times. When it is ineffective, disorganization may be to blame

Contact Specialized Storage Solutions to learn how to create space, maximize efficiency, and increase profitability.

 

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[1] OSHA Pocket Guide: Worker Safety Series Warehousing

[2] NCBI: Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex

2019-07-26T07:44:33+00:00