Honeycombing is a warehousing situation where there is storage space available but not being fully utilized due to product put away, product shape (such as two stacks of two boxes each with a fifth box having slipped between them on top, thus preventing any further proper vertical storage), and/or location system rules (only one package per cubic foot, when two will do if stacked properly) and/or poor housekeeping (caused by procrastination in removing stale items or packing materials that are hard-to-reach and/or tedious to eliminate).

The goal of a careful layout is to minimize how often and to what extent these shortcomings occur. It is reflection of the awkward spilling of containers into space that could be more efficiently used and lets you know how much wasted (empty) space you actually have available.

You can calculate the impact of honeycombing on your present facility by the following simple steps:

1. Tally the number of locations you currently have set up to store items—both horizontally and vertically (include all your locations whether they are full, partially full, or empty).

2. Tally the number of empty storage positions.

3. Divide the number of empty locations by the total number of storage positions that you have. The result will be your honeycombing ratio.

The Honeycombing Ratio represents the percentage of empty space within the storage portion of your storage areas. Finding this ratio provides you with a baseline. If you decide to change your storage philosophy, you should also change your change your storage methodology (two instances: moving from racks to shelving or moving from racks to floor stacking). You can then determine the new ratio and measure improvement in space utilization.

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