Maximise Your Warehouse Storage Space
Warehouses come in all shapes and sizes, with each type having specific challenges when maximising available storage space. While you might think that the biggest challenge of any warehouse would be how to fit everything inside, the truth is that the size of your warehouse isn’t as important as how you manage the space once everything is in there.
Whether you’re growing fast and need to find ways to increase storage capacity, or you’ve just moved into a new facility with less available storage than your old one.
Plenty of simple tweaks and cost-effective solutions can help maximise your warehouse storage space. Here are 10 simple ways that you can do exactly that:
Organises and labels storage space and shelves
Warehouses are large, open, unorganised spaces that are often jam-packed with tens of thousands of individual items. So when you’re looking at increasing your storage space, the first thing you should do is get your inventory organised. Not only will this make it easier for you to find the items you need, but it will also allow you to group similar items together. This makes it much easier to find and organise your inventory and gives you more flexibility with how you can organise your warehouse space.
Ensure that each item is clearly labelled and easy to identify, and try to keep similar items in the same general area. This will make it much easier to find what you need while also maximising the use of available space. Along with organising your inventory, ensure that your warehouse shelves are labelled and organised. This will help you identify where particular items are stored at a glance while also making it easier to locate items when needed.
Consider buying rails and panels that can be easily repositioned and relocated when looking at extra shelving. This will give you a lot more flexibility with how you can use your space and make it easier to reorganise things when necessary.
Install shelving with multiple levels and staggered rows
Vertical storage often takes up a large percentage of warehouse space, and the simplest way to increase available warehouse storage capacity is to add more of it. If you’re using standard shelving, you can usually increase the number of shelves by around 50%, simply by adding extra levels to your existing units.
Alternatively, you can use a more advanced system with multiple levels, which will allow you to fit significantly more on each individual shelf. Given this solution’s relative simplicity and cost-effectiveness, this is a great way to maximise your storage space. Alongside increasing the number of levels you have, make sure that you stagger the rows of each level. This will help maximise the use of space on each shelf and make it easier to locate items when you need them.
When installing new shelving, make sure that you choose units that are big enough for your items but small enough to fit in the space you have available.
Utilise a forklift with an extended reach or a lift truck
Warehouses typically have large overhead storage areas, but in many cases, these areas are difficult to access without a cherry picker or a very tall person. As with many other aspects of warehouse storage, using a lift truck or a forklift with an extended reach will help to solve this problem and maximise your warehouse storage capacity.
If you use forklifts to move inventory around your warehouse, consider investing in longer forks that will increase the reach and extend the maximum height of the truck. Alternatively, you can use a lift truck to reach overhead storage while also being able to move items around the warehouse floor. This will make it easier to reach items in the storage areas while also making it easier to move items around your warehouse.
If you don’t already have a lift truck, you can hire one or buy one. Hiring a lift truck may be more cost-effective for short-term use, whereas purchasing one may make more sense for long-term use. When choosing between a lift truck or a forklift with an extended reach, consider the type of items you have to store and your typical warehouse workflow.
Install mechanised storage equipment (MSE)
Most warehouses have some amount of manual picking and storage, but the best way to increase your storage capacity is to mechanise wherever possible. One way to do this is to install mechanised storage equipment like conveyor belts and pick-and-place systems. For example, if you store items on shelves, you can use conveyor belts to move items around and load them onto pallets.
This will help organise your inventory while saving you time and effort in the process. If you store items on pallets, you can use conveyor belts to move them around and load them onto shelves, making it easier to organise your inventory. Conveyor belts can also be used to move items between different areas of your warehouse, while pallet pick-and-place systems can help to automate your inventory picking.
These are some of the most effective ways to mechanise your warehouse, but they can also be some of the most expensive. Still, given the potential cost savings over the long term, these systems can be worth the initial investment.
Make sure your warehouse is properly lit.
Warehouses are often dark, unorganised spaces that are difficult to navigate in the best of conditions. The last thing you want to do is make your warehouse even darker by blocking off light sources with inventory and equipment.
At the same time, you also don’t want your warehouse to be too bright, as this will make it difficult for employees to work for extended periods. One of the simplest ways to improve the light level in your warehouse is to remove any light-blocking equipment and make sure your employees are not placing items in walkways and aisles. At the same time, you can also install additional light sources, giving you more control over the light level in different areas of the warehouse.
Similarly, you can also use light curtains to create blackout areas in your warehouse, making it easier to work in different sections at different times of the day.
Diversify your storage practices
Warehouses are complex environments, and no single storage method or solution is ever going to be 100% effective in every situation. This is especially true when maximising warehouse storage space, as you will often need to use a combination of different methods simultaneously.
By diversifying your storage practices, you can help minimise any single method’s impact while also making it easier to incorporate new technologies and ideas into your workflow.
For example, you can mix manual picking with mechanised picking, storing items manually in the aisles and storing other items on conveyor belts. You can also mix manual and mechanised storage, storing items that need to be stored on shelves manually while storing palletised items on conveyor belts. This will help improve your overall workflow and organisation while maximising your warehouse storage space.
Warehouse storage is a complex challenge that requires a diverse set of solutions, depending on the needs of the individual business. One of the most important things you can do is get organised so you have a clear idea of your inventory and where it’s stored. Once you’ve got that under control, you can start looking for ways to maximise your storage space. Making small tweaks to your storage practices and putting in a little extra effort can greatly impact your warehouse storage space, helping you to fit more inventory in the same amount of space.