Easy Improvements to Increase Warehouse Space Using WMS
There is no doubt that warehouse space is expensive and saving money is a powerful driver for utilizing warehouse space more efficiently. Many WMS (Warehouse Management Systems), such as Warehouse-LINK® from Interlink Technologies, include “built-in” efficiencies that make it easy to improve space utilization and gain space that you never knew you had available.
Before you begin to look at where you can save space, you need to know what you have in the warehouse. WMS is specifically designed to let you know what you have and where everything is located. Warehouse-LINK® provides the tools that allow you to gather specific information about the storage requirements for each product that is in inventory. For example, you can gather and retain information on product size (width, height, depth) that will help decide the best location for that product. You might have business rules that require storing certain products in specific areas of the warehouse (such as in a secured location or in a refrigerated/freezer location) or requirements that certain products cannot be stored next to each other
(hazardous materials or certain ingredients next to each other to prevent cross contamination). Understanding all of these requirements and having access to the information allows you to lay the groundwork to begin a re-evaluation of product placement.
Does it make sense to incorporate replenishment requirements that allow you to keep fast movers close to shipping and set min/max requirements that pull from a replenishment area? This is a very efficient way to utilize space and storage, not to mention decrease fulfillment time.
Do you have seasonal items that you want to move closer to shipping during peak demand times? Most of the time this inventory can be stored in the back of the warehouse and out of the way, but when demand is high these items can be brought forward to a temporary location and returned back after the season slows or ends.
Just-in-time means that the inventory is in and out of the warehouse quickly. Reserves are kept at a minimum to utilize warehouse space very efficiently and cost effectively. When inventory is taking up space waiting for fulfillment, it is very expensive. Just-in-time uses less real estate while keeping up with fulfillment demands.
Don’t be afraid to mix locations when using Warehouse-LINK®. Yes, you can mix the yellow widgets with the blue widgets and keep the quantities separate and fulfillment accurate. You can also store a single item in a single location or multiple locations. Flexibility is the key to improving space utilization.
Without WMS, putting product in random locations is the last thing you want your employees to do! However, using Warehouse-LINK® promotes random locations to a highly desirable feature. "Random locations are appropriate where travel distances are not an important consideration and when overall utilization of warehouse space is important. Random locations are often used for high-variety storage."1