For many businesses, their warehouses and distribution centres are an integral part of their operation to distributing stock efficiently to ensure customer needs are met. Maybe, however, warehouse operations haven’t changed in years, which can lead to issues which stop them from operating at their full potential.
There are a number of reasons why a current warehouse set-up needs updating. It might be that a racking inspection has highlighted areas of improvement, or the business needs have changed. Perhaps there are issues with inventory, such as missing stock or pick errors which are creating additional expense for the business. Or maybe there are safety concerns with racking systems which need updating.
Whilst a relocation may be the only way to satisfy a growing business, often times there are ways to update existing space to satisfy these changing requirements.
Reconfigure the layout
It may be that reconfiguring the layout of the warehouse is sufficient to create additional space. This could be achieved by using different types of pallet racking, such as narrow aisle or push back racking. Both of these racking systems take advantage of smaller footprints whilst providing high density storage capacity.
Mobile racking can also increase storage density whilst saving up to 40% of the floor space conventional racking uses. The racks move in a concertina to create or remove space between them, reducing the overall footprint needed. Mobile racking can be operated manually, remotely or computer.
Multi-tier shelving is a quick and simple solution to adding extra storage capacity. Heavy duty uprights bear the weight of the structure and stored goods, with walkways linking the shelves. This is a cost effective way of reconfiguring the warehouse space with a system that remains separate to the building structure.
If a warehouse has sufficient unused height, a mezzanine floor can be an ideal solution to create additional usable space. They are a great way to gain extra space without the need to relocate or buy / rent additional warehousing.
Mezzanines don’t just create extra storage space as they can be used for additional retail floor space, showrooms and offices. They can be single or multi-level, with the only restraint being the available headroom.
Modern warehouses are having to evolve to meet new demands and automated solutions are one way they can do this. It is possible to have individual units, or a fully automated warehouse depending upon your business requirements and budget. Whilst an automated warehouse might not be a necessity, it may be a business objective to invest in state-of-the-art technology to facilitate future growth opportunities.
Automated systems can be utilized for pallet storage through shuttles and cranes, whilst miniloads and vertical lift modules are designed for storage and retrieval of smaller, often hand picked, goods.
These solutions are ideal for high density storage as they maximize the available height of the warehouse, whilst providing safer working conditions for operators and improved stock management, security and pick times.
There could be a need to update the safety systems within a warehouse. These can occur for a number of reasons, such as a workplace accident or increased warehouse activity through extra staff or fork trucks. Safety measures can be put in place to protect pedestrians, operators and inventory, and racking.
Pedestrian safety measures include floor markings to designate safe passages and walkways, traffic barriers along the walkways and safety gates at the end of the walkways to facilitate crossing. Bollards can also be used, especially at vehicle entrances, to add further safety measures. Operators can be protected from falling goods, which can subsequently be saved from damage due to falling, by the introduction of mesh or netting fixed to the back of the racking (depending on requirement and preference). Mesh and timber decks can be attached to racking to avoid components falling from the different levels. Backstop beams can also be fixed to the back of racking to avoid pallets from being pushed over the edge, protecting workers and goods.
It is important to protect the racking, which is made from light gauge sections of steel, from damage. There are a range of protection solutions available, such as upright protectors and rack end protectors. These can help to protect the racking from damage caused by fork trucks driving into them. Anti-collapse meshing can give additional structural support to runs of racking to stop them buckling if a collision does happen.
Amenities and Access
Whilst updating the warehouse, it might be worth reviewing current amenities, such as electrical output and lighting to ensure these are the most energy efficient and cost effective solution for the business.
The introduction of additional storage solutions may mean it is also necessary to install extra sprinkler systems, which could also be stipulated by insurance policies.
Further enhancements can include updating access routes, such as walkways between mezzanines floors, chutes and lifts for inventory and additional stairways for pedestrian access.
Quickline can help you identify areas for improvement and design bespoke solutions that work for your business and budget. Why not contact us today for a chat to see how we can improve your current warehouse?