In the world of ecommerce, warehouse capacity refers to the amount of space a warehouse has for storage, preparing inventory and fulfilling orders. There are two types of capacity: theoretical capacity, which is the physical capacity of the warehouse (vertical and horizontal); and working capacity, which is the space available based on the size and weight of the products being stored, the amount of inventory on-hand necessary to meet demand and the space necessary for the team to locate products and fulfil orders.

Once you understand how much capacity you have in your warehouse, you can start planning the best way to use it. In this post, we’ll look at the issue of warehouse capacity planning and ways to optimise your warehouse space.

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how to maximise warehouse space utilisation

One of the good things about operating a warehouse is that the many different aspects of it create lots of options when it comes to optimising your warehouse facility. Here are a few some ways you can achieve this

  • extend racking vertically;
  • install a mezzanine;
  • reduce aisle width;
  • use underused space;
  • implement warehouse slotting;
  • assess stock;
  • re-evaluate your warehouse space;
  • be more flexible with your layout.

extend racking vertically

Making use of vertical space by extending your racks upwards is a ‘low hanging fruit’ kind of solution, but be aware of pitfalls such as the racking uprights or base plates being the wrong size. Consult a structural engineer to confirm whether extending your racking is viable.

Your next challenge is choosing the right racking. Pallet racks, which are basic racks and are good if you have lots of different types of inventory; carton flow racks, which push down older inventory and are useful for first in first out (FIFO) inventory processes; cantilever racks, which are ideal for long inventory such as piping or lumber; and a mezzanine, which is basically a platform that adds a second level above your warehouse floor; are all possible options.

install a mezzanine

Installing a mezzanine is one of the best ways to increase warehouse space. In fact, installing one above your receiving area, shipping area or other floor-level process almost doubles your storage space. Again, be aware of the pitfalls before you do it. Your mezzanine floor must be able to withstand all the weight on it. Columns and base plates will now drop to the floor and could get in the way of floor-level operations.

reduce aisle width

You can save as much as 20% space if you reduce your aisle width to around five to eight feet; however, before doing this, consider whether your lift equipment will still be able to operate in the narrower space.

implement warehouse slotting

Warehouse slotting maximises space and makes picking processes more efficient by organising stock and storing it by the SKU number, product number or other characteristics. Ultimately, it places close to each other items that people often order together, cutting steps taken. Well organised warehouse slotting not only increases space, but also lowers costs and improves inventory management. Warehouse slotting can be short term or long term, and although it will take time and continuous improvement, it can enhance your bottom line.

Assess stock

Taking inventory regularly is crucial to free up warehouse space. Do you have multiple items of stock that’s not selling? Are small items of stock taking up room in a larger space that could be better used? If you know exactly what you have in stock, you’ll avoid over-ordering and hanging on to stock you don’t need. Clear out ‘dead’ stock.

re-evaluate your warehouse space

Although it may take a little time, examine everything in the warehouse and investigate its use, whether it’s the shelves, the walls or the ceiling. Are you taking full advantage of your space? Look for areas where you could compress space or add more storage. It’s surprising how much space you can save when you try to find it.

be more flexible with your layout

Ideally, you want to consider issues in the planning stages to avoid a costly redesign of your layout; that being said, however, you should assess the design of your warehouse once a year and re-slot your warehouse to serve your business model appropriately. Warehouse layouts can easily become outdated. Adopting a more flexible approach will enable you to capitalise on helpful features in your warehouse management system (WMS) that facilitate dynamic slotting.

why is warehouse space planning important?

Good warehouse space planning is important because it affects efficiency and productivity directly. The warehouse layout should organise processes into a logical sequence that drives productivity, reduces costs and streamlines operations. Choose the right layout and you can minimise travel time, allow your workers easy access to goods and boost your order fulfilment rates.

Ideally, you should allocate as much space as possible for storage and processing inventory, and minimise the amount of space you allocate for office space, empty boxes, etc. The space allocation will also have an impact on shelving designs, installation capacity and goods placement in the facility.

It’s essential to take into account all your business’s requirements during planning. If you start building your warehouse facility but then change the design during the process, this will incur extra costs in the form of labour and further materials.

how to calculate your warehouse space utilisation

Working out your warehouse space utilisation can help you to optimise your warehouse facility so that you can cut costs, boost productivity and improve your bottom line. Calculating space utilisation is a four step process.

1. calculate your total warehouse square footage

Take your total warehouse square footage as a starting point. Subtract from it the square footage the office space, toilets and other non-storage areas take up. Then multiply the remaining warehouse square footage by the warehouse space clear height (the distance from the finished floor to any overhead object) to get the storage capacity in cubic feet.

2. calculate your inventory cube size

The next step is to calculate your inventory cube size. This includes the racking areas in which you store inventory. Use your storage area footprint to multiply the length and width of racks by the height of the highest load in each area. To arrive at your inventory cube size, add this cubic volume for each area.

3. work out your storage cube size

You may have established the total storage capacity of your warehouse, but you need to determine your actual storage cube size. This involves measuring the footprints of your pallet racks and then calculating their total vertical storage capacity. Then multiply the capacity of each storage rack by the total number of warehouse racks to give you an idea of your current storage cube size.

