Warehouses are a vital – yet costly – part of most company’s business operations. If your warehouse is poorly organized, or is nearing its maximum capacity – which is 85%, not 100% – you are likely wondering if it is time to expand out to a larger or secondary location. However, if your warehouse isn’t properly organized, you may find that there’s plenty of extra space still available. Read on to learn how to make the most of your warehouse space.
Maximizing Efficiency Without Building Expansion
Rest assured: you can do a lot to increase the organizational efficiency of your warehouse before you even have to think about investing in more warehouse space. Plus, proper warehouse organization ensures that you’re getting the most bang for your buck, while creating a pleasant and orderly work environment for your employees.
Here are a few ideas on improving warehouse organization and optimizing it for efficiency:
Evaluate the Physical Design
Consider the structure of your warehouse. How tall is the roof? Are there existing built-in rooms? How many bays does it have for shipping and receiving? By answering these questions, you can take the first steps to optimizing your warehouse’s capacity. If the warehouse is tall, invest in vertical storage. Racks can be extended upward, increasing overall storage capacity without eating up more floor space.
If your warehouse has a standard height room in it, use the space above it for additional storage. Square footage doesn’t have to be lost to an office or bathroom; just make sure the area is reinforced to handle additional weight.
Ensure that aisle width is optimized. Wide aisles are nice, but by shrinking them a little bit, more space becomes available for product storage. Test out how much space you need per aisle to comfortably operate a forklift or perform any other day to day tasks.
Use Correct Storage Mediums
Some people believe that one size shelf or container fits all. If you’re using too big of either for a product, space is being wasted. Familiarize yourself with the sizes of your products, and match them to an optimized space. Buying the wrong size storage equipment wastes valuable space and costs the company money that could better be spent in another capacity.
If products can be double stacked, look into double-deep storage racks. Also evaluate whether your warehouse could be improved with push-back or drive-in racks as higher density storage solutions. You can also use stackable bins.
Optimize Furniture and Gear Layout
In addition to storage racks, you should also optimize furniture layout. Ensure that your warehouse is set up in a way that makes sense (for example, check areas with a low ceiling clearance, so you aren’t losing out on vertical storage space). This can also be a great opportunity to work around physical impediments within the warehouse, like pillars, doors, and so forth.
Your warehouse may also benefit from a reorganization of its shipping and receiving areas. Optimizing storage areas for pallets, boxes, tape, and other accessories keeps things organized and the warehouse workflow running smoothly and efficiently. Consider cross-docking.
Stay On Top of Inventory Management
One of the most important things you can do to maximize your warehouse space is to stay on top of inventory management. Don’t order large quantities of products that don’t sell well. Know how much of each product sells how quickly, then keep a minimal amount of each product on hand. It’s also beneficial to know how long it takes to place and receiver orders for each product so you’ll know how frequently you need to place orders, as well as what the ebb and flow of your inventory will be.
You should also keep everything visible and clearly labeled. This allows you to take inventory easily. Manually double check your work as needed. Also note where things are stored, and if special equipment is needed to access them. Lastly, keep your warehouse clean and free of clutter.
How Listing Mirror Can Help
Managing a warehouse, along with its inventory, listings, and even order fulfillment can be tough, but you don’t have to go it alone. Listing Mirror offers powerful eCommerce software that can help you do it all, while simultaneously handling all the heavy lifting for you.
Our multi-channel listing software helps you reach more customers, by copying your product listing details and sending it to your preferred channels. And no matter whether you fulfill from your company’s warehouse, or through a third-party logistics provider, we can connect to your current process. We have existing integrations with popular retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy, among others.
We can also manage your ever-changing inventory levels with near-instant inventory syncing, thus helping you stay on the same page as your fulfillment partner. You can have an up-to-date inventory count from when your products first arrive at your warehouse, to the moment they leave.