Scaling Up – Strategies for Expanding Your Warehousing Storage Capacity
Scaling up is a great step for a business, as it can mean more revenue, growth, and opportunities. However, it’s important to assess your company’s readiness for scaling up before moving.
For example, it’s important to determine if your warehouse’s storage capacity can handle increased volume. This involves evaluating your machinery and equipment’s current production capabilities and capacities.
Reorganize Your Warehouse
Keeping your warehouse clean and organized is one of the most important things you can do to optimize warehouse storage capacity. An orderly facility not only makes it easier to find items but also decreases employee stress levels and increases efficiency and accuracy.
Reorganizing your inventory is another key step to increasing warehouse storage capacity. It’s best practice to store faster-moving items in more accessible locations so they can be picked up and shipped quickly.
Reviewing your inventory and regularly eliminating slow-moving or obsolete products is a good idea. Doing so can save money by reducing inventory holding costs and improve profitability by freeing up space for faster-selling items. This can be done through a simple inventory management software program or by surveying your team members.
Utilize Vertical Space
In warehouses, floor space directly translates into costs and efficiency. Whether your warehousing storage is charging by the square foot or stocking lighter inventory products that must be manually stored and retrieved, utilizing every inch of available vertical space can drastically improve operations.
Instead of building out, consider building up with efficient vertical storage solutions. These automated systems maximize the unused vertical space in your warehouse or distribution center, which frees up floor space and improves ergonomics and productivity rates in your facility. This allows your operation to save money on storage space and labor, resulting in greater profitability.
Implement Slotting Techniques
Warehouse slotting may seem like a game of Tetris, but the process is essential to inventory storage and order fulfillment efficiency. This is true for eCommerce businesses operating their facilities and fulfillment providers managing multiple clients’ inventory and shipping needs.
Correct warehouse slotting maximizes space by allocating inventory to minimize shipping errors caused by slow-moving items being stocked alongside fast-movers. This reduces fulfillment delays and canceled orders.
Facility managers must be armed with the right data upfront to get this right. This includes average daily volume and relative SKU velocity and will allow them to create a warehouse slotting strategy that optimizes all labor functions, including order picking, putaway, and replenishment. This will then feed efficiency downstream throughout the operation.
Utilize Automated Picking Systems
One of the most effective ways to maximize your warehouse’s storage capacity is by introducing automated picking systems. These technologies can reduce human error and make it possible to store more inventory without increasing operational costs or affecting customer satisfaction.
Examples of automated picking systems include voice-picking software, pick-to-light systems, and conveyor systems. These technologies use digital tools to optimize picking processes and route planning for time savings. These systems also adapt to various item shapes, sizes, and weights.
A warehouse’s storage capacity can be calculated by dividing its total building cube by its usable space. This calculation accounts for the size of the building, as well as the clear height and space for aisles, picking, and packing stations. This figure can help determine if your facility uses its storage capacity efficiently.
Utilize Inventory Management Software
In addition to maximizing storage capacity, inventory management software programs can help you reduce unnecessary warehouse costs. This includes avoiding overstocking, requiring additional storage space, and slow-moving dead stock that costs you more in storage fees than it would have earned through sales. Implementing effective inventory control measures like using demand forecasts, automating reorder points, conducting regular cycle counts, and utilizing item-level tracking can also reduce human error, leading to delays in order fulfillment or incorrect orders that require returns.
Building more warehouses or expanding current ones is only sometimes feasible, especially when the cost of land and construction is too much to bear. However, implementing the above solutions will give you more storage capacity without breaking the bank.