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…When You Can’t Build a New One

We’ve all heard it time and time again: Ecommerce and demand are increasing at a rapid pace. Distribution centers and warehouses are reaping the benefits – so much so, that they’re building new warehouses to meet the demand.

But if you’re looking to expand, you may run into some problems. An article by FreightWaves suggests that due to steel and semiconductor supply shortages, you may have to wait up to nine months before you can even get your hands on the materials. In light of this, companies are asking themselves: How do I maximize warehouse space if I can’t build a new one?

You might look at your warehouse and wonder how you can accommodate even more inventory. You might not even have a good idea of what’s on those shelves. That’s where Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) can help.

Arranging Your Warehouse
There are two points to consider when you arrange your warehouse:

Whether your current layout best maximizes the space
Whether your current layout is helping or hurting your workflows

Maximize for Space
Note how tall your shelves are, where they’re placed, and how they’re currently organized.  Warehouse space isn’t just about the warehouse floor – it’s possible to maximize every square foot by building up into the vertical warehouse space you already have. Positioning your aisles closer together also creates room for additional aisles.

As you build up into your warehouse, don’t forget to leverage your AIDC system. With the right barcode label and scanner, your employees can scan barcodes from up to 50 feet away. This will help to mitigate any disruptions to productivity as you shift things around.

Maximize for Workflows
Consider the popular products you sell. When these items are stored far from one another, it means more travel time for your employees. This is why we suggest organizing your warehouse by demand, ensuring high-demand items are together and in an easily accessible spot.

Creative Ways to Make Space
If you still find yourself needing more space, there are a few more creative ways to expand.

Donate Low-Demand Products
If you have inventory that hasn’t been touched or is in low demand, consider donating these items. You can write-off eligible products under the U.S. IRS Code Section 170( e )(3)*. This not only frees up warehouse space and gets you some tax relief, but it also ensures these products are being put to good use by people in need. That’s a triple win!

*We’re barcode and RFID experts, not tax specialists. For tax guidance or questions, please consult a tax professional.

Lease Out a Remote Warehouse
If you can’t build that new warehouse, it’s possible that you can lease or rent out another to expand your operations. These warehouses could store seasonal or low-demand items – it’s up to you. When deciding on leasing a warehouse, it’s important to weigh the pros and the cons, and that it is delivering an ROI to your business.

Planning for Demand with AIDC
Before you begin to maximize your warehouse space, you’ll want to know what you have in stock. Barcodes, RFID and sensing technology all offer a streamlined way of taking inventory for faster cycle counts and accurate data, following your products from the moment you receive it in to when you ship it out.

This puts you at an advantage. The data you collect identifies what’s flying out the doors and what’s collecting dust on a shelf. When you purchase accordingly, you’re putting your space to better use and successfully meeting your customers’ demands at the same time. You’ll also feel as though you have more space, since you’re purchasing based on those revolving-door items.