Understanding Fixed Infrastructure
By: Larry Rausch – Vice President of Sales and Marketing
We are often asked to explain the concepts of fixed infrastructure and its impact on your operations. This blog is intended to provide an overview of what fixed infrastructure is and how you can benefit from employing these principals. Additionally, it is one of those things every warehouse has and every warehouse worker has interacted with, but not one that every warehouse worker thinks about.
What is fixed infrastructure?
“Fixed infrastructure”, in warehousing terms, refers to any installation in your warehouse that’s necessary for getting work done, but tends to remain stationary without a major warehouse overhaul or layout change.
Think about most of your warehouse shelving, pallet racking and the like. This equipment, vital to the various work and processes inside your warehouse, tends to remain static and built-in place over time – hence the name “fixed”.
And as necessary as this equipment is, its placement can tend to have a huge impact on your overall performance and operational efficiencies. Everything about your warehouse, from daily operations to the sort of automation you implement over time, will need to be built around this fixed infrastructure in order to better maximize your productivity and output.
This sounds like a tall order at first, but all you need is a little creativity, and an understanding of how your warehouse should work.
Maximizing your warehouse fixed infrastructure
Dedicate racks for conforming pallet sizes
In a warehouse where your storage is inflexible, few things can cause storage problems faster than non-conforming pallet sizes. No matter how popular or in-demand these items may be, it may be more worth your time to dedicate a pallet rack specifically to the irregularly sized pallets you get in order to make it easier to organize the more standard ones.
Create alternate carry paths
A great way to increase productivity is to provide alternate paths through the warehouse. Particularly for items that aren’t able to be moved via the conveyor belt for whatever reason, Having an alternate carrying path in place for your team can help your items get to their destination even faster.
Know what you have to work with
The first step in making your warehouse infrastructure work harder is to know exactly how much room you have to work with, and what kind of space is left over.
Above and beyond the shelving installations, think about things like gravity conveyors that work their way through the warehouse. What impact do these have on your overall footprint? Are there any areas of constant traffic or lost productivity that could be reorganized or streamlined somehow to keep things moving more quickly? Looking for these pain points early on and making sure you know how much room you have left over, will be a perfect place to start.
Reduce empty space
Even without the ability to relocate a lot of your installations, knowing what to do with your empty space will go a long way towards keeping your team productive. If you’ve got space that can be given over to more storage like wire, it could solve further organizational issues – otherwise, just make sure to keep it free and clear for traffic to flow through.
As simple as it sounds, a fixed infrastructure can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to needing to find your inventory. The shelves may not be moving too much, sure, but if the items get relocated a lot, having clearly-defined shelving labels can save your team a lot of wasted time and effort.
To keep your warehouse operating as efficiently over time, understanding your fixed infrastructure can ease your burdens as you grow. If you have questions regarding capacity or replacing shelving components, contact your local shelving and pallet rack company for assistance.
We hope this post provided you helpful information as it relates to understanding your fixed infrastructure. To speak with one of our technical experts, please call 1-216-229-9300. And thank you for reading our post.