Have you found an ideal warehouse for rent and signed the lease agreement? If so, now it’s time to design it. Like your home, your warehouse also needs a proper plan to utilize every space and every corner for various logistic operations.
How are you going to utilize the whole space? Other than storing, there are more warehousing operations you need to keep in mind while designing your warehouse.
But where do you begin? Creating a layout for a warehouse. This will help not only in utilising but also in making your space more optimized.
So stay tuned until the end of the blog to know more about warehouse layout.
What Is a Warehouse Layout?
“Warehouse layout is a planned design of a warehouse to utilize every space and corner effectively to make warehouse operations streamlined and more efficient.”
Why Is It Important To Have The Right Warehouse Layout For Your Business?
A warehouse layout can directly affect your warehouse productivity and efficiency.
What are the important factors of getting a warehouse facility? An ideal warehouse location, workforce availability, market and environmental factors and so on. But for seamless logistics operations, you must consider the facility’s layout along with all these aspects.
A perfectly planned warehouse layout helps to facilitate your warehousing operations and helps in reducing warehouse costs, and providing easy access to stored inventory.
Here are some benefits you can enjoy with a functional warehouse layout.
Warehouse Space Optimisation
When it comes to warehouse facilities, space becomes a significant issue. Sometimes, poor design of the warehouse leads to clutter and inefficiency in warehouse operations.
Designing a warehouse layout gives you an idea about how much space you have and the correct way to utilise the space at its full potential, to optimise warehouse activities.
- The warehouse will be organised
- Convenience in managing inventory
- Ease in movements between aisles leasing to faster picking time
Utilise Your Budget More Effectively
There are different warehouse layout designs available to optimise your warehouse. But some of them can work for you while some may not. The reason is the available floor space.
Sometimes, a particular warehouse design can cost you more money and are more challenging to maintain than others.
To avoid such situations, you need to acknowledge the different aspects and requirements you need in your warehouse. You can find a cost-effective solution for your warehouse.
Maintaining The Traffic Flow
The biggest benefit of warehouse layout design is it makes the warehouse workflow more efficient from start to finish. You can divert the workflow as you want it to be (as per your convenience, but the most preferred warehouse workflows are L-shaped, I-shaped, and U-shaped warehouses).
This helps in,
- Running all the logistic operations smoothly
- Minimising the disruptions
- Maximising productivity
Things To Consider While Designing A Warehouse Layout
All set to design a warehouse layout? But, before you begin, look closely at these certain factors for better functionality and efficiency of the warehouse.
Warehouses are core dependent on these fulfilment processes. From receiving to shipping the product, everything needs to be in flow. So this is the first thing you should consider while designing a warehouse layout.
The first stage in any warehouse operation is when you receive the inventory that you ordered. Here is where all the inventory gets unloaded from the trucks and thoroughly checked for the quantity, seals, and product codes (to check whether you received the right product or not). Then according to the volume, size and shape of the inventory, they are placed on racks, pallets, or containers.
Storage And Tracking Inventory
One of the essential tasks of warehousing. You need a proper inventory management system to keep an eye on each piece of inventory present in your warehouse. Once all the inventories are placed in their designated places, they need to be tracked to know what items are ready for sale and what items need a refill. This stage can make or break a smooth warehouse flow.
Picking And Packing Areas
These areas are important to make your order ready for shipping. After receiving the order, pickers (staff) pick up the inventory from its designated place in the aisle and prepare it for packing. Picking is one of the most crucial stages of a warehousing operation. Hence, it needs to be done accurately and efficiently. A single mistake can cause you a lot of money.
For smoother flow in picking, you can select one of the picking strategies you can implement in your warehousing operations.
- Zone Picking
One order at a time approach, where pickers are assigned a specific area.
- Batch Picking
Pickers can pick up the same orders in bulk and batch at once.
- Discrete Picking
Items are picked as per the order received with the same one-order-at-a-time approach.
- Wave Picking
A mixture of batch and zone picking. Here pickers are assigned a specific area but can pick items in bulk.
Once picking is done, the orders are packed and moved further for departure.
A place where the parcel is loaded in a truck and ready for its departure.
Along with all these spaces, another thing to keep in mind is employee space, an office where they can conduct meetings, or rest during their free time.
A warehouse is where different operations, such as lifting, loading, unloading, and others, occur. These operations need conveyor belts, picking tools, or pallet racks. After identifying the equipment, you can design the most suitable warehouse layout for your business needs.
Imagine you have put all the effort into designing the warehouse, but your employees need help accessing some areas in the warehouse facility. This can harm your warehousing business. So, the warehouse layout should be designed such that the employees find it easy to navigate.
Do you know how many people you need to run your warehouse operations? Their training period and shift arrangements? Such knowledge can make it easy to design a warehouse layout to ensure a safe working environment. It is better to design a layout where you can welcome new employees in peak seasons without hesitation. Below is an infographic to save labor costs.
Infographic provided by Atlantic Pacific Equipment, Inc., an industry expert scaffolding supplier
How To Design A Warehouse Layout?
Are you excited about the design part? Whether you are making new or redesigning your warehouse, it may be challenging. But here we got you covered. Follow these steps while designing to get your ideal warehouse layout.
Map Out The Journey
You can say it is making a blueprint of your warehouse. You need to include everything here, from the entry to the exit, including doors, office space, and shelves.
You can do it with a simple pen and paper or use software. You can do it on your own or take help from the experts.
But at this point, ensure that you map out the workflow, including walking paths, different sections, and the flow of products.
Utilise The Space At Its Max
As mentioned above, this depends on your total floor space. You need to make space for storing, workflow areas, space for equipment. Start from storing parts.
- You can store items in clusters where similar products are grouped. Or you can also place them in aisles.
- You can use vertical space if you require extra space.
- Make a place for different workstations. This will help to utilise the space at its max.
Incorporating a warehouse management system won’t directly impact warehouse layout. But it will have a direct impact on different workstations and the way you use all your equipment.
Test It Out
The best way is to measure the layout and set up the perimeter. Move across the area, and don’t forget to test the equipment. It will give you an idea if you have to implement certain modifications before the commencement of the work.
Designing a warehouse layout is an overwhelming task and needs accuracy. A single mistake can lead to a financial drop or decrease productivity and efficiency in your business.
A well-designed warehouse can save you from all such ruckus and help make your operation work seamlessly.