When you have a new pallet rack system installed, it can be tempting to just eyeball it or directly place the new pallet racks exactly where your old ones were. Unfortunately, eyeballing it can be completely useless. And just putting the new ones where the old ones were? You’re squandering an excellent opportunity to improve your warehouse’s efficiency.
When it’s time to get new pallet racks, we always suggest you make use of a professional warehouse designer in order to get the most space from your warehouse and the industrial pallet racks inside. An expert in warehouse optimization can use software to calculate the absolute best way to make use of every square inch of your warehouse, which could solve you a lot of problems in the future. When you speak with them, you’ll probably discuss the various options regarding how wide to make your aisles. Let’s take a look at the aisle options and what a more efficient space can mean for your warehouse.
What Are The Size Options?
In general, there are three basic widths of aisles between pallet racks. The first is called standard and is the most common, which is the aisle width for your basic forklift. This width gives a twelve-foot space so that a forklift can turn around.
The other two size options are narrow and very narrow. As you might expect, these types of aisle widths require specialized equipment to make them work. Narrow aisles often require a stand-up reach truck (standing forklift), while very narrow aisles will most likely need wire or rail picking.
How Do You Choose?
There are many aspects that you and your warehouse space optimization expert should look at when it comes to deciding which aisle width to go with:
- Get Rid of Some Aisles – It might sound strange, but getting rid of aisles is an option. If you have inventory you don’t have to access that often, double deep pallet racks might allow you to compress your pallet racks and do away with some aisles altogether.
- Think About Your Inventory – If your average pallet rack is full of large items, or if the weight necessitates standard counterbalanced forklifts, you’ll probably need to stick with standard aisle sizes. But if you often deal with smaller or lighter items on your storage racking, you might be able to squeeze things together a bit more.
- Your Equipment Might Decide – The cost of your current equipment always has to be considered when it comes to switching from standard aisles to something more narrow. Will you save enough money switching to narrow aisles to offset the cost of selling your counterbalanced forklift and purchasing stand-ups? We can help you figure out the cost savings of changing aisle widths versus replacing your equipment.
- Go Half and Half – Depending on the kind of inventory you have, you might be able to reduce the aisle space between some of your pallet racks and leave the rest of the inventory space as is.
What Can More Space Do For You?
What can reducing your aisle size — and warehouse optimization — do for your bottom line? Let’s take a look.
- Keep More Inventory – The primary reason that most warehouse managers contact us for a warehouse audit is that they’re running out of space and want to keep more inventory in the same space. Reducing aisle widths can certainly help with that.
- Make Customers Happier – Having the item on hand and being able to get to it quickly will make your customers that much happier
- New Inventory System – If you’re doing a complete redesign of your warehouse, it might be time to implement a new warehouse management software (WMS). Doing so could make you more efficient across the board.
- Keep The Same Warehouse – Too many warehouse managers think that their only option when they want more space is to expand the current warehouse or build a new one. While there are situations in which that makes the most sense, many times simply hiring warehouse layout optimization experts can prevent the need for such a huge expense.
Contact DAK Today!
The fact is, making the most of your warehouse space can save you lots of money, so it’s always a good idea to bring in a warehouse optimization expert. When you make use of every inch possible, you can hold more inventory and satisfy more customers. You’ll make better use of your employee’s time, and you might even be able to prevent building a second warehouse altogether. Remember, the decisions you make now could affect your warehouse capacity for years to come.
If you’re unsure about the width you’ll need — and honestly, it can be difficult to tell without the right warehouse layout software — it might be time to contact a professional. Call DAK Equipment and Engineering to get the process started!