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TIAS

Arrange Your Storage Space

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You thought this was a house?   First, you started an online store.  A few cool items for a bit of cash.   And then you got customers.  Stuff got sold. And you got a few more items.  And sold them.  And a few more .... and all of a sudden, its not a hobby, its a business (way cool).  But the stuff is threatening to displace you and your family!

What do you do now?

1. Arranging your shelves  The biggest expense of space in any warehouse is aisle space. You can double your storage without increasing your aisle space if you put two shelving units together and make aisles so you walk between them. In the following diagram, the vertical bars are the walls and the S's each represent a shelving unit. Note that space is left at the END so that someone who is getting stuff can walk down one aisle and back up another:

    Door
   

S

S

S

S

S

S

S
                     
S         S S         S  S         S  S         S
                               
S         S S         S S         S S         S
                               
S         S S         S S         S S         S
                               
S                     S
    S   

S

 

S

 

S

     S   

Windows


Here is a picture of a typical commercial warehouse. Note how the shelves are all set up so they can be accessed from both sides:



Note: if you employ others, you should be aware that your work and storage space may need to comply with OSHA and fire codes. One of the best sources of information on what is required for compliance will be your business insurance agent.

Aisles set up for forklift access need to be 12 feet (4 meters) wide, minimum legal clearance in most of the US for human-access aisles is 4 feet. Storage and work areas should have two exits, even if one is a window. This is a fire code requirement in most places. (Do you want to be in a shed when there is a fire between you and the only exit?) And, while we're at it -- do you know where your fire extinguishers are? Does everyone know this who uses your storage space?

2. Labeling your shelves If you have a storage space that you are organizing, there is a very VERY handy feature on TIAS that may work well for you, and the time to do it is when you are setting things up. This is a thing that people with large or complicated warehouses do as a matter of course.  Its called a location code.

Those of you who've worked in a warehouse probably already know about shelf labeling and may want to skip to the next bullet. Industrial shelving that is accessed by people in warehouses is generally tagged in some unique way. The typical way to do this is to assign aisle/rack/shelf/bin numbers.

The Aisle number is the number of the space where you walk  The first aisle of shelves is normally numbered, '01', the second '02', etc. Or you can use 'A', 'B' and 'C'.  Or whatever you like.  Put a sticker on the end of your shelves

People differ on rack (shelving unit) conventions, but those are generally identified in relationship to the access point in the work area. So the shelving unit closest to the door is 'A' or '01' and the farthest is 'Z' or '26' or whatever. If you had 10 shelves, the first might be 'A' and the last 'J'. You have to distinguish the right hand from the left, so you add a suffix 'R' or 'L' to tell them apart The first shelf unit in the first row on the left, thus is '01-AL', the second '01-BL', on the right, they are '01-AR', '01-BR' etc. The first shelf in the second row on the right is '02-AR', the second '02-BR'. So each shelving unit has its own number.

Shelves are generally tagged from the bottom up (because there can be different numbers of shelves in any unit.) The bottom one, thus would be '1', the next-to-bottom, '2', etc.

In warehouse that use bins on their racks/shelves, its also necessary to assign a bin number, but I don't think you'll need to do that here.

When you have made up your mind how these are to be labeled, get some address labels and put physical stickers on each shelf so you (or anyone else) will know what the correct number is for each shelf.

So in our example above:

    Door
                       
  01     02     03     04  
AR         AL AR         AL AR         AL AR         AL
BR         BL BR         BL BR         BL BR         BL
CR         CL CR         CL CR         CL CR         CL
DR         DL DR         DL DR         DL DR         DL
ER         EL ER         EL ER         EL ER         EL
FR                     FL
GR GC  GL  GR   GL GR   GL GR GC GL

Windows

(can you see where unit 01-AR is? Something located at 01-AR-01 is in the first row in front of the door, the shelving unit closest away from the door, on the right and the bottom shelf.....)

Why would you want to do this? Sound complicated? Its a minor pain to set up but it makes it so SO easy to find things once you have it. And the more inventory you have, the more important it is to do something like this (check out the size of the people on the left )

<-- your new warehouse!


Note: People who run REALLY large warehouses with robotic pickers use exactly this sort of a scheme, but feed the information to their robots! The two warehouses below are designed for machine, not human access:

Robot warehouse with bin-based
storage and retrieval system; bins are
fetched and brought to humans who
pick and pack
Robotic warehouse with pallet-based
storage and retrieval; pallets of
material are retrieved

Not there yet?  Read on!

3. Putting this in your Item Master Once you have your shelving labeled, you will find that there is a field in the item master called 'location code'. Your location code is the location of the item in your shelving. If you put the location code for the item in your item master file when you print your pick tickets (one of our spiffy new features), you will find that the location code prints on the ticket. So it makes it extremely easy to find the item. Also, the items on the ticket are printed in location code order, so you can take the ticket and walk through your storage place getting everything from aisle 1, then from aisle 2, etc.

4. Other Goodies You will also find that many of your inventory reports can be grouped by location code, which simplifies things like taking your once per year physical inventory. For such an example, select 'List All Inventory' on your inventory menu and then select 'detail'. More information exists in the help for this report.

Enjoy!

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