Think ahead when viewing warehouse storage
As space costs escalate, efficient use of warehouse space is becoming ever more important. Whether it’s renovation or relocation, concentrating on getting the most stuff in the smallest amount of space is a high priority for the warehouse facility planner. Getting clear about objectives upfront will set the tone for a productive storage planning process. You know it’s time to create more usable warehouse space. But, where is the best place to start? Looking at traffic patterns both for human and machinery interaction? Deciding how high to go to maximize facility use? It’s not just the challenge at hand that must be considered, but the likelihood that when revisiting these issues down the road, space likely will not be cheaper. So, where do you start today to plan for tomorrow?
Following are some items to address to help determine the best warehouse storage solution:
1. Think about vehicle material movement and capabilities in light of what you’re storing and the allocated space. Heavy-duty forklifts and trucks capable of extensive lifting can handle higher vertical storage. At the same time, they require larger clearances for maneuvering through the facility. Other, less robust material movers may dictate a lower-profile storage system with the tradeoff of requiring less clearance.
2. Know what floor loads can be accommodated with existing construction, then analyze whether reinforcement to handle higher-density storage systems merits the investment when compared to the cost of space.
3. Consider ability to adapt present-day storage systems to future needs. Are the systems likely to be future-friendly, or require complete teardown and possible destruction? Examine initial costs of a storage system in light of potential savings during the entire lifecycle—which may include need for portability, and easy relocation and reconfiguration, as well as ongoing savings in rental or ownership costs tied to more efficient space utilization.
4. Evaluate storage tolerances tied to such natural forces as seismic loads. Does the system or portions thereof need to be stronger and/or better braced because of high seismic activity? This will help determine both the type and strength of the system that will do the best job.
5. Decide the appropriate level of storage automation, and consequences in terms of reduced staffing and higher productivity. Automated warehouse systems can range from horizontal carousels and vertical carousels for retrieval challenges up to systems that can handle complete pallet loads virtually without human interaction.
When planning warehouse use, it’s wise to view it in the same light as developing any workspace—especially when evaluating the best storage plan. (Information from www.wbdg.org and www.trifactor.com was used in preparation of this article.) For additional information contact our team at [email protected]. We serve Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Mississippi with full design, delivery, and installation.