When growing your business, you don’t always have the funds to rent or buy more warehouse space. But when the warehouse is a must-have part of your business, you must find other ways to make the most of it without expansion. Much of making the most of your warehouse will come down to using your business analytics to make smart decisions about which products should go where.
Something that costs no money but will take time is a simple reorganisation of your products. Almost all businesses, when they first have a warehouse, don’t use the space effectively, and that causes chaos later on.
Take a look at your products and consider whether they could be moved into a better place. Grouping products by type or frequency of purchase together can make a big improvement pretty quickly.
Without good inventory management, you will likely have many excess products. And perhaps you have decided to keep them because you might manage to sell them later. Usually, the excess product is excess for a reason. The space that you have shouldn’t be used for products that might not sell.
Make it your mission to dispose of these items. You can bulk sell them on eBay or donate them depending on the product. Either way, removing it will make room for products that actually sell.
Adding an extra floor will give you a lot more almost immediately. A mezzanine floor offers extra floor space that can be used for storage or used as an office space. No matter what size of mezzanine you decide to add, you will be increasing the square footage of the warehouse – and as a bonus, they are flexible, so you can have them anywhere you need.
If you don’t need to use a forklift, then you can have your racks as close together as you like within reason. A narrow aisle can make it difficult for a regular forklift to travel and get products. It is possible to increase the total amount of storage you have if you don’t need to have a 12ft aisle width (standard forklift).
Containers can be the best way to store products. Ensuring that the measurements of the products are taken in advance so you know that you can fit the right quantity of products that can be stored in them. Containers can be stacked and organised so that you can find inventory faster when required.
Overly complicated storage methods will slow the process down in other ways and ultimately make picking and packing more difficult. While simple is best, try to avoid random organisation (where you put anything anywhere so long as it fits). Random organisation makes the best use of the space, which means you can rarely find what you need at high speed.
Talk a walk through the warehouse, and use the purchase information to make smart decisions about the layout. Take into account hazards, electric sockets, emergency exits and more.
Improved warehouse management is part of the back end of your business, and there is always room for improvement; here are some other tips: Improving the ‘Back End’ of Your Business.