How to unlock warehouse space for your packing operation in 2023
Do you need more warehouse space for your packing operation? Well, you’re not alone… space is at a premium more than ever before…
According to the CBREs Q3 2022 UK Logistics leasing figures, there aren’t enough ready-to-occupy commercial warehouses to rent. Retail Gazette reported that logistics site availability has dropped by 22.4% year on year as warehouse space continue to be snapped up.
This places pressure on businesses looking to support growth or expansion to new premises. It can also be challenging for businesses stockpiling to counteract problematic supply chains. Plus, limited warehouse space availability impacts businesses that are onshoring operations back to the UK.
So, what can you do to create more warehouse space for your packing operation? In this blog, we’ll look at how you can make changes to your warehouse layout and packaging materials to release valuable storage…
Re-evaluating your current warehouse space
If you’re struggling to find the warehouse space you need, you might think the solution is to upgrade to a bigger site. But in times where commercial warehousing is limited and cost control is important, this may not be the answer.
In fact, it may be time to take another look at the current warehouse space you’re in. Optimising your existing warehouse storage could have lots of benefits versus opting for new premises.
Re-evaluating your current warehouse space is:
- Potentially cheaper to implement and can help you keep costs down
- Allows you to release valuable storage space
- Can highlight other process improvements to enhance packing operation productivity
- Could also have a knock-on effect on transport costs, giving you savings in other areas
With these benefits in mind, are there opportunities to improve your warehouse layout? Or reduce the amount of packaging stock you store on site?
If you’re using packaging and have a packing area on site, there may be an opportunity to provide you with the warehouse space you need to move your operation forward. Let’s look at how you can do this in 2023..
Unlocking the potential of a pallet space
One pallet space takes up approximately one square metre of floor space in your warehouse. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less, depending on the size of the pallet your stock is delivered on. There are two approaches that you can take to unlocking the potental of your pallet spaces…
1. Switch to a just-in-time supply model for your packaging materials
If you’re storing packaging materials onsite, there could be an opportunity to switch to a JIT (Just in Time) supply model from a packaging distributor. This will help you remove high volumes of packaging stock altogether. The beauty of taking delivery of packaging supplies only when you need it, is that it frees up cashflow and space.
The power to unlock space is particularly prevalent if you purchase packaging materials direct from a manufacturer, especially if you buy high volumes to get the best price.
The low price point may seem good on the surface, but the cost of keeping packaging materials stocked in your warehouse warehouse soon mounts up (especially if that stock is slow moving) and ties up valuable space.
2. Consider compact packaging swaps to optimise pallet spaces
Another option to release warehouse space is to look at the kind of packaging supplies you’re purchasing – are they bulky items?
There may be a more compact packaging switch that you can make; two quick examples are:
- Switching from bubble wrap to an “on demand” inflated alternative, dramatically reducing storage space
- A compact block of paper which can fill the equivalent number of packs as 6 bags of packing peanuts but takes up a fraction of the warehouse space
By making smart switches, you can uncover new space! If you have a corner of the warehouse where 20 standard pallets of packaging are stored on the floor, you have the potential to unlock 24 sq. meters of space. That’s potentially enough for 8 -10 work benches.
Optimising your warehouse layout for maximum space efficiency
Is the layout of your warehouse as ergonomic as it could be?
Often, businesses grow organically with new areas added on as necessary. Racking, packing stations, and packing automation areas are added and built as the expansion continues. This “bolt-on” approach can mean your warehouse layout isn’t space efficient as possible.
So, perhaps it’s time to optimise your warehouse layout? When considering how to redesign your warehouse space, there are lots of things you can think about…
What’s the height of your racking? Could it be increased? Is it possible to condense the racking area if you build it higher?
Is racking the best solution for your business? For some industries where components are smaller, particularly retail, pick-bins work much better and mean that more stock can be housed in often the same size – or smaller – floorspace.
A well organised storage and picking area can help you keep additional warehouse rental costs down AND improve your warehouse efficiency and workflow day to day. The ability to increase throughput, without improving overheads, is a massive benefit of redesigning your warehouse space. This is a great advantage if you’re looking to futureproof for growth.
Think of the space you have as a blank canvas; what would be your ideal?
Overhaul your warehouse space in a few short weeks
An experienced fulfilment design team can talk you through the options to maximise your space and apply key learnings from other projects to your operation. They’ll help you to review the picking area and identify the right packaging automation and conveyors to support the free flow of goods and feed packing stations. All of this can optimise your warehouse space.
At Macfarlane Packaging, we’ve used HoloLens technology to help customers visualise the final layout, ensuring that the design works for them. Key stakeholders can interact with the 360° technology in situ with live adjustments made to reposition equipment as required. Not only is this great for experiencing the space, but it also helps to reduce the overall project time.
Depending on the complexity, the average install time for a new pick and pack area is one week one the final design is agreed. It’s the perfect project to consider now for the new year installation, enhancing your packaging operation for long term growth and maximising the warehouse space you already have.
Why not contact us today to find out how we can unlock warehouse space at your site?