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Lessons in warehouse design: 5 fundamental considerations

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Warehouse design is something that is potentially fraught. There are so many moving parts, from how to lay the storage out to how to manage your warehouse. Many very clever people have developed processes and worked to ensure the perfect design, and what we have found is that the key thing that makes warehouse design so nuanced is the fact that no two warehouse designs are going to be the same. Even when you have two warehouses within the same kind of organisation, there are going to be differences. This is what makes warehouse design potentially frustrating and exciting at the same time!

Designing a warehouse is entirely down to the details, and as anyone who has worked in a warehouse or managed the processes can tell you, the slightest change can make a huge amount of difference to your output or functionality. We want to look at warehouse design and so have partnered with Lifter who are going to share with us five fundamental considerations for optimal warehouse design. Read on to learn about warehouse design for smooth warehouse management!

Location

You want to make sure that the warehouse location you have chosen is as close to your customers as possible, while still being accessible to your staff. Once you have decided on the location for your warehouse, you need to figure out whether you want to have a single warehouse that is going to service the entirety of your customers, or if you want to have a network of warehouses that all service your customers. These decisions come from knowing whether you want to provide a high service network or a low cost network.

Design data

You need to have plenty of operations data to ensure the effective design of your warehouse. When you have this data, you can actually model your facility based on the daily shipments that you make, and the production and receiving cycles that happen. You can work with your stock levels to make allowances for your inventory levels, and you can fairly accurately predict the design once you have your operations data. Knowing your data ensures accurate design. Good design also ensures that when it comes time to perform an audit and survey, you will know where everything is and how to find it.

Inbound stock

Knowing what kind of stock is coming in is a big part of your success in design. The ideal situation here is a full pallet load from a pre-certified vendor that has a single SKU ready for storage straight away. But, in order to have this kind of consistent organisation, you need to be ready with plenty of preparation beforehand.

Going green

You want to make sure that the environment plays a role in what happens with your warehouse design. Think about perhaps purchasing second-hand warehouse stock instead of buying all new storage as a way to both keep costs low and be more environmentally friendly.

Flow, picking, and storage

A final thing to think about is the way in which materials and stock move into, within and out of your warehouse. If you have a picking module, do they hold enough of your stock so that you’re not always replenishing them? You need to think about whether you are wasting time on unnecessary movements in the warehouse, as every move adds up in terms of costs and labour.

Warehouse design is something that is well worth sitting down and doing correctly. When you take the time to map out your warehouse design properly, taking into consideration the flow, storage, environment, location, design data and overall flow, you’ll find that it makes life easier.

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