Laying out your warehouse strategically means choosing the locations of each piece of equipment to best accommodate your needs. Every square foot of your space is critical, so facility managers always want utilize each and every one.
But making the most of your square footage doesn’t begin with layout. The equipment you choose has a direct impact on how much of your space is dedicated to infrastructure, inventory and workspaces.
Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there to help you maximize your warehouse area, giving you room to stock up on inventory, support a larger workforce or capacity to grow when it’s time.
When you can’t grow out, grow up. The average warehouse in 2017 was more than 32 feet high, a 3.7-foot increase since 2002, according to a CBRE report. The demand for taller clear heights is increasing. More companies are shifting to ecommerce business models because this increases storage area. When investing in a taller warehouse, remember that you’re not just paying for square footage; you’re paying for cubic footage.
Mezzanines help you make the most of your vertical space. You can store more inventory on your mezzanines. This may be a great option if you need increased security surrounding a certain set of products. The mezzanine could only be accessible through a locked gate. This is a concern particularly among international freight forwarding companies when items arrive before the proper paperwork can be processed.
Mezzanines can also give you space for a comfortable employee break room separate from the production floor. Outfit it with a cafeteria, tables, comfortable seating and a TV or two. Your employees will appreciate the room to relax.
Automatic storage/automatic retrieval systems
Choosing the right warehouse racking system is a major factor in making the most of your space. Automatic storage/automatic retrieval systems are one of the best racking systems for increasing space. These are tall, making use of warehouses’ growing clear heights. Goods are stored vertically and retrieved using a control panel rather than employees physically seeking out items’ positions and removing them from the storage units.
AS/AR systems are also beneficial for increasing ergonomics in the workplace. When employees need to retrieve items, they use a control panel, which delivers the product directly to them. There’s little need for bending, twisting or stretching to obtain the product. These actions can lead to musculoskeletal disorders, especially when workers need to repeat such movements over and over again throughout their shifts. MSDs can include back injuries, muscle tears, sprains and strains, and they are very common in warehousing, transportation and construction, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Vertical dock levelers
Space around your loading dock is particularly valuable, as this area is where much of the movement in your facility happens. Dock levelers that are stored vertically provide more floor space than traditional pit levelers, providing your employees with more room to work efficiently.
There are additional benefits to vertical dock levelers too. They’re operated with a control panel, making them more ergonomic in the same fashion that AS/AR systems are more ergonomic. They also allow the dock door to close completely with a tight seal, making them less prone to drafts and more energy efficient. This is important in any operation that invests in heating or air conditioning, but it’s imperative in any cold chain operation with climate control.
Maximize your warehouse space with help from Miner
Whether you’re just moving into a new building and need to outfit it for your needs, or you’ve been in your space for a while and want to upgrade your facility, it’s important to do so strategically. Each piece of equipment you invest in makes an impact on how your operation is run and the amount of space you have available.
To learn about which assets can best serve your company, contact Miner. Our experts will come to your building, assess your needs and make brand-agnostic suggestions that can improve efficiency and safety.