One more impact of 2020’s global health crisis: lumber and new property costs are at an all-time high. Thus, the business that wants to expand its industrial storage struggles to find alternatives to building new. One way to avoid the challenges of finding space? Reusing the existing footprint by maximizing warehouse space. This article will explore some options.
Warehouse space is at a premium. Many places don’t have space available to expand the industrial warehouse footprint. Plus, building a new warehouse is costly. Strong Building Systems estimates, “the average cost to turnkey a warehouse is $55-$70 per square foot, which does not include land or grading. That means, for example, a 10,000 square foot warehouse will cost $550,000-$700,000 plus land and grading.”
That’s prohibitive for many businesses, especially as they work to recover from the pandemic. An alternative solution? Maximize warehouse space by optimizing the existing footprint to do more with inactive or low activity storage areas.
Industrial storage solutions have evolved well beyond the long aisles of traditional static shelves. Today, space experts know making the most of warehouse space is not just about horizontal storage. By making use of the available vertical space and technology to make inventory access more convenient, industries can maximize warehouse space. Our focus in this article is on the familiar complaints we hear and how to address them.
Challenge #1: “Our Footprint is Too Small”
If the challenge is square footage, you can make the most of an existing space with high density mobile storage. Mobilizing storage so that aisles can be compacted when not in use can double the storage capacity of the existing space.
ActivRAC Industrial Mobile Shelving System increases storage capacity per square foot in the existing storage space without costly expansion or disruption to daily activity. Move existing stationary rows of shelving to this heavy-duty mobile storage system’s rails and carriages.
ActivRAC systems are built for the industrial space. Holding up to 30,000 pounds per carriage, these systems can be designed around height restrictions and columns. At the same time, employees and forklifts can still easily and safely access the inventory.
High Density Mobile Storage not only increases storage but also can contribute to increased revenues. Reclaim that unused or underutilized warehouse space for another production line and other value-add activities.
Consolidating inventory access can also improve productivity. Save employees the extra work and time wasted walking the warehouse to find what’s needed by putting all essential materials in one organized, accessible space.
At Do-It-Yourself Pest Control, a storage redesign to rethink static shelving helped the company to not only increase capacity but also make products more accessible for its staff improving the shipping department's productivity.
Challenge #2: “We Need to Optimize Picking Capacity"
High density mobile storage systems help to maximize warehouse space by strategically organizing inventory close to employees, enabling them to work more efficiently.
Another industrial storage solution that can help optimize picking capacity is the Hanel Lean-Lift industrial vertical storage lift. Distribution centers have been growing taller over the past few years. According to Logistics Management, “the average clear height of distribution centers was 32.7 feet in 2018, an increase from 31.1 feet in 2016.”
By taking advantage of that vertical space, you can cut the warehouse footprint required and lower costs too. With the increased flexibility of a Lean-Lift, it’s possible to maximize warehouse space on a minimal footprint.
This has many benefits for picking capacity:
- Create more picking space to give workers, equipment easy access to inventory
- Save time — “travel time in a warehouse or distribution center accounts for half of the total picking time”
- As the number of SKUs grows, the Lean-Lift’s controllers serve as a stand-alone inventory management system providing up-to-the-second views into your inventor
An Ohio automotive parts manufacturer Installed Three Lean-Lifts to the outer wall of its facility to address the challenge of working within its warehouse’s 15-foot ceilings.
Challenge #3: “We Want to Avoid Product Damage”
Inventory damage is an expensive issue for any warehouse. When products are crushed, broken or bent the supply chain suffers, business revenues drop, and if the loss leads to delays to the customer, brand reputation is damaged too.
Industrial storage solutions can help. How? Maximizing warehouse space helps cut inventory loss by:
- Reducing the risk of workplace mishaps
- Streamlining access to the product to avoid inappropriate handling
- Cutting worker and equipment mishandling in transit
- Providing inventory awareness to ensure the selection of proper pallets
Both high density mobile storage and the Lean-Lift help employees access everything in a safe way that keeps products secure. The business might also add mezzanines to the mix to help organize and effectively store inventory.
Mezzanines are another great way to double space by going vertical and increasing existing space. Instead of having to relocate, the building footprint can be expanded with pre-engineered, steel floor decking systems. Save money while adding value to an existing warehouse facility with heavy-duty flooring, code-compliant staircases and ladders plus gates and handrails to ensure employee safety.
Looking to Maximize Warehouse Space? Challenge Accepted
Of course, this is only a small sampling of the challenges faced in warehouses. Yet industrial storage solutions can make a significant difference by helping your business to maximize warehouse space. Put your existing footprint to full use with the help of Patterson Pope’s storage and space experts.