5 Features of a Space Efficient Warehouse
Balancing cost with quality and efficiency is a constant concern of warehouse managers and all businesses. One of the ways for businesses to keep overhead costs under control is to find extra space in the warehouse. As we shall see in this article, improving the space efficiency of your warehouse won’t only allow you to store more stock in a smaller space, it can boost pick order effectiveness and overall warehouse efficiency.
1. Multi-Level Pick Towers
Multi-level pick towers are one of the most common ways to safe space in warehouses. For the space efficient warehouse, multi-level pick towers that have low floor area usage are the only choice. These shelving systems massively enhance usage of vertical space by multiplying the amount of stock that can be store in the warehouse.
With good layout, design, a good warehouse management system, and product profile, pick order times won’t be compromised. Multi-level pick towers require appropriate equipment such as forklifts.
2. Selective Pallet Racking
Selective pallet racking systems are wonderful solutions for the space efficient warehouse, allowing you to store stock in multi-level pick towers without compromising on stock accessibility or selectivity. Quality selective pallet racking systems allow stock to be quickly rotated, stored, and picked from multiple directions.
Using smart zoning policy for different product profiles (or stock-keeping units) or product line profiles can also be a very effective way to save space. While the effects tend to be less direct than selective pallet racking and multi-level shelving, setting zones for popular goods and less frequently picked lines allows warehouse managers to design narrow aisles for certain products, and in turn, saving space.
Products that are frequently accessed with wider loads will need standard or larger aisle space for quick picking. They may also need to be placed closer to the loading dock to shorten pick times. In some warehouses, zones are highly differentiated to the extent that they have their individual working guidelines and safety standards.
4. Cross Docking
Cross docking is a popular distribution strategy that involves shifting high demand products quickly. Upon delivery, these items are set close in a processing space or temporary storage space to the docking area rather than being delivered immediately.
These stock items can repackaged, relabelled, then loaded and dispatched within a matter of hours. This naturally reduces the overall use of space in the warehouses, staff time, and the number of turns required from receipt to distribution.
5. Warehouse Management System
A warehouse is more that its physical space: it’s also comprised of the design features and procedures within the warehouse system. Warehouse management systems (‘WMS’) are another powerful tool for managers seeking a more space efficient warehouse.
While a WMS is usually utilised to track inventory and monitor the movement of stock, the WMS can be used to profile zones and identify product profiles to change zones, aisles, and shelving allocations.
Managers also make use of the WMS system to reduce docking and storage space requirements by improving receiving, picking, and shipping procedures to reduce receipt and delivery times.