In any business logistics, the storage of parts, supplies, and finished goods has to be accounted for — there’s almost no escaping carrying some kind of asset. And while you may have streamlined your production process, you have to make sure your storage logistics are just as efficient. Your best solution will depend on the nature of the parts or goods you need to store and the distribution or manufacturing model they are supporting, but we’ve put together a brief summary of your options:
Onsite and Small-Scale Storage
The convenience of on-site or self-storage options makes them the natural first step for many small operations, but as a business inevitably faces issues of scale, these options tend to be the first to be re-evaluated. After all, you don’t need to look any further than an unused room of your factory or office building, an outside shed, or even a local self-storage center. While you may want to use self-storage for excess inventory, there are good odds that you should not store any items that you will need immediate access to off of company ground. And pay special attention to any hazardous or dangerous materials — don’t let convenience overtake safety considerations.
Pallet and Racks
In larger operations, manufacturing and fulfillment centers will require more dedicated space, and larger carried inventories of parts or products. Whether this inventory is stored in the same facility or separate warehouse space is tapped for the purpose, this is where static shelving and pallet racks emerge. These static solutions have advantages in cost — they are not motorized or computerized as with more advanced ASRS options. But the use of vertical space can be problematic, as can the safe and efficient picking of cases or goods. Depending on the kind of picking or manufacturing that takes place, these issues are usually mitigated through the adding conveyors in an efficiently-slotted flow.
Horizontal and Vertical Carousels
Horizontal and vertical carousels similar to traditional or static shelving, except they use a revolving storage area inside of the system that is broken up into small compartments. An employee uses the library/computer to find what they need, and the assembly rotates to make those compartments available, typically doing so for several carousels at once. These can be very helpful for manufacturing and production, or for piece-picking fulfillment operations, and in each circumstance are typically able to better optimize the safe use of vertical storage space.
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
Automated storage and retrieval systems are a further advancement over traditional racking and shelving solutions. As a blend between mechanized storage and retrieval and software-driven asset management and process control, ASRS technology is quickly becoming the new standard for production and fulfillment operations. Parts and pieces can be tracked at each stage of the process and made available to a given work or picking station at the exact moment in the process that it’s needed. With such a high degree of automation comes lower safety and shrinkage risks and higher efficiency with a minimum of human labor hours. While the cost of the equipment, itself, is higher than static shelving, this is a highly scalable option for large operations.
Choosing an efficient and effective type of storage is critical for businesses that are looking to minimize costs. Not only will the right system cut down on the amount of space that is needed for inventory, it will reduce the amount of time that employees spend searching for an item. But consider your options, and the future needs of your business, carefully. Companies like Vertical Storage can help tailor a solution to the exact needs of your business.