Here’s some simple tips to maximize storage when square footage is limited!
1. Develop a plan for where you store things
This may sound silly, but having a written plan helps communicate where things should be. For smaller operations, have like parts stocked near each other, maybe put large items up and small items low. Whatever makes sense for your business, but have a plan and communicate it.
2. Use bin and shelf locations
For many companies, this is already in place through a WMS (Warehouse Management System), but for smaller or younger companies lacking a WMS, there are a couple ways to make this work. A super simple spreadsheet listing each part and its corresponding location can do the trick. You could also use a custom field in your ERP system and have it print on pick slips and inventory reports. The big thing here is to make sure the locations are clearly labeled.
3. Have a clear stock strategy
We deal with large quantities of loose parts. It goes with the caster business. We keep a useful amount in a super market pick area and back stock the rest according to our storage plan.
4. Clearly label
This was covered a bit in tip #2, but clearly label everything. When space is tight it can be hard to move products around to find the label. When stock is put away it should always be “labels out”.
5. Honking isn't rude
If you have high ceilings, you probably already have high pallet rack. Shelving, though, normally only goes 7’ tall. Adding a prefabricated steel mezzanine adds valuable square footage to your existing facility.
6. Choose sealed bearings
One of the gripes with mezzanines is that you have to hand carry product up and down stairs or use a forklift to drop products on a higher level. Both of these solutions are problematic. Hand carrying products is repetitive stress and can lead to back and shoulder injuries; hand trucks are notoriously dangerous, being the number one cause of workplace injuries in industrial environments. VRCs are conveyors that move product, like an elevator, from one floor to another safely and efficiently.
If you need help with this stuff,! Our mission is to improve material flow for our customers, and part of that flow is having the right tools and strategies to store and retrieve parts easily and effectively!