The warehouse project - Making the most of your warehouse space

Warehouse Storage Guide

Making the most of your warehouse space

There are lots of factors that can cause a shortage of warehouse space including everything from business growth to seasonal inventory changes or even large purchases through to a slowdown in sales.

Nearly every organisation will experience warehouse claustrophobia at some point but in today’s competitive marketplace moving to larger premises isn’t an option for many businesses so the only answer is to maximise the potential of the space available.

Often it’s best to go back to basics and start by measuring the space and then draw a plan that includes all fixed obstacles such as columns, walls, doors and clearance levels.

A major decision when designing a warehouse is whether to have loading bays on one-side of the facility or both sides. Having docks on multiple sides of a building requires more loading areas which reduces storage space.

When choosing racking and shelving it has to be able to support the weight and dimensions of whatever will be stored on it. Generally it makes sense to specify equipment that exceeds your weight requirements and this also offers an added degree of safety.

You must also consider how wide the aisles need to be which will depend on the equipment and pallets that they have to safely accommodate. Aisles typically occupy 60% of total cubic space although this figure can be much higher so you should keep the number of aisles to a minimum. Running aisles down the length of the building, instead of across the width of it, usually reduces the space they require.

Next define zones for those products that have specific storage requirements and think about how things need to move through the warehouse by adding flow paths into your plan along with any auxiliary requirements such as desk space or quality control areas.

Ideally you should also think about what your requirements could be in three or even five years time. If future growth plans mean increasing storage space at some point then you need a scalable solution. In some cases storage systems can be trebled in size without increasing the footprint.

Although it probably looks like a daunting prospect, with some careful planning and a few simple changes a warehouse can quickly be transformed from a bottleneck in an organisation to its most sleek and efficient operation.