If your pallet rack system is at or over capacity, you’ve probably scrambled to find every possible pallet slot or case pick location in the building. Every warehouse will eventually face the capacity issue, either due to sales growth, increasing SKUs or seasonal inventories. Before taking that giant leap toward capital expansion, we have some easy and cost-effective strategies to maximize your storage space right where you are. Take a look at our whitepaper – 10 Easy Steps to Maximize Warehouse Space for these simple, actionable ideas.
The following is an abbreviated look to get you started. Download our full whitepaper with additional steps and examples.
- Add Wire Decking to Lower Pallet Rack Locations – Convert single pallet locations into shelving for multi-product/case-pick locations of slower moving items. This will open up several full pallet slots for higher volume items.
- Convert Lower Pallet Rack Levels to Case Flow – You will gain as many as 5 shelves and 35 pick faces per bay! Case flow is ideal for items with a slighter higher volume case count as the system provides the added depth for reserve storage; up to 8-10 deep vs. 2-3 deep on decked pallet rack.
- Add Multiple Pick Levels Within the Bay – Increase pick slot for those ‘middle of the road’ SKUs. This is a great option for products with volume that is too high for case flow, but too slow for a dedicated pallet position. These SKUs need about a half a pallet rack position (48″x40″x30″) vs. the traditional (48″x40″x60″). With a lower pallet height, you can add some additional pallet rack levels in the back.
- Build Rack Tunnels at Row Ends and Crossover Aisles – Create reserve pallet rack storage in unused air space. Rack tunnels over single rack rows provides needed reserve storage locations, but when added to the ends and middle of back-to-back selective, drive-in and push-back racking, tunnels also provide better cube utilization of the warehouse without interfering with the normal pick path of the forklift.
- Move the REALLY Slow Movers to Shelving – Free up valuable floor space by first consolidating the shelving to a separate area of the warehouse, or by converting 1-2 bays of pallet rack to a slow-pick shelving area. Remove bottom beam levels to make room for shelving units. This can add as many as 50 pick faces in a single bay.
- Add a Mezzanine – If your building has sufficient ceiling height, you can convert unused overhead space to create a 2nd or 3rd level for pallet rack, case flow or shelving. Total pick faces can be double or even tripled with effective use of storage mezzanines.
- Use Pick Modules – Pick modules can double or triple pick faces! Similar to a mezzanine, multi-level pick modules add additional storage and picking areas above the floor for pallet, case or individual piece pick functions. This can be accomplished with or without conveyors based on how the warehouse picks and ships orders to customers.
- Narrow Your Aisles – Reduce aisle spacing to ‘narrow aisle’ for moderate to slow moving inventory. This will increase storage capacity up to 20% by opening up need floor space for additional pallet rack. (See whitepaper for forklift guidelines)
- Look Up! Extend Rack Height – Convert up to 4’-5′ of unused overhead space. If ceiling heights allow, taller rack frames can add needed pallet locations in previously unused space. The downside to this solution is that certain sprinkler design codes require an additional sprinkler level for racking above 25’ tall. In most cases, this extra storage space offsets the cost of new construction/expansion to gain additional square footage.
- Implement Warehouse Management Software (WMS) Solutions – When used in conjunction with purchasing, WMS helps reduce inventory levels and manage the items for random slotting in areas, reducing labor times and improving productivity. WMS can make the small warehouse more efficient, deferring the need for building expansion.
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