If you’re like many successful warehouse managers, you may one day find yourself struggling with space. After all, increased demand leads to increased inventory! But instead of making an expensive move to bigger storage facilities or wasting time and money building additions, you have another option. You can increase your profits and efficiency by optimizing your existing vertical storage space.
Whether you’ve already moved into a new warehouse, recently took over a warehouse space or are a longtime manager looking to increase efficiency, these tips will help you with vertical warehouse management:
Start at the Base
All “towering” projects need a strong foundation to stand on! So, start by looking down instead of up. Take a look at what you plan to store closest to the bottom of your storage stacks (which should generally be what you need to access most often), and make sure there is enough space vertically for your largest items. When positioning shelving units, there should always be enough space between them for you, your employees and the equipment you use (like fork lifts) to maneuver as needed. Once you make these base decisions, you can start looking upward.
Store the Same Items Vertically, Not Horizontally
Instead of putting your entire inventory of one item on the same shelf, you can stack them and store extra units vertically on higher shelves. This way, you can increase your access to a wide variety of items while still having a clear count of your back stock. This way, you can always stock up on depleting units down below by simply shifting everything down.
Consider Investing in New Shelving
Especially if your current shelving doesn’t allow you to store things all the way up to the ceiling (or at least as high as your forklift / access tools can go), it may be time to make a change. If you are storing heavy items up top though, always make sure that your shelving is secure and tip-proof. If you have the means and the space, you may also want to consider adding an access walkway in some higher areas to essentially create a “second floor” for easy storage and access. For smaller, “loose” items, you should consider keeping them in stackable drawers for easy access and safe storage.
Never Stop Focusing on Efficiency
Efficiency should always be the top-most priority, above fitting as much as you can into your warehouse. In turn, your storage options will be maximized and the warehouse will not feel cramped or overburdened. For example, it’s tempting to just cram as many things as possible into a tight space. But then you risk burying things you need to access. By keeping things as neat as possible and only storing like items together, you will maximize your efficiency and storage ability. Consider using clear labels so that there is no confusion among employees where things should be stored. If you have the means, divide your warehouse into different zones and dedicate a “theme” and a forklift to each.
Follow these tips, and watch as your warehouse is transformed!