Tips for designing a new manufacturing warehouse

A new warehouse that is to be used for manufacturing needs to be planned in an efficient and cost-effective way. Here are some tips for designing a manufacturing warehouse.

The rough plan

Designing a new warehouse layout starts with a sheet of graph paper, or an online layout tool. Start with accurate measurements of the available space. Mark in any restrictions, such as low ceilings, staircases, entrances and exits.

Allocate space for different activities

Next, identify the various activities that will take place in the building. A typical manufacturing operation receives components and raw materials and stores them on shelving or racks. These materials then move to the manufacturing unit. After items are manufactured, they are packed and stored, ready to be taken to the dispatch area to be delivered to customers. The managers and administration staff also need space to work in, and employees must have washrooms and toilet facilities.

The difficult part is allocating the right amount of space for each of these activities. Plan for future growth – can shelving and manufacturing facilities that are adequate for present-day sales cope with a 10% or more increase in orders?

Traffic flow

Analysing traffic flow is the key to quality warehouse layout design. As coronavirus restrictions may be with us for a long time, plan one-way systems to restrict close contact between workers. Don’t make the shelving aisles too narrow – make sure workers with trolleys can pass each other without being too close.

Some components or raw materials may be used more frequently than others. Store these closer to the manufacturing operations, with lesser-demand items stored further away. This improves workflow by cutting down the average journey time for moving items.

A detailed analysis of every work area will identify flow patterns in the workplace.

Plan the equipment

After space has been allocated for the various activities, plan for equipment. Some questions to consider are what size of storage systems are required, how many aisles are needed and how long and high do the aisles need to be?

Material handling and storage equipment, packing benches, office equipment and more will be needed. At this stage, you can talk to us at Steely Products. We will advise you on the most suitable equipment to fit your needs.

It may be better to have bespoke equipment. If so, at Steely, we’ll work with you to design equipment that is an exact fit for your particular operation.

A masking tape plan

The next recommended stage is to go into the warehouse when it is empty and use masking tape and measuring tools to mark out the various areas. Walk around the space, visualising how the different areas interact with each other. Imagine you’re a worker performing each task.

Carry boxes, materials and tools around the mock layout. Push trolleys and drive forklifts around to make sure navigation is good and there’s enough room to manoeuvre. You could also ask employees to test out the plan.

Before your new warehouse plans are finalised, talk to us at Steely Products about your equipment needs. Call us or use the handy form below.

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    Posted by Katrina
    27th June 2021
    Retail & Warehousing

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