1. Over-aisle storage
If you don’t already have storage above your aisles this is a great place to start finding space. Adding beams above cross-aisles can provide a significant number of new pallet positions.
2. Over-dock storage
Utilizing space above dock doors can be achieved using standard pallet rack or specially designed over-dock systems. Frequently this space is used to store pallets, cardboard boxes, stretch wrap, etc. Standard pallet racking can be used, but a wide variety of specialized rack is available just for this purpose. Impact resistance is important because of the exposure to increased forklift traffic at the dock doors.
3. Go Up
Add extensions to existing uprights or buy taller uprights to make maximum use of available clear height. Extensions can be bolted onto existing frames to provide as much height as is necessary. Mezzanines can provide space for dense shelving necessary for slow movers.
4. Move Beam Level and Change Pallet Profiles
Careful attention to pallet dimensions can allow some facilities to position beam levels so that no more than 4-6” is wasted for pallet lift-off. Often an entire additional beam level of storage can be created by reducing wasted beam spacing.
5. Narrow Your Aisles
Dramatic increases in pallets stored per cubic foot can be achieved by converting from traditional sit-down equipment that requires 144-168’ aisles to Narrow Aisle stand-up trucks that need only 96” aisles, or Very Narrow Aisle equipment that uses roughly 60” aisles.
6. Change Your Storage Medium
If you currently have all selective pallet racking you may want to take a long hard look at some alternatives. All products in a warehouse rarely move in and out at the same speed and in the same quantity which means one storage medium rarely works for all inventory. Some products may be better suited to shelving, while others may fit in drive-in or push-back. A mezzanine or vertical lift may be a great time and space saver for your inventory. Really fast-movers that are palletized can be stacked may be better floor stacked thus eliminating the need for racking altogether. Picking from racking may be better suited to picking from shelving to reduce wasted space. Carton, or case flow rack, pick modules and horizontal carousels also offer high density piece picking alternatives. Stack-racks may help reduce the footprint of bulky items. Deep reach, push-back, drive-in and pallet flow systems all increase storage density, but it is critical that they fit the right application. Slow movers, seasonal products, multiple pallets per SKU items, etc. all are great places to start looking for storage alternatives. Other high density options include Mobile Aisle systems, Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), Mini-Load systems. Vertical storage options include Vertical Lifts, also called Shuttles, and Vertical Carousels.
7. Create, Improve Or Maintain A Slotting System
Slotting is the selection of storage locations for your SKU’s. Slotting will create many different opportunities to reduce orderpicking travel time, put-away travel time and minimize warehouse congestion. Many vendors offer a wide variety of slotting software that can help tremendously in evaluating the storage and picking locations of SKU’s. A pick velocity report with a year of history will help you identify SKU movement. Even in a small warehouse slotting to reduce wasted travel time can have a big impact in storage and retrieval time. Remember that often the most expensive part of picking an order is the labor to pick it.