Retail giant Woolworths Limited has said, “Quality and freshness don’t come easy. “ It is why their Perth distribution centre has over 600 people working around the clock to coordinate the logistical supply from the farms to supermarket shelves across the state. It is critical for businesses to have a warehouse solution that will make their supply chain process efficient, scalable and safe.
The way customers receive the end product is dependant on the processes that are used at the distribution centres. As inventory demands grow, warehouse upgrades are needed and more challenges with managing the supply chain process can occur.
Upsizing your warehouse doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Below are a few ways you can upsize your warehouse.
Invest in pallet racking solutions
There are several pallet racking solutions that warehouses can use to their advantage. Making better use of your lateral space can be achieved with better aisle and stock area planning. Pallet racking (or even investing in second hand pallet racking) can increase your inventory storage by improving the height accessibility dimensions in your warehouse.
Consider the use of raised storage areas
Another solution is to create raised storage areas. This can improve the floor space of your warehouse by creating a mezzanine floor area by making use of unutilised overhead space. Raised storage areas are a low-cost solution that can easily be assembled.
Tunnel rack solutions
The area where the aisles crossover usually has underutilised overhead space that can be used for storage. They can be turned into back-to-back rack sections. The only thing is netting should also be added to prevent the risk of workplace accidents from any potential falling inventory.
Convert unused space into useful locations
You can improve the productivity of your warehouse by making better use of unused space. You may increase the stock checking bays so you can get more pallets out for distribution. Or your warehouse may invest in pallet wrapping machines that can wrap your pallet stock securely for distribution.
Warehouses that have underutilised space that they cannot use sub-let their unused space to other businesses that require storage requirements. The benefits of this approach is that you maximise the amount of space that is being used in your warehouse, while offsetting the income towards the lease.
*Note – This is popular in the USA through sites like Flexe.com, but it is still a relatively new concept in the wider international market.
Sometimes, you might find that your warehouse is holding too much of the wrong product. Sales projections may have been incorrect or the inventory levels might not be managed properly. Having the wrong product could see your warehouse holding onto the inventory for months or even years. Obsolete inventory has little or no value to the open market. The earlier it is identified, the quicker the business can cover any losses and better manage its assets.
A similar issue can occur when too much of the right product is stocked. An abundance of the right stock appears great since warehouses will be able to fulfil every order at 100%. However, pallets may end up in aisles or being stocked in dock areas, leading to safety hazards and negatively impacting productivity.
There is a classic saying in the warehouse industry that goes “If there is available space, someone will eventually fill it.” The challenge for warehouse managers is to monitor and successfully manage the use of warehouse space so that it aids their supply chain management objectives, as well as the warehouse’s operational efficiency. Several clever solutions exist. It is up to the warehouse managers to use the ideal solution that fits in with their business objectives.