Capacity and building size play a large role in logistics, and it’s vital to know when your building has actually reached capacity. Once it has, you have two options: hold steady and stop growth, or add on to your building or move to a new one that allows you more space. There are a few tell-tale signs that it’s due time for you to consider a new, larger building.
Too Many Parts Per Location
Different warehouses stock items in different ways. But let’s throw out an example: The warehouse stocks three shovels in one area. Each shovel has its own unique number, but the same picking location. For such a large item, it might not be difficult for a picker to pick the right shovel. But for other, smaller items, which can be easily condensed into smaller areas, the likelihood of a picking error is vastly increased. Imagine a number of different boxes of screws stocked in one area. The larger the number of items a picker has to sort through, the longer the pick will take, plus picking errors are bound to occur. If your warehouse is packed enough that it’s necessary to stock similar items in one place, you may be reaching your capacity.
Holiday Boosts and Empty Spots
At a normal time, your picking area may have roughly 500 full spots, and perhaps 100 empty. At any time that could fluctuate, adding new items or clearance items for large sales. If the nature of your business is hardly affected by holiday shopping, then you those extra hundred spots may be perfect for you. For most, though, the holiday shopping season could as much as double as you stock the shelves in order to get ready for the huge rush of online sales.
If your normal stock area doesn’t leave you enough space to double up when the time is necessary, it’s time to consider your expansion options.
Receiving and Shipping Areas
During busy times, the receiving and shipping areas of a distribution center can get crazy. They get crazier when you don’t have enough docks for trucks and you have drivers waiting around for their turn. When drivers are on a tight schedule, they can’t sit around—they need to be in and out. And if the shipping department isn’t able to get their trucks loaded up because of other backups, logistics start to fall apart. Most drivers should have relatively routine schedules. If you aren’t able to accommodate, it’s probably best to look for a building that can handle them.