The space in a typical warehouse is majority dedicated to spaces for pallets on racking. More pallet spaces give the potential for more product to be stored and more opportunities for growth and profits for the business.
Best-selling items are handled in larger volumes and often these ‘bulk’ items are seen as the most profitable, so there is almost always a need for more bulk pallet spaces in a warehouse.
But warehouses today face the challenge of keeping much more than just pallets. The modern consumer marketplace demands that warehouses keep larger numbers of SKUs whilst reacting instantly to customer orders, so that their business can compete effectively. Smaller, individual orders are now picked alongside pallets and cartons.
In this warehouse example, 20% of the SKUs make 80% of the turnover. These SKUs are the best-selling, fast-moving items.
Because they make less turnover, the other slow-moving 80% of the SKUs, need to be handled as efficiently as possible. Although these slow-moving items are the profit engines. If they could be consolidated into a smaller footprint, this would allow more space for the best-sellers.
A limited quantity of each of these SKUs is taken from their pallets and staged in smaller pick faces made from beams and decking in the lower levels of pallet racking. This divides what was 2 pallet spaces per bay, into multiple shelving levels, with the width of these levels also divided. Higher rack locations remain occupied with pallets and the lower levels are accessible on foot. Around 40 x 300mm₃ pick faces could fit in a racking bay, where previously 2 pallets were kept.
This makes better use of the footprint than a pallet space would and allows more individual SKUs to be kept and picked more efficiently.
Under-utilization and Dead Space
The depth of the pallet racking directly affects the depth of the newly created shelving levels. In the example above, the depth of pallets stored in the higher locations could be 48” (1200mm), and so any beams with decks in the lower levels will have pick faces that are also that deep.
This is usually too deep for the items being stored, leaving under-utilized or inaccessible cubic space at the rear.
Often this space is referred to as ‘dead space’ that exists in the racking, but is not used. In theory the space could still be used, but in practise a picker would have to move an item out of the way to access the item behind it, which leads to a host of operational difficulties, errors and inefficiencies.
Ultra-Consolidation with Storeganizer
Removing lower beam and deck levels, gives space to ultra-consolidate.
Storeganizer’s lightweight solution divides not only the height and width but also the depth of the racks into multiple rows, transforming the dead space in a warehouse into accessible pick faces.
By allowing rows in front to move aside on an universal overhead track system, each cubic inch of the bay becomes accessible, as pickers gain easy access to the rows behind and in front. This allows the creation of additional pick faces using existing space and infrastructure.
From 40 per bay, the number of pick faces in the bay now more than doubles to 108, after retro-fitting Storeganizer to the lower levels of their existing pallet racks.
Ultra-Consolidation reduces the time it takes to move from one pick location to the next, helping a warehouse operation increase it’s speed and efficiency, whilst giving over maximum space to the fast-moving SKUs.
In our example, the customer had 20 rack bays before receiving Storeganizer. These bays had been adapted to include levels of shelving decks, with 40 pick faces in each bay suffering from the ‘dead space’ phenomenon mentioned above.
These 20 bays represent 800 pick faces, taking up space that could have held 40 pallets.
After implementing Storeganizer to ultra-consolidate SKUs the 20 rack bays were transformed into just 6 bays, with 864 pick faces.
What previously took 40 pallet positions in the warehouse now takes only 12, giving 28 additional pallet positions and 64 more ultra-consolidated pick faces in a smaller footprint, whilst substantially improving the efficiency of the picking operation.
Releasing pallet spaces by putting smaller, slow-moving items into better utilized, denser pick faces allows a greater focus on fulfilling the best-selling SKUs and bulk orders which can return the greatest profits.
Want to know how others applied Storeganizer in ultra condensing their stock and warehouse?
Check out our case studies