4 Steps to Redesign Your Warehouse Space in 2016

Dustin Caudell
Tue, Jan 5, 2016
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Going vertical helps warehouse managers use space.

If a company is still in the market for a new year's resolution, it might be time to reorganize its warehouse space to save money and increase efficiency. New technology makes it easier to gain oversight and make plans based on informed decisions and outside data. As a company designs its inventory storage space in 2016, it should use automated data collection solutions to try new ideas and find the best possible system for warehouse management and storage.

Here are four steps to redesigning you warehouse space:

1. Look at Available Space
When a company takes the initiative to redesign its inventory space, the first step is to audit available resources and determine how to put current investments to best use. The Raymond warehouse equipment company said a space is completely utilized when it is 85 percent full of inventory. If the products don't take up the vast majority of the available shelves and floor area, then it's time to move things around.

For example, once a company realizes what equipment it uses to transport products and supplies, it can plan paths accordingly. After a year or two of driving a forklift down hallways, employees reporting activities through mobile data collection should indicate if hallways are wider than necessary or better routes for direct movement are necessary.

Knowing what happened in the past allows for companies to plan the future. If managers try to densely pack their warehouse space, historical data allows them to see which merchandise needs to be upfront and convenient and which items can move to long-term storage.

2. Move Up
After inventory management teams take stock of what they have available compared to what needs to be done, they can determine what investments must be made. If historical data demonstrates how a new shelving system could improve normal operations, it makes it easier for warehouse teams to plead their case to upper management.

One of the best ways to make use of open space is to go vertical with warehouse designs. Stacking inventory up to the roof ensures employees don't miss out on opportunities for practical storage. This may mean companies need to invest in taller multi-leveled shelves or a mezzanine floor. A new vertical plan may also call for assets to reach higher storage, such as lifts or ladders.

3. Remove Dead Inventory
Businesses don't just audit and make plans for space and assets, they must investigate how products move through a building. When a product stops moving, there is a problem with supply chain logistics that must be solved through a new inventory solution.

Dead inventory are products that sit in the warehouse but never get moved to customers. It could be caused by a lack of demand or the introduction of a superior model to business offerings. Inventory managers need to look at the reasons and then prevent it from happening again, especially if the cause is directly related to warehouse operations like spoilage.

Performing a full audit of inventory before a warehouse redesign helps decision makers create plans to prevent past mistakes and find a better answer for daily needs. The RFgen white paper "8 Signs You Need an Automated Data Collection Solution" said eliminating inefficiencies is one of the primary advantages of modern technology. Workers can count stock with mobile data collection devices in hand so the collected data matches records and problems are visible. As employees clear dead inventory, creating a data trail stops it from happening again and makes sure each foot of space is used to its full potential.

4. Go Green
Green business practices are about conserving available resources. When companies make the most of their investments and space, its good for the environment and the business's bottom line. The Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance Center said organizations can save money in their warehouse operations by redesigning the space to conserve heat and light.

For example, employees should check their current lights to make sure they are clean and in good condition so money isn't wasted on dim lights. Companies can also look at historical records to plan automatic lighting to go along with normal activities.

Saving money on power and climate control is beneficial for the warehouse, but it also gives the company something to market. Designing a smart inventory space is advantageous to all invested parties. 

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