Is your facility developing a space issue? Before you start looking to move or build out your current facility, consider these 10 creative ways to gain additional room.
1. Consider automated storage: Automated equipment such as automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), carousels, vertical lift modules and shuttle systems can hold a large volume of goods in a small space.
2. Mount conveyors overhead: Free up floor space by hanging conveyors from the ceiling on brackets. This allows room below for picking or for forklift traffic to flow unimpeded.
3. Add a mezzanine: Building a mezzanine can provide addtional workspace for picking, packing and value-added areas.
4. Opt for narrow-aisle storage: Narrow aisles within storage areas allow for more rack positions within the same footprint. Wire-guided forklifts and reach trucks are typically used to access products in narrow-aisle operations.
5. Optimize your inventory: Remove obsolete and excess products from your inventory to free up space for new SKUs.
6. Use the space above your dock doors: Use the space above dock doors to store maintenance items, packaging materials, cleaning supplies and other items that you aren't needing to use on a daily basis.
7. Invest in slotting software: The use of slotting software can maximize the amount of inventory stored within each rack or shelf position.
8. Use multilevel pick modules: Picking modules can be built with multiple levels to provide easy access to many products within a small footprint.
9. Use pushback and drive-in racks: Drive-in and pushback rack allows products to be stored several pallets deep along the rack fronts.
10. Raise the roof!: If your facility has a low clearance height, consider expanding upward. There are construction firms that specialize in raising the roofs of facilities, providing space for additional racks and mezzanines at a fraction of the cost of a horizontal expansion.