As ecommerce changes the rules of retail game, the players need to find smart ways to stay competitive and fulfill their customers’ demands. The supply chain flow is faster than ever and warehouse operators hold key positions in this flow.
For Logistic Packaging, working with distribution companies and warehouses, one thing is clear: the number one challenge is making the most of the available warehouse storage space. Merchandize must always be available for shipping and as demand increases, so does the minimum required inventory for each product.
The Key Challenge for Warehouse Managers: To Expand or Not to Expand?
Of course, the quick fix to this issue is expanding the warehouse storage space. But this is an expensive investment. Real estate prices are going up. Building costs are also very high. Except for a few global retail giants, such as Amazon and Alibaba, the majority of distribution companies do not have the financial power to support continuous investments in new storage facilities.
On the other hand, if they are unable to keep up the flow of product deliveries, they risk being left behind, losing their customers and, eventually, going out of business. So, what is the adequate solution?
As logistics and packaging experts, we have good news for you: there are ways to increase your inventory without having to expand your storage facilities. The secret to this apparent paradox can be found in the ways you organize, allot and use the available space you already have.
Logistic Changes that Improve Storage Space Usability
As a result of our long experience working with clients in the warehousing and distribution business, the Logistic Packaging team has prepared a list of recommendations and best practices that will help you maximize the usage of your existing storage space.
1. Choose Rigid Pallet Boxes for Bulk Products
Products sold in bulk represent a significant percentage of the merchandize in most warehouses. Traditionally, they are simply stacked in their original packaging (sacks, wooden crates, cardboard boxes). But this is neither safe, nor space saving. Producers use these packages as a temporary solution and because they are cheap.
Once the products reach your warehouse, they should be transferred into rigid pallet boxes. These packaging materials are specifically designed for use in the warehouse. They are sturdy, reliable and compact sized. Certain models are provided with castor wheels to help move them around the warehouses. Other models have access doors that help your employees load and unload products quickly and easily.
2. Rethink Your Labeling System
A well organized warehouse makes the best use of all available space. At Logistic Packaging, we believe that an efficient racking system with clear labels can transform a poorly organized warehouse into an efficient one.
Using Placard label holders or welded metal label frames, you can allot areas for specific products, as well as portion your warehouse for different activities (such as: loading/unloading area, storage of empty package materials, aisles for forklifts, etc.). These label holders are designed for long term use and can withstand standard rack washing procedures.
3. Invest in Foldable and Collapsible Containers and Boxes
Every warehouse we have visited prior to making packaging recommendations suffered from the same issue: lots and lots of valuable space taken up by empty reusable packages or single-use packages waiting to be collected by the waste disposal company.
This space can be easily put to good use, to store products or expand your loading area and increase the efficiency of your logistic operations. Foldable large containers, stack-nest boxes and collapsible shipping containers are professional packages designed to keep your products safe during transport and storage. They are also designed to save space when they are not in use – certain models reduce their volume by up to 80% when they are folded down.
4. Choose Professional Logistic Equipment for Your Warehouse
Manual labor is not only slow, exposed to risks of accidents, but also inefficient from the point of view of space use. Employees tend to select the place they consider most convenient for order picking or for unloading an incoming shipment of products. If you add up all the areas occupied in this manner, you will realize that they represent quite a significant area.
5. Educate Your Employees on the Importance of Saving Storage Space
Change comes, first of all, from within your company. Explain to your employees how valuable warehouse storage space is in your warehouse and create rules they must follow, such as:
- Storing empty packages only in the designated areas;
- Implementing the FIFO system for bulk merchandize;
- Keeping aisles free for forklifts and other logistics machines.
The Logistic Packaging team of experts is ready to assist you with advice and professional packaging materials to improve the use of your warehouse storage space. Send us an email or schedule a live Skype video call with our packaging specialists!