What to do if you run out of warehouse space

When a business expands, it needs to hold more stock. Ecommerce customers are demanding a wider range of lines, and many warehouses are running out of storage capacity. Fortunately, there are ways to increase a warehouse’s capacity, and we’ll explore these in the following sections.

Reduce inventory

If sales can be accurately forecast, demand can be satisfied with lower stock levels. Some items may be seasonal – for example, there may be peak demand in the summer or at Christmas. Make sure that seasonal items are in low stock during off-peak-demand periods.

A quality warehouse management system will be able to compare the average demand for each line with stock levels. This data can be used to identify overstocked items, where stock levels can be reduced.

If possible, make arrangements with suppliers to deliver less stock, but more frequently during peak periods, so that stock levels are able to satisfy short-term demand.

Improve storage density

There are several ways to improve storage density. Narrow aisles can have more shelving rows added. At Steely Products, we supply narrow trolleys that can easily be manoeuvred around less-than-standard-width aisles.

If there is spare space above items on shelves, reduce the shelf space to fit in more shelves.

Add extra storage areas

Another way to increase storage capacity is to use containers, trailers or sheds that are parked in the yard outside the warehouse. Often, extra storage space is required on a temporary basis. For example, many retailers need more stock at Christmas than during the rest of the year.

If possible, insert a mezzanine floor that uses the upper part of the warehouse height. Move offices and welfare areas from the ground floor to the mezzanine level to make room for extra shelving.

Another option is using fulfilment centres as extra storage areas. Not every item has to be stored and dispatched from the warehouse. If it makes financial sense, store some items with a fulfilment company that also processes orders and handles dispatch.

Redesign the warehouse

A more drastic way to find extra space is to reorganise the whole warehouse with a new layout. Use computer software to design a layout that better utilises the space.

Move to a larger warehouse

If all the above have been considered, and the warehouse is still too small, firstly congratulate yourself that your business is doing so well, and then move to a larger warehouse. The new warehouse should have a greater capacity than needed for your current stock levels to provide space for future growth.

Consider your equipment

If you are planning to either redesign a warehouse or move to a larger site, you should also look at the quality of equipment being used. Talk to us at Steely Products about our range of storage and material handling equipment. We also design bespoke equipment to fit specific warehouse operations. The best warehouse design in the world is inefficient if it lacks quality equipment that is well designed and reliable.

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    Posted by Mark
    31st August 2021
    Retail & Warehousing

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