Most businesses that sell physical products need warehouse space to store their goods; however, too often proper consideration isn’t given to warehouse design, so many storage facilities are underperforming as a result.
Whether your warehouse is a small facility supplying a niche marketplace or a vast distribution or fulfilment centre serving tens of thousands of online customers, the design of the building can impact on the productivity and efficiency of your operations. By reviewing your operations, you can optimise your warehouse space and procedures, reducing disruption, improving accuracy, and shortening fulfilment times.
What are the most important considerations when designing warehouse space?
1) What Are Your Business’s Requirements?
You cannot optimise your warehouse space unless you understand the intricacies of your business operation, so any review of your facility should consider these questions:
- What types of products do we need to store and are there any special considerations?
- How can we maximise our efficient use of space?
- Can we improve the movement of people and vehicles around the site?
- How can productivity be improved to reduce costs?
- What is the expected lifespan of the facility?
This process will identify the constraints that your business faces – financial limits, building design flaws, or process problems – and highlight your key objectives so that the project delivers effective warehouse solutions.
2) How Will You To Achieve Optimum Efficiency?
In warehouse design, maximum efficiency can be attained by focusing on four key principles:
A) Flow: the direction in which goods will be moved around the warehouse. A one-way system, for example, could improve efficiency.
B) Accessibility: all stock must be easily accessible and not hidden away in difficult-to-reach places. Coordinating storage will ensure that more popular products can be picked more quickly.
C) Capacity: knowing how much stock you can store in the warehouse is one thing, but you should plan not to exceed 80 - 95 per cent net capacity, dependent on your storage systems, to avoid reaching gridlock that will severely impact on the efficiency of your operations.
D) Traceability: system management and control should be traceable to ensure that your warehouse operation is slick, and any fluctuations in efficiency can be quickly identified and resolved.
3) How Much Space Do You Need?
Knowing exactly how much storage space you require can be challenging, particularly if data is incomplete or unavailable. When planning volumetric requirements, you will need to consider:
- The quantity and size of products that need to be stored.
- Throughput velocities (incoming and outgoing goods, returns etc).
- Picking requirements, such as picking containers, cartons, pallets, or single units.
Because investing in warehouse design can be expensive, its vital that your facility can accommodate the future expansion of your business and ensure flexible throughput at all times.
4) How Will You Achieve Resilience And Versatility?
Warehouse design should incorporate the resilience and versatility to alter mapping / layout at short notice to respond to unforeseen situations, such as episodes of severe weather or changing consumer demand for particular product lines.
Your warehouse plan should facilitate the rearrangement of space and changes to the picking process, when necessary, to optimise efficiency and productivity.
Contact LPC Today For Expert Warehouse Design
If your warehouse design is inhibiting efficiency and affecting your ability to quickly fulfil orders, our team at LPC can help you to improve the design of your storage facility. For more information, please contact us today on 01285 640038 or send us a message.
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