How to Achieve Warehouse Storage System Efficiency

Storage Equipment Solutions

If you’re working with a warehouse, then the question of efficiency is always on your mind. An inefficient warehouse is expensive; blocked aisles, lost inventory, and low productivity are the hallmarks of ineffective use of warehouse space. Each has a significant negative impact on your bottom line.

But here’s the thing: chasing maximum warehouse efficiency is just that – a chase, never a destination. Warehousing needs are never stagnant, which means you’ll never arrive at a perfect solution. Instead, your best strategy is to strive to make continuous improvements and remain flexible so you can respond to changing needs as they arise.

Here are three primary ways successful warehouse managers think about their spaces that are proven to improve overall efficiency and flexibility.


You’ll find dozens of formulas and ideas for organizing your inventory. Ultimately, the “right” answer will strike a precarious balance between fitting everything in and providing labor-saving access. If you pack stuff in tightly, your employees will have to work harder to complete their tasks, which is not your goal. Conversely, if you set things up with only your employees in mind, you may find yourself short on space.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, the following “rules” can serve as a guide:

  • Sort by type. Storing similar things together can make it easier for your crew to find what they’re looking for.
  • Be logical. If sorting by type doesn’t feel right, choose another logical method.
  • Be consistent. Whatever system you choose, apply it consistently throughout the space.
  • Think about what moves fast. So, this rule is an exception to sorting by type and being consistent rules. (See what we mean by no single “right” way?) Suppose you’ve got a handful of items in your warehouse that move significantly faster than others. In that case, it sometimes makes sense to put those items together in a prime, highly convenient location, even if that location isn’t with other similar items or is inconsistent with your overall organization method.

Think of this as an application of the old 80-20 rule. Here’s an example: Are 80% of the picking efforts of your crew dedicated to the same five items? If that’s the case, you can significantly improve your efficiency by storing those five items together in the most convenient location possible.

  • Avoid “random” organization. On the surface, it might seem like a random organization method that allows you to store items wherever they fit, as if your warehouse is a giant jigsaw puzzle is a good idea. After all, this method makes the best use of your space; undeniably, you’ll fit more into your warehouse using this scheme.

But randomness comes at a high cost. For anyone to be able to find anything, you have to dedicate significant resources to tracking inventory and maintaining a record of where everything is located. Making it work is possible, but it’s a lot of work.

Having a fixed, defined system will waste some space, but your operations will be more efficient.

  • Leave empty space. Things change. Leaving unfilled space in your warehouse gives you room for flexibility and makes dropping in new inventory easier.
  • Be neat. A mess is never efficient.


Your warehouse consists of horizontal and vertical space; an efficient warehouse makes good use of both.

  • Be smart about aisles. You can utilize very narrow aisles to increase capacity, but you’ll need special equipment to give you safe access. It can be tempting to create narrow aisles to increase shelf space. Still, aisles that are too narrow create their own set of problems, such as unsafe forklift operating conditions that result in injuries or damage to equipment or inventory.
  • Look up. Adding taller racks lets you add storage without increasing your footprint. There are a number of storage equipment solutions that facilitate expanding upwards. Mezzanines are one example; these walkways can be added to give employees access to vertical storage, create additional work areas, or simplify movement across your space.


Planning an effective warehouse organization schema is complicated, so it’s good news that technology can help.

  • Mapping. Stand-alone warehouse management systems (WMS) or ERP systems with a WMS component are excellent tools for helping you map your warehouse. These systems will help with everything from planning a picking route to sending pick lists to mobile readers.
  • Monitoring. Tech can help you monitor your inventory, including quantity on hand, expiration dates, warehouse location, and more.
  • Data. Barcodes and other monitoring tools give you access to real-time data so you can get to know your warehouse better. Better data often leads to better results, which, after all, is the ultimate goal.
  • Automation. Advanced warehouse automation solutions efficiently move inventory in, out, and within your warehouse with minimal human assistance. Automation tools eliminate repetitive, labor-intensive tasks and improve efficiency. Digital and physical automation options are available such as RFID barcodes and robots.

Find a Local Indoff Representative

Helping You Stay on Top of Your Warehouse

Managing your warehouse well is a big job, and Indoff is here to help. Find a local Indoff representative today to help you make the most out of your warehouse space. Your Indoff partner is here to assist with all of it, including the following:

  • Choosing the best storage options
  • Implementing the best material handling solutions
  • Optimizing your floor plan
  • Taking advantage of vertical space
  • Adding the most effective, most advanced digital and physical technologies to your existing management system
  • And so much more.

Making the most efficient use of your warehouse in terms of both space utilization and productivity is an ongoing endeavor with the potential for big payoffs on your bottom line. With a solid strategy in place and your Indoff rep, you can make continuous improvements, stay flexible, and manage your inventory better than ever before.

Courtney Brazell

Courtney joined Indoff in 2010. She brings years of experience in project management and tech solutions and is responsible for supporting our Partners’ sales efforts.

Phone: (314) 997-1122 ext. 1291

Josh Long

Josh joined Indoff in 2013 as part of the acquisition of Allied Appliance, a nationwide appliance distributor. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of our appliance division that is comprised of Allied Appliance and Absocold, a manufacturer of refrigerators and microwaves that Indoff acquired in 2017.

Phone: (314) 997-1122 ext. 1107

Jim Malkus

Jim joined Indoff in 1988 after spending 5 years at Ernst & Young, where he specialized in audit and accounting for privately-held businesses. Jim is responsible for the day-to-day management of Indoff.

Phone: (314) 997-1122 ext. 1203

John Ross

John’s background includes the start up and acquisition of several successful business ventures, and he provides strategic planning and overall corporate governance.

Phone: (314) 997-1122 ext. 1201