The traditional warehouse combines a mixture of bulk storage and pallet racks. The former is ideal for facilities that have to deal with large quantities of goods both arriving and departing on a regular basis, as these can be stored in the original containers on the warehouse floor. For items that don’t sell as quickly, these can be moved onto to the pallet racks where they can be stored out of the way of employees until they’re needed. Eventually, though, many businesses find themselves in a situation where sales slow down and they start to become space constrained.

Making the Most of What You Have

The first step to increasing your warehouse storage capacity is to make sure you’re fully utilising the existing space you have. For many small businesses, taking on further square footage is a cost they cannot bear so this is the ideal situation. To increase your pallet rack density, you’ll need to make sure the entirety of the “vertical cube” is optimised. The vertical cubeen compasses all of the space around the load, the space above the cross aisles, and the total building clearance.

In order to use machinery like pallet trucks, available from suppliers like Handling Equipment Online, the opening height within the rack should be approximately six inches larger than the load height. This will allow equipment to safely load and unload the goods without the risk of damaging them. Try taking a sample size of your products and divide the average vertical bay of product height by the available height in that area of the warehouse. If the space utilised is under 50%, you should be able to make a dramatic increase in your overall storage capacity. An optimum facility should be operating at around 75-80% of space utilised.

Other Techniques to Increase Your Overall Capacity

If you still find yourself in need of extra storage, consider converting the space over the cross aisles into tunnel racks. By placing back-to-back racks across the highest top levels of your facility, you can expect to increase your storage capacity by between 5-10%. When using tunnel racking, it’s crucial that you employ some kind of safety netting to prevent any loads from falling over areas where employees may be standing. Custom-built beams designed to the exact measurements of your warehouse need to be used to eliminate these risks of danger.

When faced with the situation of an overcrowded warehouse, many companies think the only solution is to move to a larger facility. This can not only expensive, but it could also cause significant downtime to your business. While any physical changes that you implement in your warehouse will incur a cost, you’ll find that utilising your existing space to be a far more cost-effective solution to the problem.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.