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How to to Minimize Your Distribution Center Storage Footprint for Slower-Moving, Low-Cube SKUs

By Ian Hobkirk | 10/15/2018 | 9:29 AM

Six Ways to Postpone DC Expansion Part VI - Slow Moving SKUS -DCVThis blog is the sixth and last in a series on distribution center capacity and space utilization.  So far, I’ve covered the concepts of slottingoptimizing storage depthsreducing aisle widthshow to take advantage of overhead dock space, and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS). This last post will focus on two types of storage systems that can condense the storage footprint for slower-moving, low-cube SKUs.


If your company’s budget cannot bear the cost of an automated storage and retrieval system, there are some pragmatic alternatives that may be worth considering for storage of slower moving, low-cube SKUs: SpeedCell® storage systems and mobile storage rack. Let’s explore:



SpeedCell® storage systems can be retrofitted into standard pallet rack and can significantly increase the number of SKUs which can be stored in that space. This technology functions somewhat like a hanging closet organizer: three rows of hanging shelving store product in a very dense configuration, and the front rows can be pushed to the side to access the rear rows. Pick speeds with SpeedCell® systems are relatively slow, so fast-moving product should not be placed here. (Image Source: SpeedCell®)




Another form of storage that is gaining in popularity is mobile storage rack. Each section of the rack is mounted on a track system in the floor, and when not in use the rack system actually collapses its footprint so that there is no aisle space at all between rack sections. When a bin location needs to be accessed, the rack sections roll open and create an aisle for a lift truck driver to travel down. As one might imagine, these systems do not move quickly, and should only be used to store slower moving product. Despite their unorthodox design, these systems actually offer very high storage density at a relatively low cost for slow-moving SKUs. (Image Source: Spacesaver®)



This post concludes the Blog Series: Six Ways to Postpone – Or Eliminate – Your Distribution Center Expansion.  Companies faced with expansion decisions have a variety of options to consider before deciding on how to proceed. However, one fundamental strategy any such company should consider – which is not addressed in this series – is an inventory reduction strategy. Some companies have experienced success by employing tactics such as improved order management, postponement, and in-transit visibility programs to safely reduce inventory levels and delay a costly build-out.  Inventory reduction in conjunction with the six concepts discussed can often work together to open up less costly solutions for companies that need to expand operations but minimize operating cost increases.


Did you like this post? Read the Whitepaper: Six Ways to Postpone -Or Avoid- DC Expansion or watch the recorded webinar.



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About Ian Hobkirk

Ian Hobkirk

Ian Hobkirk is the founder and Managing Director of Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors. Over his 20-year career, he has helped hundreds of companies reduce their distribution labor costs, improve space utilization, and meet their customer service objectives. He has formed supply chain consulting organizations for two different systems integration firms, and managed the supply chain execution practice at The AberdeenGroup, a leading technology analyst firm.


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