For those businesses operating in the logistics industry, it’s pretty uncommon to find a warehouse that is already designed to suit your needs. Instead, these businesses often must fit into a space that doesn’t fully suit day-to-day operations. In short, these businesses often utilize buildings that were not specifically designed for them. These buildings often consist of separate rooms with connecting hallways, some retail or warehouse space, random offices, and other inconsistencies. In these cases, learning how to redesign the layout to maximize warehouse capacity is the best solution. Assess some of the following missed opportunities. You might be able to make some changes that improve the efficiency of your operation, streamlining workflow and increasing the morale of your team.
Tip #1: Consider ceiling height.
Have you considered height when designing the layout of your warehouse? Fulfillment and distribution businesses often miss the opportunity to use this space. When considering space to fill with product, most warehouse managers only look to fill the space horizontally. However, you can maximize the cubic storage relative to the ceiling height. Mezzanines, as well as lifts, platforms, and racks, can help you fill this space. Install this new equipment to take advantage of every available inch. Additionally, relocate “single-story” functions within your warehouse, such as picking and packing, out of high-ceiling areas. Instead, use the space more efficiently by racking it for pallet and carton storage.
Tip #2: Install a mezzanine.
In short, mezzanines can help you. As we mentioned above, you should move single-story functions to a lower ceiling space in your facility. However, if pick-and-pack, for example, needs to be located in a high bay area, consider installing a mezzanine. This can increase available space for a second-level pick line or additional product storage. In other circumstances, where office space is limited, a mezzanine may also help. “Stack” offices efficiently in high bay areas. Not only are mezzanine great for utilizing the height in your space, but they are also an economical choice. Most mezzanine systems can be installed quickly and cost-efficiently. What’s more, they can be disassembled and reorganized as your business evolves. In this way, your business is not stuck to a single warehouse layout. Rather, you can move mezzanines around to adapt to new business functions and further improve workflow.
Tip #3: Don’t ignore lighting.
Often overlooked is the lighting. Consider this: what is the lighting like in your facility? The lighting layout is a critical aspect of a well-designed, functioning layout. Specifically, you cannot let existing light fixture locations determine where aisles between shelving and racking are located. Instead, remove lighting that is in the way, taking up valuable space or unusable, and add more lighting where it suits your operations.
It is important to note that poor lighting reduces morale and significantly increases human error. High personnel areas, like picking and packing, shipping, and pre-pack require a minimum of 50-to-75-foot candles of light. Bulk storage areas require even more for equipment operators. In short, do not skimp on lighting. Do not put the safety of your workforce and the accuracy of the work in jeopardy.
Tip #4: Use pallet racking.
To improve warehouse capacity usage, install pallet racking in multiple locations in your facility. For example, install pallet racking over your dock doors, which is an overlooked space. Since dock areas are usually busy, high-traffic areas, limiting access to this space to off-hours. As a result, you should use those locations for storing slow-moving product, packing supplies, fixtures, and other items which you do not need to access frequently.
Make sure that you have a variety of location sizes in your pallet racking. In facilities where all the pallet racking is the same size, only 30-50% of the space might be used. Variety is important here to ensure total optimization of your space.
Tip #5: Separate docking stations.
Don’t overuse a single docking station. Dock doors determine where Receiving and Shipping occurs. Often, they are in high bay areas. However, ideally, there are doors at opposite ends of the facility. This physically separates Inbound and Outbound, which is ideal. Companies that share dock doors for both functions make product flow difficult and create opportunity for error. Workers can mix up, misplace, or even reship cartons in error. If this is your situation, define the two departments with tape or paint on the floor. Additionally, develop clear and streamlined processes to keep everything where it belongs.
Specialized Storage Helps Businesses Maximize Their Efforts
We know there are a number of different warehouse equipment companies that can help you. We’re different. At Specialized Storage, we think outside the box to ask the right questions and develop a custom warehouse capacity solution for your business. One of our experts will arrive at your facility, ask questions about your business, and fully understand your needs and future objectives before making a recommendation. Our custom warehouse layout design plan will optimize warehouse capacity and help to improve your bottom line. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today!