How to effectively use awkward corners, small aisles or gaps, and ceilings that aren't high enough to accommodate things like pallet racking can be a headache for warehouse managers - but they can provide opportunities if you're creative.
Such smaller spaces can be used to install more compact shelving and storage options that allow you to make the most of the space you have left.
Will these methods replace your pallet racking or existing shelving styles? No - but they can make your team's life a little easier when they need to pack things up.
Solutions for tight spaces in the warehouse
Finding smaller shelves
The first step to making the most of a small space is to find shelving that fits. Look for narrow wire shelves, corner shelves, and even smaller riveted shelves that can slide into tight areas. Knowing your storage options can go a long way toward helping you understand the types of spaces to look for and how to best use them.
Think about the number of items coming in to you
Most of the time, when you have items shipped to you, it's usually filled with pallets, right? But for those items that tend to come in smaller quantities, it can be hard to know where to store them without getting lost in the shuffle of other products.
This is where a small space can come in handy! If you have enough space for a half-pallet rack, you can easily use it for half-pallet quantities (or smaller) of items to help them be easier to find and avoid taking up space that might be needed for larger items to sell faster.
Create cross-docking space
Cross-docking is especially useful for any items that sell faster, or for any items you don't have room to store in your general inventory area, and it doesn't require a lot of space to create. If you have a small amount of space near the main dock, set up some shelf space to create cross-docking areas, giving you time to store and record these items without having to spend time adding them to the main inventory before they arrive to be shipped back.
Look for areas with other facilities
Many times, underutilized warehouse space comes from large installations that may be difficult to address. Look around your warehouse for things like gravity conveyors that you previously thought would take up too much space on other shelves, and start getting creative! Install a warehouse mezzanine that can stand on top of the conveyor, allowing your team to still move product while adding more floor space for inventory and product storage.
When you're looking for small spaces in your warehouse, be sure to use your imagination and look for spaces you may not have considered before!
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