When it comes to warehousing space, it really is a case of every square metre counts. However, all too often, space optimisation tactics can tend to focus on the obvious, bigger ticket items – stock inventory, shelving, even delivery logistics – when the reality is that the choice of packaging can also have a huge impact. Here, Jason Poxon, Packaging Technologist at Antalis Packaging, advises on why it’s time to think outside the box when it comes to warehouse optimisation.

E-commerce has forever changed the dynamics of the modern warehouse. In fact, the consensus is that the rapid acceleration of internet shopping could be restricted by limited distribution warehouse space. A recent report estimated that demand for industrial space will exceed supply by 25 million sq ft by the end of the decade.1 This has put increased pressure on Warehouse Managers to make the most of every last inch of available space – particularly during periods of rapid growth, seasonal peaks or large discount buying. Although sometimes overlooked, the choice of packaging has an important part to play in this; get it right and it can help to reduce storage costs and optimise space, while also keeping packaging secure.

It may sound obvious, but a good starting point when optimising your packaging process is to consider pallet boxes. These recyclable palletised containers are not only economical in terms of space, but they can be stacked high so more can fit onto a pallet, are strong enough to deal with heavy loads, and are easy to move around with a forklift. They’re also supplied collapsed flat in a single unit; the empty pallet box folds up to save space and transport costs.

A more recent phenomenon is the mobile storage rack or ‘shelves that move’. Specifically designed to improve warehouse efficiencies, these clever racking systems are controlled by a remote, whereby users are able to move shelves to access a specific cell. This ensures maximum use of storage volume with the ability to access each object at any time.

Finally, changing your void-fill may present an easy way to save space. Opting for a desktop airbag solution, for example, can create the same filling as twelve large bags of polystyrene chips, meaning drastically reduced void-fill on site. Equally innovative, the latest generation of foam-in-bag protective packing systems expand in seconds to form a protective, bespoke moulded foam protection on demand, therefore negating the need to store quantities of preformed foam on site.

Space is, of course, money in the modern warehouse environment. Therefore, by taking a few simple measures to hone their packaging operations, warehouse managers can optimise the available space to the fullest to ensure maximum opportunity.

Antalis Packaging offers a free Smart Audit where a packaging specialist will visit your operation to audit your current packaging process, products and systems to identify areas that could be improved to save you time, money and space. They can even create a warehouse redesign on your behalf. To find out more about the full Antalis Packaging range or to book your Smart Audit today, visit www.antalispackagingsolutions.co.uk or call one of the Antalis packaging experts on 0370 241 1466.

1 www.telegraph.co.uk/business/ 2016/03/08/internet-shopping-underpressure-as-warehouse-spacedwindles/