Lead Forensics

Six common mistakes when designing a warehouse

Designing a warehouse, and ordering the best equipment to use in it, is a challenging task. There are at least six common mistakes you need to avoid when doing it.

1. Not designing for different item types

If a warehouse is not designed well to account for the different storage requirements of various items, it will operate inefficiently.

A warehouse stores different size items, some of them large, heavy and oddly shaped. A bad warehouse layout makes it difficult to access every item. Heavy items need shelving that takes their weight and offers enough space to easily manoeuvre items on and off shelves.

Some items may need to be stored at a specific temperature in a cold store. Other may be affected by high summer temperatures and need fans or air conditioning to prevent overheating.

Don’t forget that aisles also need to be sufficiently wide to allow picking trolleys and other manual handling equipment safe passage.

2. Not designing specific task areas

A warehouse operation has different tasks that all need specific areas. Picking and packing are at the heart of the warehouse operation, but returns processing, goods receiving, administration and rest areas are also required. There need to be locker areas for employees to store personal possessions. Office space is required for administration personnel.

Before starting a warehouse design, all the different tasks have to be defined so that they can each have their own specific area.

3. Not designed with safety in mind

If a warehouse is not safe to work in, it can be very costly. An accident can close down the whole warehouse operation for a period, and safety breaches can result in heavy fines. Employees are a prime resource in a warehouse and their health and well-being need protecting. Inferior or worn-out equipment increases the risk of injury.

4. Not planning for growth

Warehouse owners want their business to grow. This is usually achieved by increasing sales and the number of items stocked. A warehouse may have the capacity for the present level of business, but what happens if the business grows? It is better to have a few empty shelves now so that the warehouse does not run out of space when orders increase.

5. Not understanding optimal picking routes

An optimal picking route is one where the picker walks the shortest distance to pick all order items. Not all warehouses have systems that plan picking routes well. The best picking systems have a combination of efficient stock placement, and warehouse management software that plans order picking routes.

An obvious way to increase efficiency is to have high-demand items stored near packing stations to save picking times.

6. Not ordering the best warehouse equipment

It is better to have the best quality warehouse equipment you can buy that is designed well and built to last under heavy use. Steely Products stocks a wide range of premium equipment and can produce bespoke designs suitable for your exact requirements.

To avoid warehouse planning mistakes, use the form below to contact Steely Products for advice on warehouse layout design and equipment.

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