Challenges in Finding that ‘One-Size Fits All’ Solution

In today’s competitive market space, change is the only constant. Retailers and wholesalers are subject to maintaining an increasingly high level of customer service to remain competitive. Successful order fulfillment remains a top priority, and that can lead to issues attempting to accommodate an ever-increasing SKU base in a constant warehouse footprint. Distribution centers need to be geographically closer to customers making them more expensive and less practical. In order to see a high ROI, companies have to adopt innovative solutions to maximize warehouse storage density.


One recent trend is the drive to Vertical Lift Modules, as they provide great density, ergonomics and faster order selection than traditional vertical carousel solutions. A strong case can be made for VLMs when space constraints are involved, as they provide strong improvements in area density. In a recent case, a tall VLM occupied just over 150sf and justified a reduction in floor space by 90% over conventional shelving. Custom mezzanine solutions had advantages, but only provided a reduction in space of 40-45%, vs. traditional shelving.  The additional savings a VLM can provide adds up, meaning a better ROI.


A recent plumbing parts distributor commissioned BIC to retrofit a warehouse for parts selection and storage. The evaluation looked at a multitude of solutions ranging from Vertical Lift Modules to Custom Mezzanines. The design and planning process involved a detailed analysis of the client’s inventory, operational practices, KPIs and customer base. Due to the large SKU base and multiple sizes and shapes of products, there was no clear, single solution to meet all the storage demands for the client. BIC was able to determine the amount of space required by performing a warehouse survey and calculating cubic requirements. This data was later merged with sales data to determine the amount of inventory that will be required to meet desired customer service levels. In the end, the solution included 2 VLMs, 2 large custom mezzanine storage systems, and some conventional racking with cantilever racking. The solution not only freed up floor space in the warehouse, but also provided a great degree of flexibility for the client.


BIC specializes in creating solution options that match the needs and space requirements of our clients. Call BIC at (978) 739-0399 for help with making your warehouse space more efficient and productive.