A warehouse is a space where goods are stored – typically used by exporters, wholesalers, and business owners. One of the most significant challenges linked with effective warehouse management is space congestion.
Technically, a warehouse is considered congested when more than 85% of its space is occupied – and this occupancy doesn’t only refer to the storage section but also other sections within the warehouse, including the receiving, processing, and shipping areas.
As a warehouse manager, your primary response to a crowded space would be warehouse expansion; however, this isn’t ideal in many situations; sometimes, there is a lack of space and a limited budget.
If you run out of space in the warehouse, here are several ways you can fix the problem without expanding the warehouse itself.
Why do People Keep Running out of Warehouse Space?
So why is it that people keep running out of warehouse space? Warehouse needs tend to change pretty quickly as the inventory grows. The only warehouses where people keep working within the same space are specialized warehouses with loads of capital equipment in them, such as high bay cold storage warehouses.
On the contrary, consumer-oriented warehouses – the average FMCG warehouses are exceptionally fast-moving and tend to require updating at least every five years.
The underlying reasons are that the product ranges keep changing, sales levels keep changing, acquisitions keep going on, and the warehouse space that was okay last year very rarely lasts for about the next five years.
Since businesses don’t usually change their warehouse that often, here is what they tend to do:
They try to rent additional warehouse space, which comes with additional costs and complexity and the dilemma of what to store and where. Eventually, things become so messy that people start getting concerned about running out of warehouse space.
The primary concern is that you don’t want to move from one warehouse to another but optimize your current warehouse space. In this regard, you might immensely benefit from the spiral conveyor – these take only a fraction of the floor space.
When it comes to robotics, you can make efficient use of co-bots that are exclusively designed to decrease the travel of pickers who work in collaboration with technology. Since pickers spend a significant time walking, the collaborative robots can boost productivity and keep the warehouse space freed up.
Obtain Warehouse Space Optimization in Three Simple Steps:
So, suppose you are running out of warehouse space to the point that it gets frustrating? There is no place to place stuff as the inventory is clogging up the warehouse – least to mention that it hinders productivity.
If you have a clogged warehouse, here are three specific things that you can do to fix the situation.
Assess the Storage Plan
As is typical in a warehouse, you probably have some racks running up and down the warehouse. Depending on the floor layout, you will also have different spaces dedicated to the dispatch and receiving docks.
First things first – you will want to have a look at the storage media. You have to assess whether the storage media you are using is suitable for handling the products at the warehouse.
There is an excellent possibility that the storage media might be a bit out of date, which includes the racking types and the kind of live storage – all that sort of stuff can lead to much denser storage; particularly in the case of a carousel storage system, which can lead to very dense storage.
Simply put – have a look at the storage media and see whether it suits your warehouse needs or not.
If you have never used this term in reference to a warehouse before – let us tell you that it is magic. You can incorporate quite simple slotting systems and even do it on a spreadsheet. Basically, a slotting system allows you to place products in a warehouse in the most efficient manner and location to reduce the pick path.
By incorporating slotting, you can prevent people from walking up and down the aisles while trying to fulfill an order. So, you probably realize that warehouse products come in different classifications, such as A, B, C, and D.
Typically, the “As” are high-speed movers, which is why you would want to place the A category near the dispatch dock, so you can quickly pick them up and bring them out for a smooth dispatch. Simultaneously, you will have the Bs, Cs, and so on – the slower moving items are going to be placed at the back of the warehouse.
Slotting is an excellent method to boost warehouse operations, productivity, and space optimization.
Assess the Inventory Storage
Now, let us talk about the actual inventory store – typically, the warehouse gets to a sort of capacity and over-capacity because warehouse owners have too much in their inventory. Assess your warehouse layout and the inventory to double-check whether you have actually done a proper classification (A, B, C).
Also, double-check whether you have assessed the safety stocks and got that balanced? If the answer is no, then you must do it now as it will help you reduce the amount of inventory in the warehouse. This is very easy to do; all you need to do is to check the storage media, perform the categorization of products, and ensure they are in the right place.
Last, you must ensure that you are not storing too much inventory in your warehouse. That said, assess your warehouse and see what you can do if it is over-capacity. Consider media storage, slotting, and inventory capacity, and consider how these three things can help you in the long term.
Efficient warehouse management and warehouse space optimization comprise several things. The solution isn’t about moving to a more extensive warehouse or renting additional warehouses, but you can free up space by effectively planning the layout of the warehouse floor.
Never let go of the 85% rule, which never exceeds 85% of the warehouse occupancy, so you have sufficient room left to execute all warehouse duties.