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Vertical Space Utilization in Warehouses: A Guide to Maximizing Space Efficiency

Vertical Space Utilization in Warehouses: A Guide to Maximizing Space Efficiency
A vertical storage warehouse in rhode island

In a packed warehouse, every inch of square footage counts. So, if you want to make the most of your warehouse’s capacity, vertical storage solutions could get the job done.

Several potential vertical storage solutions could help improve your warehouse layout, from simple vertical racks to automated storage systems. But which is the right one to maximize your storage space? That’s what we’ll go over. Below, learn more about vertical storage systems in warehouses along with their pros and cons. 

What are the advantages of adding vertical storage in a warehouse?

Beyond offering more storage space, other advantages to adding vertical storage into your warehouse include the following. 

  1. Cost-savings. It’s typically more cost-effective to take advantage of your building’s existing space than expanding the floor plate.
  2. Better organization. You can see your inventory sorted into neat, vertical storage racks, helping you keep better track of items. Improved warehouse organization could, in turn, boost your customer service, thanks to your newfound efficiency. 
  3. Saving floor space. With vertical storage solutions, you can free up space in your warehouse’s aisles, giving your employees more maneuverability. 
  4. Employee safety. You can organize your vertical storage units to place popular items closer to the ground, so employees don’t need to bend or reach as often. This could help you keep warehouse employees safe and minimize potential injuries. 
  5. Time-savings. By grouping similar items together into centrally located vertical storage units, employees can spend less time gathering them. This could boost your efficiency and provide faster shipping times. 
Vertical storage benefits model

How to use vertical space: 6 Vertical storage solutions for warehouses 

There isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all vertical storage solution in warehousing. Plenty of options could provide different benefits. Some of the most common vertical storage methods include the following. 

Pallet racking systems

Pallet racking systems are one of the simplest vertical warehouse storage solutions. They organize palettes into rows on metal shelves. Employees can access palettes on higher shelves via a forklift and lower shelves from the ground. 

Thanks to their simple designs, pallet racks are one of the most cost-effective storage solutions. They’re easy to arrange into different warehouse layouts. They also come in different styles for specialized storage needs, like Cantilever Racks for lumber and pipes. 

Pallet flow racks

Pallet flow racks are vertical storage systems that use gravity to your advantage. The flow racks are built on an incline, with the loading side on the higher end and unloading on the lower side. Palettes are placed on rollers or conveyors, which allows them to slide downhill toward the unloading area. 

Pallet flow racks operate under a “first in, first out” system, meaning the oldest items are the first to be unloaded. This can minimize waste for perishable items, like food. Since the rack system uses gravity to move items, it doesn’t require any power. So, flow racks are a wonderful energy-efficient storage solution 

Vertical carousels

Vertical carousels are automatic systems that move shelves up or down in a circular motion, like like a ferris wheel. They bring items to a comfortable lifting height for employees, allowing you to eliminate hazards associated with ladders and forklifts. According to some storage manufacturers, they can save up to 80% of a warehouse’s floor space. However, they can be expensive to install with some models starting at around $50,000. 

Vertical Storage Mezzanines

Mezzanines are semi-permanent structures that are built between your warehouse’s base and ceiling. If you don’t have the budget to build a permanent second floor, a mezzanine structure could provide a happy middle ground. 

This effectively gives you an additional floor to store palettes, tools, and equipment. You can even convert the mezzanine floor into office space, allowing you to save money on rent. What’s more, if you change your mind about the layout, you can take the mezzanine apart and rearrange it. However, mezzanine floors will need building regulation approval. 

Vertical Mobile shelving

Mobile palette racks are similar to standard warehouse shelving, but they sit on a rail system that allows them to move across the floor. Your storage shelves are compacted into one space, like an accordion which helps to maximize your floor space. When you need to access inventory, simply slide the shelves to create an open space and easily retrieve your items. 

Mobile palette racks are ideal for cold storage since they can maximize the number of items exposed to cold air. However, they run on electricity, which doesn’t make them the most energy-efficient storage system available. 

Vertical Storage lift models

Vertical lift modules are another automated vertical storage system that automatically transports items on vertical shelves. When a warehouse worker needs to unload one, they can scan a barcode, and the automated system will automatically locate the correct shelf and move it down to an unloading station. 

This system can help promote employee safety since warehouse personnel won’t need to bend over to retrieve items or operate a forklift. However, vertical lift modules are more expensive and require computer software and hardware support. 

A Rhode Island warehouse for your storage needs

Of course, sometimes the best storage solution for your business is to outsource it to a trusted partner. So, if you’re looking for a third-party New England warehouse, N&D Transportation Company is here for you. 

Our Rhode Island warehouse features a vertical racking system, allowing you to take full advantage of our organized inventory management. You can lease as much storage space as you need for as long as you need it. We’ll handle the overhead, so you can focus on other aspects of running your business. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.