Cheap is not the keyword warehouse managers should focus on as they look to increase their profits. The best way to design an efficient and effective warehouse is to look for the material handling products that will protect worker safety, streamline procedures, and reduce wasted space. Spending money in places that dramatically increase efficiencies is where you will get the most return for your money.
Rethink Standard Selective Racks
Many companies choose selective pallet rack systems based solely on their ability to offer high-density storage. However, many companies miss the added benefit of having their racking system create a better flow of products to match their inventory program. A successful design for one company may include the ability to access and rotate stock quickly in the smallest location possible and with a minimal crew. For another company, a successful design may be to have the most flexibility possible to accommodate for constantly changing situations.
One possible solution is to include a push-back system into their warehouse. This would reduce the number of aisles and increase the depth utilization. Pallet flow is another high-density system that maximizes depth usage. Talk with a specialist to walk you through which option might fit your needs the best.
Avoid the Savings Trap
One of the reasons for the popularity of selective rack systems is its affordability. The units can increase storage density over traditional storage racks, but overall warehouse operational costs do not necessarily decrease with their purchase. The amount of inventory a building holds is never an accurate way to measure its profitability.
The goal is to move as much freight through a warehouse with as little investment as possible in people, equipment, and building expense. The overhead costs will far outweigh the money saved when companies use inefficient material handling solutions.
Before making a decision, review a variety of warehouse layouts to determine how each would affect the volume of merchandise movement and the tools and people needed to carry out the movement. Also, look at wasted storage space and determine how that space can be better used in a dynamic manner. LIFO systems, like push back systems can enable one-way aisles that waste less floor space, reduce rack impact events for less maintenance expense, and offer a safer work environment.
Too often the use of cheaper selective pallet rack systems is due to the budget rather than the needs of the warehouse. While it might cost a little more upfront to get a better designed system, the cost savings in efficiency and man hours will quickly make up for the extra expense.
Make Smart Technology Updates
Every industry has used technology in some way to improve its efficiency. Unfortunately, blind faith in every type of innovative development is not recommended. There are automated options that could be great additions to the warehouse, but often times the newer products promise a lot and deliver problems. Maintenance and downtime are a critical concern and when these problems arise it can quickly diminish the value of the upgrade. A comfortable mix of human-controlled material handling with proven automation is often the most efficient choice.
Companies that succeed are those that have a skilled staff of workers with the right inventory selection method and the most efficient racking system. The flexibility in each of these enables a warehouse to operate just as seamlessly when they are suddenly inundated with orders as when they operate during less demanding times.