Updated: Jun 23, 2021
A typical issue in warehousing is running out of space... with potential gridlocks and operational impact looming. In this post DCwise.eu gives practical tips on how and where to look for solutions to improve your warehouse capacity to be leveraged for more storage and/or processing space.
1️⃣ Stocking policy
First start with a review of the goods you are currently storing.
Are you stocking the right materials, at the right quantities, in the proper condition from raw materials over finished goods up to also indirect materials? And what about items that are only supportive of the operation up to archives littering around.
Go beyond the typical "supply optimization":
✔ For sure do regularly scrapping; to push out obsolete materials, optimize your stocking of indirect materials, archives cleaned, etc.
✔ Bring the management of your non-direct materials (packing materials, pallets, etc.) to the same levels as the direct materials.
✔ Review supporting elements to see if they really need to be on site, in-doors, as sized as they are, etc.
✔ Drive in this towards digitization in tracking and keeping of samples, records, ...
⭐Best practice is to map out what is taking what portion of number of pallets or cube (m³) and then relate this to its movement &/ need. "Oversimplified" if it does not "move"/"is needed" why is it then part of the (core) warehouse?
2️⃣ Processing & supportive area's
Next review the area assigned to processing. In this see if you can reduce the space needed by improving your processes and by this freeing it up for other purposes.
✔ Having a more balanced (work)load can drive that you need less processing area to process the peaks.
✔ Other example would be to optimizing the tools present in the area and/or processing quicker (leaving less non processed queue).
✔ Also validate if you can or even should reduce (by outsourcing, pushing-out, scrapping, etc) all areas that are just there for support.
⭐Important is to regularly question the space assigned. While there is a naturel tendency to systematically increase the processing space, which is typically driven by the need on the extreme moments.
3️⃣ Storage methods
Once it’s clear what needs to be stored (see 1️⃣) and what overall space is available to do this (see what is left from number 2️⃣); next question is how use the space most efficiently to store these.
So what "Storage methods" are being used? Just using "floor space" or "standard solutions" such as normal racking & shelving?
✔ Biggest improvement lies typically in: "Looking up!" Do you still have space above your goods then this might be a path to investigate? Even if the material is not stack-able then many solutions exist.
✔ Similar to the above; is there systematically air left above the goods "within" their locations? Then maybe a re-profiling is in order.
✔ Other option lies in going into more depth with your goods. Either by making it a natural flow for goods (flow- &/ drive-in racks, etc.) that are moving or by placing material more in depth that is not needed constantly/urgently.
⭐In all this an experienced "rack-supplier" is often a good partner to review the potential of improving the density of goods per available warehouse cube.
Finally, there is the "slotting". Here you determine what goes where on a sku level. In optimizing this one can drive a better use of the available space. See what happens if you play with the parameters. Maybe by increasing a parameter a little bit -items can be pushed to another different storage solution enhancing the overall storage health.
✔ Best is to start from an overview with the current occupancy and the slotting parameters used. Storage Solutions that have still space left can be leveraged to make grid-locked solutions healthy again. Either by moving stock to them by tweaking the parameters or when the combination of surplus and shortage is structural to change them over to storage methods that are structurally more needed.
⭐Just make sure to consider the process impact of the moves/re-directions/changes.
☞ Overall you will see that applying these tips leads to a better utilization of the total available cube! 😊
If these basic solutions did not solve the trick, then it can be used to advocate more drastic ones such as expansion, externalization, etc.
To further enable your transformation journey and understand better the potential of your operations feel free to get in touch in