There can be many reasons why a distribution center or warehouse would increase storage density within their facility. Perhaps the company has grown but does not feel that investing in a new facility is the right move. Maybe they are changing their inventory strategy to combat future disruptions in the supply chain, so they want to add additional safety stock of popular products. They could even be adding a new set of products or SKUs and need to accommodate that capacity growth.
When a company is evaluating how to increase storage capacity, there comes the point in which the business needs to determine the best path to create additional storage without increasing the size of its footprint.
What do you do when you have more of each SKU on hand than you used to?
Dense Storage Solutions for Large Items
- Pushback Racking – Pushback racking uses a cart system that is pitched from back to front so that stored materials can gravity flow down into a pick position. When a new load is added, it pushes back pallets already on the rack. This system is ideal for Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) inventory management.
- Pallet Flow – Ideal for First-In, First Out (FIFO) inventory management, pallet flow is created when multiple pallets are added from the storage system load end, and rollers propel pallets downward toward a pick position at the opposite end of the system, allowing for efficient picking and unloading.
Drive-In / Drive-Thru – Drive-In and Drive-Thru racking allow forklift operators to either drive in or drive through racking to pick up or drop off pallets. Because the system requires fewer pick aisles, this style of racking can accommodate a more considerable amount of pallet space than standard racking systems.
- Semi-Automated Deep Lane Storage – With this storage system, a motorized cart (operated by a remote) is used to pick up pallets and transfer it along the storage lane. This type of racking is very user-friendly and allows for quick retrieval of pallets.
Dense Storage Solutions for Small Items
Vertical Lift Machines (VLMs) – VLMs are goods-to-man picking solutions that help deliver trays of smaller products to a pick area. These machines are typically suited for small cube and slower-moving items.
- Mini-Load AS/RS – Mini-load automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are a storage system that will automatically store and retrieve products under 350 pounds within an engineered rack system. These systems allow warehouses to have a smaller storage footprint by creating a vertical, automated storage system.
Several options are available, and the right storage medium will depend on the items you are warehousing. Once you determine the correct solution for your operations, you will also need to reconfigure your picking operation to maximize pick efficiency. Of course, we are here to help you throughout the decision-making process and be a partner that guides you to the correct decision.
No matter what challenges you are seeing, we have the expertise to match you with the appropriate solution suited to meet those challenges while accounting for future growth. Give us a call today!