4. evaluate your space utilisation

Comparing your warehouse cube size to your inventory one is the final step. Divide your inventory cube by your storage cube to establish how well you’re using your space. Don’t forget to avoid including your total warehouse storage capacity in this calculation because that’s merely theoretical. You need space for your workers and forklift trucks to operate, for material handling and for racks.

ways to solve warehouse space problems

Optimising your warehouse is all about making the most of the space and organising your warehouse and its operations so that the entire outfit runs smoothly and efficiently. There are several different solutions that are relatively straightforward to implement, such as assessing your stock and evaluating your design regularly. Here are a few more suggestions:

Consider changing your storage medium

Changing your storage medium to higher density equipment is an effective way to increase your storage capacity. One way you can do this is by switching from single-deep racking systems to double-deep ones. Push-back racks and drive-in ones are other high-density options. Note that FIFO is a problem, though, because then it becomes harder to access the first-in items.

Create or add half-pallet locations for half-pallet quantities

Some products only come in half-pallet quantities, creating opportunities for you to save space by creating half-pallet locations. When you condense your pallets, you can put more of the product in the same area without too much white space.

Using the directed put-away function on the WMS

Instead of workers just putting products where they see space, some WMSs will guide workers on where to put pallets. The system understands where the best place to put pallets is and will direct the workers to put the goods there. It’s a great way to save space and create it.

optimising your warehouse with an automated loading solution

An important part of a warehouse’s operation is the loading of goods into trucks and from them, and the transfer of the goods into the warehouse.

We can support you with this through the use of our Automated Loading Systems, helping you to unload materials from truck trailers for transportation to the required part of your storage facility, or to load your truck with your finished products.

This isn’t just about transferring your items from one place to another efficiently, however; when you incorporate our systems into your logistics, you can conduct your operations safely, even when working with high volumes of goods. The automated nature of the systems also means your raw materials or products are unlikely to suffer much damage, if any at all, during loading or unloading.

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Although the Trailerskate is especially suitable for businesses in the fast moving consumer goods (FMGC) industries and packaging industries; has helped them to boost their speed and output; and to operate more safely; this automated solution works well for many businesses. It’s simple but effective and consists of just four tracks on the floor. Long skates conduct all the loading and unloading, with a Riserplate system creating the lift.

The trailerskate makes it easy to perform high volume loading and unloading safely and quickly, and you’ll complete the task in minutes. The non-necessity of workers and forklift trucks entering the trailer helps you to reduce costs and make more efficient use of your human capital.


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moving floor conveyor system

The Moving Floor conveyor system is flexible and heavy duty. Whether you’re wanting to transport tyres in an automotive plant, whisky barrels in a brewery or other non-palletised goods, the moving floor conveyor system is up to the task. It can handle pallets of any size, and within minutes of beginning to unload or load your trailer, you’ll have completed the task. You can connect this system up to a production line conveyor and load the materials onto the moving floor, or do so with an autonomous guided vehicle (AGV) or forklift truck.

The system’s complete end-of-line automation helps you to make more efficient use of your human resources, as workers won’t need to enter the trailer to load or unload it, in a forklift truck or otherwise. They just need to load the system itself and then leave it up to the conveyor to take care of the rest.

Moving Floor
Slipchain WHO (2)


The heavy-duty Slipchain Loading System combines a rise-and-fall pneumatic chain with a rollertrack and reduces the operational costs of your loading and unloading since there is no need for forklift trucks or workers to enter the trailer. This system rewards you with major efficiency, allowing you to complete loading or unloading of up to 26 pallets into your trailer, or from it, in minutes. Working with the slipchain is much quicker than conventional solutions, which can take as much as 30 minutes to complete the task.

The modular design of the slipchain means you’ll only have to make minor changes to your trailer or to your manufacturing facilities to integrate it. The slipchain is straightforward to integrate — we can help you with this — and versatile. You can connect it to the conveyor of your production line or, if you prefer, load materials or other goods onto the slipchain using an AGV or forklift truck.

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When organised and implemented correctly, in-plant logistics can boost the revenue from your operations and the efficiency from them. If you’re reviewing your own in-plant logistics and would like to incorporate one of our automated solutions into your processes, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to advise you on the right system for your facility.

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Complete Guide

the benefits of automated loading systems

Working with an automated loading system brings with it many advantages for your business. It gives you an opportunity to increase efficiency, enhance worker safety, make room for flexibility and add savings. 

There are a variety of reasons why it is of benefit to rationalise as to whether the investment and The Benefits of Automated Loading Systems is worthwhile for so many businesses. Automated loading systems also have a longer lifespan, which provides your business with a higher return on investment. We’ve drawn on some of our most popular benefits here…

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why invest in an automated loading solution?

We've explained why you should consider investing in an automated loading solution, the features and benefits of our solutions and the return on investment you can come to expect from a tailored automated loading solution.

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return on investment

typical business case example

In the scenario that a business produces and ships a high number of pallets each day, we’ve put together an automated loading system typical business case example to help explain the benefits and how an ROI can be achieved with the investment of an automated loading system.

If a business is running a shuttle run from a factory to a warehouse and back again, they’ll benefit from an automated loading system with fewer people, trucks and forklifts.

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Wondering if an automatic loading and unloading solution is right for your warehouse, factory, or business?

Download our FREE Automated Loading Systems leaflet to find out how they can help streamline your operations and reduce your environmental impact. Plus, discover the benefits of our different automated loading systems, including Moving Floor, Slipchain and Trailerskate.


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