How to design a warehouse layout

Maximising the capacity of a warehouse requires an efficient warehouse layout design. Creating a good warehouse design is not simple, however, as there are a number of factors that need to be considered. In the following sections, we’ll explore these factors and the different areas a quality warehouse layout should include.

The five objectives

A quality warehouse design fulfils at least five objectives. It should make the most of the available space, provide easy access to stored items, reduce handling times as much as possible, be flexible and control the volume of stored inventory.

Warehouse managers should create plans for their warehouses that satisfy these objectives. Computer design software or sketches on graph paper can be used to do this.

Identifying areas

Most warehouses have at least six distinct areas that should be part of the layout. These are the unloading, reception, storage and picking, packing, dispatch and service areas.

Unloading

Vehicles require direct access to unloading areas. These are best integrated into the warehouse, so that goods can be loaded directly from trucks to the warehouse floor.

Reception

The reception areas are where goods are quality checked and sorted. They are labelled with identifying barcodes that contain location data pertaining to where they are stored.

The repetition area also handles returned order items that are checked ready for resale or disposal.

Storage and picking

The storage area should only be used to store items. Large items, such as furniture, may be stored directly on the ground, but small-to-medium inventory will need shelving or racks. Clothing will require heavy duty garment rails.

The layout of the storage areas will depend on the type of goods stored, their weight, dimensions and rigidity. A storage area should maximise storage capacity, while being flexible enough to have room for business growth.

Packing

Order items are picked from the storage area and taken, usually on warehouse trolleys, to the packing area, where they are packed and labelled. Packing tables need to be well designed so that all the packing materials and equipment are easily reached by packers, without the need to stretch or twist their bodies.

Dispatch

After items have been packed, they are taken to the dispatch area, ready to be loaded into delivery vehicles.

Service areas

A warehouse has support staff, managers and administration workers. Though these could be housed outside of the warehouse, it’s more efficient to have administration areas within the building.

Workers need bathroom facilities and places to rest and eat. Welfare facilities can be located outside of the warehouse, but they are best placed within the warehouse so that workers don’t have to walk far.

If electric forklifts are used, an area is required for battery charging.

Equipment

Making a warehouse efficient and productive requires both an intelligent layout design and quality equipment. An excellent layout is ineffectual if the equipment used is poor quality.

At Steely Products, we are passionate about designing warehouse equipment that is built to last. Our premium-quality shelving, heavy duty trolleys and packing stations are made to ensure that the design works well both on paper and in practice.

For further details about our equipment, call us or use the contact form below.

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    Posted by Mark
    25th August 2021
    Retail & Warehousing

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