Warehouse Space- When Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Warehouse space is becoming a premium in today’s fast-paced e-commerce world. There just isn’t enough warehouse space available to store products to meet online customer demand. This is partially due to the fact that very little development occurred a decade ago because of the economic downturn, and the market just hasn’t been able to build enough warehouse inventory fast enough to keep up with demand.

It all comes down to space and time. The race for space is all about augmenting storage capacity, increasing labor productivity and speeding throughput.

As our industry faces the pressures of omni-channel commerce, including exponential increases in the number of SKUs handled and percentage of item-level picking required, DCs and warehouses are busier than ever.

How do you know how much warehouse space you really need? Are you sure you’re optimizing the warehouse space you already have? Can you adapt existing space or equipment to maximize utilization and efficiency? Can you add space by expanding up or out? Should you lease additional supplemental space? Or should you start planning for new construction that’s designed to anticipate future needs? How would this new expansion affect your picker’s travel time and pick rates?

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Building a new facility is expensive. Expanding an existing one is time-consuming and costly. A warehouse that is too crammed with products is inefficient.

The answer is that instead of worrying about finding a new warehouse location, you could try to optimize your existing warehouse space using UNEX Span-Track. Span-Track is designed to eliminate dead zones in the warehouse – empty pallet rack space – by maximizing space utilization within existing pallet rack.

Using Span-Track, you utilize the entirety of your pallet rack depth by loading SKUs behind the facings. Instead of lining a shelf with one SKU, you can load all those SKUs behind each other and let them flow forward to your order pickers, allowing more SKUs in less space. This will help maximize space utilization while reducing travel time and distance between picks.

Other things you can do include:

  • Store packing materials in above-door racks to free up floor space in the dock area
  • Add a mezzanine, which creates an elevated storage platform for additional storage and the floor space below is fully accessible for additional storage
  • Optimize pick faces by storing similar SKUs in the same pallet rack so workers don’t have to search for products
  • Speed picking with tilted storage units that follow the FIFO methodology

When a new facility is not in your budget and there is no room for expansion, using Span-Track can improve space utilization by up to 20 to 50%. Using the existing space in your warehouse more efficiently can speed throughput, while keeping costs low.

Contact UNEX Pickologists today to find space within your existing warehouse. After all, bigger isn’t always better.