Four Ways to Maximise your Warehouse Space after Lockdown
The Coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed the way we shop by greatly increasing ecommerce sales whilst high street retailers remained closed.
However, shopping trends won’t return to ‘normal’ for a long time, even once lockdown is fully lifted. Consumers will most likely continue to be wary of small physical spaces in shops and the threat of infection, therefore, many will continue to predominantly shop online.
The predicted percentage of consumers switching to online shopping, which was expected over the next few years, has happened within eight short weeks.
Already, many big brands have gone into administration during the pandemic, including Oasis and Laura Ashley, unfortunately, many more are expected to follow suit. The Centre for Retail Research anticipates a total of 20,622 stores will close in 2020.
What does this mean for warehouses?
As the likelihood of online-only stores increases, warehouses will generally need to hold more goods. With the increased addition of more goods, there will be increased activity in Warehouse operations.
Beyond the pandemic, warehouses will likely need to allocate more space per person in both working and resting areas, with improved hygiene facilities and touchless technology to avoid risk of infection, any wasted space will need to be repurposed to accommodate for these factors. The home and fashion retailer Next had to temporarily close down their ecommerce operations until they had put efficient warehouse protection measures in place, which shows how some warehouse facilities will need to be completely overhauled to meet new safety standards.
Amazon’s warehouses range from 400,000 to 1,000,000 square feet in size to fit their massive quantity of stock. However, not every business can afford this amount of space. So how do we optimise the space we do have?
One of the most obvious ways to save on floor space is to build upwards. Pallet racking provides a great option, with increased capacity for stock and easy manoeuvrability. Greater storage volume (higher storage density up to 75%) and the ability to better categorise aisles for faster picking will in turn provide increased efficiency.
There is a choice of vertical racking to suit any warehouse operation from drive-in racking to double-deep racking. Heavy duty pallet racking is constructed with merchandise in mind, so damage by storage will be minimised and less floor-level storage will prevent risk of injury.
Working hand-in-hand with compact racking, Very Narrow Aisle Articulated trucks are the ideal solution to operate in narrow aisles without compromising efficiency. Thanks to their integral side shift and tight turning circles, VNA forklifts allow for more compact storage even with awkward or long loads and therefore increase warehouse space.
Our Aisle-Master articulated forklifts can work in aisles as small as 1.6m wide and work perfectly in cold stores and temperature-controlled environments, which is ideal for warehouses working to meet the high demand for delivering fresh produce.
Mezzanine flooring maximises the use of vertical space in your warehouse by doubling or even tripling your floor area with minimal disruption. Mezzanines offer a quick and simple solution by adding additional storage or office space to almost any size warehouse. It’s also unlikely to need planning permission because they are so easy to install. As mezzanine floors aren’t built into your building, they can be easily deconstructed and moved if necessary.
Warehouse Management systems
Improving your inventory management can help to utilise your warehouse space in the most efficient way possible.
There are several warehouse management systems available to keep accurate track of what’s selling well and what isn’t, where products are located and how much stock is being damaged etc. This will not only increase staff efficiency, it will also help to move stock faster and eventually free up more space.
At Multy Lift, we’re dedicated to optimising your warehouse processes to help you get through lockdown and thrive in ‘the new normal’. Get in touch today to see how our range of new and refurbished forklifts can improve your operations. Call us on 01623 794 094 or complete an enquiry form.