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More on Warehouse Space Optimization - Part I

Warehouse Optimization and Warehouse Space Optimization - Part II

So, we have gotten rid of returns and excess product - now we need to get to the meat of this discussion - how to store better and more of the product you need to keep in your existing facility. To store more product in a given space you must make better use of the total available cube. The following are places where cube can usually be found.

  2. Above shipping, receiving, office and other lower height storage areas, using drive-in rack or pallet flow rack can easily pick up 25% more storage space.

    Another use of overhead space is to utilize the storage rack over the pick slots to store the extra inventory of the product being picked below. When replenishment is required, all that is necessary is to drop the product from above. An additional benefit is the elimination of additional conveyor and mezzanine expense.

  4. Use narrow aisle fork trucks. Sometimes aisles are kept at a uniformly large distance because it seems to be required by the building's column spacing and fork truck requirements.

  6. By storing stacked or racked products 2,3,4 or more pallets deep, you will increase the percentage of space used for storage and eliminate several access aisles. Normally, you have one half aisle for each facing of pallet rack. If the product does not stack well, consider using portable/removable stacking frames for at least the lower levels. It also works well to store stable product on the lower 2 levels with the more fragile products on top. I have visited one operation with large numbers of pallets of relatively few items, where product was stored 4 pallets high and 11 pallets deep - one slot held a FULL TRUCKLOAD of their high moving items.

  8. If your average pick slot is 1/3 full (stand at the end of the aisle and scan the slots on each side), increasing it to 1/2 full could generate 1/3 more cube. Using a range of pallet and pick slot sizes will allow correct sizing for each individual item based on its carton size and movement.

  10. Each rack bar requires a clearance above the floor or lower level product. By having fewer bars, you also reduce the cube lost to the space needed by the bars themselves. Each extra bar can mean up to 15 cubic feet lost. If you had 300 bays of pallet rack, eliminating one level of bars could free the equivalent of 9000 cubic feet for pure product storage.

  12. Just fill these reserved areas with as many pallets as you can hold. This works best for holding product that does not have to be rotated by lot number or date. This can also be used for storing out-of-season items.


A more costly solution (but still economical compared to a move to a larger facility), this option requires the purchase of special pallet rack and at least one double reach fork truck, as well as wider aisles to accommodate the fork truck reach assembly. This allows pallets to be placed 2 deep and several levels high. This has an additional advantage for replenishment - once the front pallet is depleted, the uncovered rear pallet can be immediately available. For this option to be feasible, of course, your WMS needs to be set up to support double deep slot numbering.

More on Warehouse Space Optimization


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"Hi Art, you are very welcome for the references. You may not know this but we RAVE about the suggestions you made to us for our "Distribution Center", and how right your suggestions were…" Dan G., Pres., Pipersville, PA.



"I look forward to having you involved for our DC implementation plan and in future endeavors as well. Your input was extremely valuable to us". Brent T., President Jacksonville, FL



"This move is incredibly difficult - I would never have been able to do this without all your great help"! Dave W., Owner, Chicago, IL.



"First I wanted to say that all your suggestions work great!  Thanks so much.  Secondly, in the later part of May, we will be moving out of our current facility into a new one.  I was wondering if I gave you the layout could you draw up a design.  You told me if there were ever changes, just ask for a new layout, so here I am.  Thanks a lot!"  Bob V., Owner, New Kensington, PA



"I know it has been a while, but we finally signed on a new building, and are looking at a mid July move.  We have three dock highs, and two roll ups.  Please do your magic and lay out the floor space.  Thanks."  Rami R., Owner, Chatsworth, CA



"The renovation is going great.  The large shelving is all moved and the small shelving is about 75% in its new location.  A company is coming in Tuesday to build the new shelving...then we can start to relocate all the product.  Thanks for all the help."  Jeff L., Operations Manager, Victoria, BC, Canada.



"We've received the final report, thanks for the summary of findings and the recommendations.  What was most valuable for us was the process of getting to the goal and the discussions around it…  Thanks again for your help…Joachim S., Systems Manager, New York, NY



 "I'm proud to say that our first day of production in our new location was March 6.   Thank you for your work on our behalf.  Looks like we got off to a fine start in the warehouse and picking areas.  It's always a pleasure hearing from you."  Charlie T., Project Manager, Amityville, NY