The Importance of Clever Warehouse Design

Warehouse design is often neglected. This may be because a greater emphasis is given to office design or sales or marketing. However, the warehouse function is a key element in the success of the supply chain. The purpose of a warehouse is to receive and despatch product across the supply chain. It is, therefore, important to consider design at an early stage because it is vital to profitability. This includes thinking about current and future needs because they are a key part of any business strategy. In other words, you need the best warehouse design for efficient operation. This means that the design should best utilise space, equipment and staff. So, first of all, here are some factors that impact on warehouse design.

1. What Type of Products Will be Stored

Knowing the main features of the core product will help to solve the storage problem. So, for instance, factors such as the number of items to be stored, as well as their weight and size are key. As it’s all about the inventory, you should categorise the goods and make a place for them in the layout. Above all, this will have a strong impact on the type and style of racking. Larger items will require pallet racking whilst smaller boxed products will likely be stored on lightweight shelving systems.

Flexibility is key. Any major changes in the type of product will require revised storage arrangements. You may decide, for example, to invest in used pallet racking in the short term. This means a lower investment from the start and an easy to sell asset should needs change.

2. What Are the Physical Characteristics of the Building?

Unless you are lucky enough to acquire a purpose built unit you will have to think about the size and shape of the current unit. This will affect the design of shelves and the distribution of the goods inside the warehouse. Other factors that should be taken into account include access, emergency exits and the location of power and lighting. For the uninitiated, this can prove daunting, however, this is why Method Storage Limited offer a design service to ensure the best use of the space available.

3. Warehouse Design and Warehouse Function?

Warehouse function is a further key topic because it impacts on so many things. What type of handling machinery and fork-lifts are used? Is there a preferred circulation of goods? How many staff will operate the facility and is this likely to increase? All of these will have a vital impact on the width of aisles, height and orientation of racks and any requirement for the canteen and changing facilities. This level of planning is best left to experts after an initial consultation, simply because the outcome of a few ill-judged choices can be very costly and disruptive.

To summarise simply; seek expert help!  Method Storage’s in-house design specialists have many years of experience in designing warehouse layouts for many industries and will be happy to help and advise on the most effective warehouse layouts.