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Managing Space in a Warehouse

Managing Space in a Warehouse

Calculating the Total Storage Capacity of the Warehouse

  • Calculate the complete square footage of your warehouse. 
  • Subtract the total square footage of space that is used for non-storage purposes. This should include any office space, bathrooms, loading areas and other space where you cannot store goods. 
  • Determine your building’s clear height, which is the distance from the floor to an overhead object. 
  • Multiply your total square footage of usable space by your facility’s clear height to determine your warehouse’s storage capacity in cubic feet. 

How to Maximize Warehouse Space Utilization

  • Evaluate whether you can extend your racks up vertically

Extending racks up is usually the “lowest hanging fruit” to create more space. Typically, new buildings have ESFR which is a fire suppression sprinkler system, and you can store inventory within 18 inches of that area. 

  • Consider installing a mezzanine above a floor-level process

One of the best ways to increase space is to add a mezzanine. Installing a mezzanine above a floor-level process, like a shipping or receiving area, can nearly double floor space. 

  • Reduce aisle width in the racking area

A wide aisle can range from 10 to 12 feet, but if that can be reduced to anywhere from five to eight feet, 15 to 20 percent of the area can be saved. When considering this option, lift equipment must be evaluated. 

  • Evaluate and change your storage medium

Change the storage medium to higher density equipment, moving from a single-deep rack to a double-deep rack for example. A double-deep rack requires a reach truck to load pallets. Push-back or drive-in racks are also higher density equipment alternatives. These options are great for adding storage, but the problem becomes FIFO: first in, first out. Higher density limits accessibility to the first-in pallets.

  • Add half-pallet locations for product that comes in half-pallet quantities

Adding half-pallet locations can save space since some product comes in only a half-pallet quantity. 

  • Leverage your warehouse management system for directed put-away

Directed put-away is a great way of creating or saving space in a warehouse as well. It’s usually directed by your warehouse management system where instead of the put-away rules being just “put the pallet wherever you want”, directed put-away knows what locations are best suited for pallets. 

  • Identify underutilized space

Use space you never thought you had before. There’s often space above receiving or shipping doors where pallet racks full of supplies, slow-moving materials, or staging for inbound or outbound product that hasn’t yet been processed can be placed. 

  • Store product in trailers for short-term, seasonal needs

Storing products in trailers is sometimes a necessary solution to temporary storage needs. Many warehouses will bring in extra trailers and pay the demurrage charge for temporary storage without a building expansion. This is frequent for seasonal product, especially among retailers.

Storage Capacity versus Speed of Retrieval

  • Storage systems are used to store materials related to the product (e.g. raw materials, purchased parts, work-in-process, finished products, and scrap and rework), the process (e.g. process refuse, such as process waste products; and tooling), and the overall support functions in the factory (e.g. maintenance spare parts, office supplies, and plant records). 
  • Storage systems can be classified into 
    • conventional storage systems 
    • automated storage systems.

Conventional Storage Systems

  • Conventional storage methods and equipment refer to how storage is regularly accomplished, and the pieces of equipment that is used to achieve storage aims.  
  • Storage methods and equipment include: bulk storage for use by pallet trucks and powered forklifts; rack systems for use by pallet trucks and powered forklifts; shelving and bins for use by manual attendants or powered forklifts; and drawer storage for use by manual attendants. 


Automated Storage/Retrieval Systems

  • An automated storage/retrieval system (AS/RS) is a storage system that performs storage and retrieval operations with speed and accuracy under a defined degree of automation. 
  • Different levels of automation may be applied. 
  • At one extreme, the AS/RS is completely automated. This can include a full complement of totally automated, computer-controlled storage functions that are integrated into overall factory or warehouse operations. 
  • At the other extreme it may use human workers to control equipment and perform storage/retrieval transactions. 

Learning Activities

  1. Inadequate storage space and inefficient use of available storage are common problems in warehouses. Produce a short paper of approximately 2,000 words explaining how you would address both these issues.
  2. Visit any warehouse close to you and determine the following:
    1. Space management
    2. Space maximization strategies in use
    3. The use of FAST in space allocation.

Learning Activities

1.This quantity of supplies to be kept in a warehouse is determined by the following except?  

  • lead-time needed 
  • the type of distribution system 
  • frequency of distributions 
  • the nature of the goods 
  • none
  1. Due to space constraints at the docks, the truck can be parked in two formats, either 
  • 45 degrees and 180 degrees
  • 60 degrees and 90 degrees 
  • 90 degrees and 180 degrees
  • 90 degrees and 45 degrees

3.Four significant elements come into play when designing or laying out any storage facility. These are?

  • Flow- Accessibility-Speed- Through Put
  • Flow-Accuracy-Security-Time
  • Fast-Adopt-Safety-Technology
  • Flexibility-Agility-Speed-Time

4.When calculating the space required for the receiving and shipping staging area, the following are considered, except? 

  • Number of receiving dock doors 
  • Number shipping dock doors
  • The turnaround time for each dock 
  • The Size of the delivery vehicles
  • None