How to Optimise your Storage

Thinking about creating some extra storage space?  Not sure how to go about it?

First, start with your minimum stock or handling size, to work this out depends on what you do, so for example if you are in steel it will be probably around 6m, or if you are in grocery it will be around 1.2m x 1m i.e. a pallet size. If you are in jewellery micro electronic components it will be small part bins or special container storage. After that the next decision is how to handle the goods, either using mechanisation to manually, bulk pick or by basket or trolley for smaller items.

Time is always critical, so a good packing or despatch station is usually a consideration.

The rule is touch it as few times as possible though the work place only as necessary, because handing adds cost. The longer it is on your warehouse the more overhead it carries.

Have a strong eye for stock rotation two of the most expensive commodities in warehouse are dusty products and dusty shelves.

If you are handling any sort of volume then a good management system is priceless, especially if you are man down. It means you can still find product and work. Specialist knowledge only works when the specialist is there. Do as much as you can to guard against that.

After that try to pick scaleable systems and locations so that if you move to a new location the original investment still works for the business. So that…

These systems will work in both shelving and pallet racking.

Shelving – Hand picked goods (manual access equipment for higher levels or tier) best eave height not less than 5 m

Pallet racking – palletised goods (Fork lifts make sure you minimise aisle width 3m down to 1700mm. Best eave height not less than 6m anything above 11m takes too long to access and you need a different system

 A fork truck is good for about 90 – 110 lifts a shift that is quite intensive and can’t be achieved with 60m+ round trips including a lift a set down per cycle in a busy warehouse. Unloading can achieve more on shorter cycles.

Scaling Up

Block stacking is the most stock you can get in, next is roll forward, double deep and push back and live, then mobile with is chassis mounted and blocked up utilising a single aisle access opening at the appropriate rack face.

Single pallet access requires much more space for higher turnaround stocks, bulk pick and pack and general break bulk and is generally supported with workstations conveyors and picking trollies which may be ferried about on oversized pallet rucks called LLOPS and anachronism for Low Level Order Pickers

For both pallets and shelves there are HLOPs I suppose but no one calls them that they are call man up or VNA machines (very narrow aisle)

At this latter point automation becomes possible by crane of truck and the racking is capable of simply being clad to provide an entire warehouse system.

10 Tips

Good Labelling reduces errors

Clear aisle markings and level identifications speed up operations

Make sure the safe working loads a stated and don’t flush face pallets, it’s dangerous

Keep an eye on conditions every day, repair and replace damages rack

Set your shifts or operations up sensibly, avoid fork trucks on one side and pickers on the other

Try to keep fork trucks away from picking staff

If necessary split shifts to work more safely and productively

Don’t wait until things break!

Train, training is cheaper than damage and lost orders

Leave room for marshalling and packing operations and quarantining locations.

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