Designing an efficient warehouse system

An efficient warehouse system is about maximising the use of vertical and horizontal space. It is also essential to have the best manual handling and storage equipment. A warehouse should be structured to minimise the distance that workers have to travel to pick and pack items. Items must be clearly marked to enable pickers to quickly find them.

Measuring

The first stage of designing a warehouse storage system is to measure the area. Measuring is about volume, not just the length and breadth. Height needs to be measured and any permanent features, such as supporting columns and roof girders, must be taken into account.

Storage equipment

The next stage is to look at the type of the items to be stored. Goods can be heavy or light, regular shaped or irregular. Small items in boxes can easily be stored on standard warehouse shelving. Heavy and irregular items such as sofas and chairs will benefit from specialist storage equipment specially designed to stack them safely.

Fragile materials such as glass sheets will need storage equipment designed to protect them. Before you purchase any equipment or shelving, it is a good idea to talk to your storage equipment manufacturer for advice. Better still, invite them to see the warehouse. Show them the items that need storing and the available space. They will come up with suggestions for the best way to organise the warehouse.

Handling equipment

Every warehouse needs handling equipment, manual and non-manual. Forklift trucks can be used for large items and bulk transport. For picking items ready for dispatch, manual handling trolleys and packing tables are required. You could purchase robots to pick items, but these are expensive and beyond the budget of the average small to medium organisation.

For both storage and handling equipment, insist on premium quality. Equipment manufactured from tubular steel is best because it is lightweight and very strong. A business may also need a bespoke solution for manual handling and storage equipment designed especially for their warehouse.

Where to store goods

After deciding on the type of storage and handling equipment, the next part of the process is to plan where to store goods. Some warehouses store goods by category; for example, a business that sells furniture stores all chairs together, all beds together and so on. However, this is not always the most efficient way. If there are goods that are in high demand that sell more frequently than others, it makes sense to store them near the picking and packing tables. This will save on the distance travelled each day by pickers. Low-demand items can be stored further away.

Make sure that all storage locations are clearly marked and easy to find.

Some warehouses have an area next to the packing and dispatch tables where small orders are placed ready to pack. Bulk orders are stored in a separate area.

Designing a new warehouse storage system is a complex operation that requires careful planning. High-quality storage and handling equipment are essential for an efficient and organised warehouse.

Posted by Mark
8th November 2018
Retail & Warehousing

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