A warehouse that has a large amount of unused space is a warehouse that’s not being effective.
The more product a warehouse can hold, the more useful it is to the company. That’s why many warehouse managers find themselves getting a little creative with their warehouse shelving. After all, if they can hold more, they can make more money.
Many warehouses also have wasted space in them. This dead space can be put to use in a number of ways.
When Warehouses Run Low on Space
While it’s not unusual for a warehouse to be full, most of the time there is at least some empty space. However, there are some times during the year that the warehouse is packed, and it’s during these times that any extra space would be helpful. Seasonal peaks, shipments of new products, a company experiencing rapid growth, and, on the flip-side, a time of very low sales can all be times when a warehouse will run out of room. A good warehouse manager will be able to see these times coming and prepare accordingly.
Unfortunately, no warehouse can magically expand to fit more inventory. It can be hard to overcome space limitations, and eventually, every inch will be accounted for and the warehouse will be truly full. When this happens, or when huge loads are brought in that the warehouse cannot manage, one option is to create temporary outdoor shelving. This can be hastily erected scaffolding or a more permanent metal shelving system. Either way, just remember to keep an eye on the weather or have some kind of cover in place. You don’t want the weather to ruin anything.
Remember that in addition to spreading out, you can also spread up. Obviously there are some major safety issues here—you don’t want to stack things too high, nor do you want to stack anything potentially dangerous in an area where it may fall. However, warehouses do tend to have high ceilings, and that means there’s usually a lot of empty space up there. Make use of it if you can in a safe and OSHA compliant manner.
Rent a Short-Term Overflow Facility
Right up front, know that this is going to cost you a good amount of money. Short-term storage contracts are often much higher than long-term contracts, which means you’re going to be paying a premium for this extra space. You’ll need to do the math to make certain that the cost of renting temporary storage is worth it in the long run. Be sure to include the cost of utilities for these facilities and any other costs that may be involved.
Redesign Your Warehouse
This may seem like a drastic measure, but if you’re always facing a lack of warehouse shelving, it may be time to redesign your entire warehouse. This gives you the chance to move your shelving around so that it makes the most of the space you have. But don’t just look at the shelving. Would it be more space-efficient if you moved the offices to another part of the building? What if you tore down a wall or moved the loading docks? Also use this space to think about other changes, such as improving warehouse safety.