How Dynamic Storage Systems Enhance Warehouse Efficiency
Achieving warehouse operational efficiency requires a multifaceted approach, with investments in everything from fulfillment technology to a precise warehouse footprint. However, perhaps no component is more critical for warehouse efficiency than finding the right warehouse storage solutions.
Investing in optimized warehouse storage solutions is foundational to creating effective inventory fulfillment strategies. It separates streamlined warehouse operations teams from those bogged down with inefficiencies and poor productivity, and warehouse managers know it. In one recent survey by Modern Materials Handling, 49% of managers said they planned to invest in better racks and shelving — more than any other category.
Yet, many warehouses are plagued by disorganized shelving systems or squeezed by space limitations without a clear path toward something better. Simply tacking on inventory management technology or expanding their footprint won’t improve their operations. Instead, investing in dynamic storage systems can be a pivotal first step toward improving warehouse productivity.
Challenges Facing Warehouses
Warehouse managers face numerous challenges in their efforts to maintain efficient operations. Pandemic-related supply-chain challenges and growth in consumer demand have only exacerbated some of the following trends.
1. Outgrowing Current Storage Space
Space constraints are a constant source of pressure for warehouses. In 2022, the average warehouse reported a peak space utilization of 85.6%, with 37% operating at over 95% capacity during peak seasons.
Such tight margins create substantial growth barriers. By some accounts, a mere 5% increase in inventories across the industry could necessitate up to 1 billion additional square feet of warehouse space — an investment many companies are hesitant, or flat-out unable, to make.
2. Poor Inventory Visibility and Organization
These space constraints are aggravated by poorly organized inventory in many warehouses. As many companies grow, they squeeze inventory anywhere they can fit it, which makes it difficult for employees to find and access what they need quickly. It becomes increasingly difficult to make the most of an existing space without efficient storage strategies.
3. Inefficient Picking and Replenishment Processes
Besides poor warehouse storage optimization, many operations are bogged down by inefficient order fulfillment processes and systems for inventory replenishment. Standard pallet racking with flat shelving alone doesn’t allow for easy access, and implementing first-in-first-out (FIFO) stock rotation practices in static shelving slows the process even further. It’s no wonder that 60% of warehouse operators report labor efficiency as a significant barrier to improving warehouse productivity.
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Benefits of Implementing Dynamic Storage Solutions
At the center of these challenges often lies an incomplete approach to warehouse space management. Many companies still rely solely on static storage solutions — fixed shelving with fixed inventory that limits storage and picking options.
While static solutions still play an important role in many warehouses, omnichannel e-commerce demands more flexible space utilization and streamlined storage processes. Dynamic storage systems can transform and optimize warehouse space management and order fulfillment in several ways:
- Efficient space utilization for cost savings: With dynamic storage, staff can fill every inch of available shelf space. Cartons in the rear move forward as others in the front are picked, or individual picking cells can be moved aside to access more products, maximizing the use of existing shelf space.
- Streamline inventory management and order fulfillment: Because required inventory is always accessible in a dynamic solution, employees can more efficiently process and pick orders without having to reach for products stored further back on static shelves. This makes it easier to keep products organized, visible, and within reach.
- Enhance productivity, profitability, and competitiveness: Dynamic storage accelerates the entire process of finding and picking inventory for order fulfillment. Inventory is condensed on fewer shelves, FIFO happens automatically, and employees can access products more quickly. Greater warehouse efficiency and fulfillment processes enable a more productive team, making the whole warehouse more profitable and competitive.
Choosing the Right Dynamic Storage Solutions for Your Warehouse
Every warehouse has its own unique fulfillment demands, and no single storage setup is right for every situation. Warehouse managers are tasked with selecting storage solutions that fit their inventory needs and help their teams stay organized and maximize efficiency.
Finding the right dynamic storage systems for your warehouse comes down to understanding your own needs for picking, fulfillment, and space utilization. Do you need shelves that allow for easy FIFO storage and carton movement or ready access to full pallets? Is high-density storage and fast picking of smaller products a top priority?
Your answers to these questions — and more — will help you determine the dynamic storage setup that makes for maximum operational efficiency.
UNEX Solutions for Dynamic Storage
Thankfully, you can streamline storage processes and boost warehouse efficiency through an effective mix of warehouse storage solutions.
UNEX offers a wide range of shelving and order fulfillment solutions that can fit within your existing pallet racks and warehouse footprint, such as:
- SpeedCell: These movable columns fit within existing pallet racks, creating easy access to inventory for each picking, whether it’s in the front or rear columns. Overall, this increases storage density by 40% to 60%. With an ergonomic design and a range of column sizes, SpeedCell allows for highly customizable picking solutions and far more SKUs within a single bay of pallet rack.
- Carton Flow: Carton flow racks make stock rotation simple through easy rear-to-front inventory replenishment. This takes the work out of FIFO inventory management and reduces the time employees must spend searching for products on disorganized shelves. UNEX offers solutions that fit everything from boxes to beer kegs.
- Pallet Track: When it comes to your fast movers, you need inventory storage that can keep up with the pace. Pallet Track offers two-deep storage lanes on angled, movable tracks that are installed within existing pallet racking or directly on the floor. This not only makes existing inventory easier to reach, but it also allows you to store multiple pallets that smoothly move from back to front. That means less frequent fork truck use, enhanced employee safety, and less time picking orders.
These are just a few examples of dynamic storage in action. Whether you’re optimizing your retail operation or expanding your 3PL warehouse to accommodate more clients, we can help you plan efficient storage strategies that work for your business.
Unlock Your Warehouse Potential With Dynamic Storage
Warehouse storage optimization has never been more critical than it is today. In a world of supply chain challenges and fast-evolving e-commerce, warehouses can’t afford to be disorganized or make poor use of space. Flexibility is the name of the game, and dynamic storage systems can help warehouse teams become more adaptable and efficient.
Ready to learn how dynamic storage can take your warehouse to the next level? Contact UNEX today, and we’ll help you plan for a new era of warehouse efficiency.