Narrow Aisles: Challenges & Opportunities

Material Handling Best Practices, Tips, Information and More from Toyota

The mantra, “Do more with less,” has never been more evident in the warehousing industry. A strong North American economy and an advantageous tax climate are bringing manufacturing and distribution centers back to the United States. The new challenge deals with infrastructure and supporting manufacturing in a distribution center application.

Have a 100,000-square-foot facility? Good, now stock product at the level of a 150,000-square-foot facility. What you wind up with are Narrow Aisles (NA) and Very Narrow Aisles (VNA), which are a key to maximizing space, but they can also make material handling very challenging.

General Aisle Widths:

  • Typical aisle – 10 ½ feet or more (126 inches +)

  • NA (Narrow Aisle) – 8 ½-10 ½ feet (102-126 inches)

  • VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) – 5-7 feet (60-84 inches)

NAs and VNAs pose specific challenges to putting away product, stacking and picking orders. A typical, counter-balanced forklift does not fit in many NAs, however, even if it does fit, it does not have a tight enough right-angle stack to turn.

To help in NA and VNA applications, Toyota manufactures a full line of products that operate in narrow aisles:


Order Pickers

Reach Trucks

Walkie Stackers

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