How to optimise cubic capacity in your industrial building

How to optimise cubic capacity in your industrial building

Industrial – Workplace May 2017

With a shortage of undeveloped industrial-zoned land for new-build industrial properties in most of New Zealand’s main centres, the challenge for businesses and landlords within this popular sector lies in maximising and optimising existing space in order to achieve operating efficiencies.

Industrial buildings in New Zealand tend to be single level. If there is a second level or mezzanine it is most often used for related office space. Increasing land costs and need for greater efficiencies may eventually lead to higher intensity multi-level developments such as those seen in global markets like London and parts of Asia. Multi-level industrial is feasible for high-value industrial users who can afford rents that would be needed to support the additional cost of multi-level construction.

Who knows whether New Zealand will ever move into that sphere; what we do know is that the squeeze is on the well-performing industrial sector in the leasing market particularly in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and increasingly in regional markets as well. Businesses are reluctant to move premises when realistic relocation options are thin on the ground and competition is fierce for most vacant industrial properties that come to the open leasing market.

Businesses with high stock turnovers and large inventory requirements should look at ways to increase the efficiencies of the current vertical space available to them before making the big call on finding larger premises or adding on to existing ones.

Utilising cubic space effectively includes looking at ways to capitalise on the air space in the warehouse building for higher density storage therefore maximising the value of the footprint. There will always be a fine balance between accessibility and storage efficiencies so flexibility and compromise will – of necessity – be part of the space equation.

Clever racking is the key here to make the best use of your floor area and roof height. Infrastructural components that can help optimise air space while still allowing good work flow and access could extend your storage capacity significantly.

Racks need to be tall enough to take advantage of the full clear ceiling height and racking runs can be placed closer together – narrow aisle racking – if access options allow for this. Specialist forklifts are available to navigate narrower aisles.

More modest-sized operators can look to the big-box sector for evidence of the role that good racking can make to a business operation. They’ve nailed it in terms of functionality versus storage space versus bottom-line optimisation.

On a practical note, Worksafe NZ has guidelines for safety around racking installations with the Canterbury earthquakes prompting prudent practices to ensure racking systems and shelves are able to withstand any seismic events.

There are numerous specialist companies in New Zealand focusing on racking solutions and bespoke industrial fitouts to make business operations more streamlined and efficient. Team up with a warehousing fit-out specialist to get some ideas and practical solutions and think within your premises’ square to unlock extra capacity.

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