The warehouse is an integral part of the supply chain. To maximize productivity and minimize costs, you must carefully consider the warehouse layout setting design. The space should be well-organized to make it easy for employees to quickly locate items they need without wasting time or energy. When designing an efficient warehouse layout, such as product flow management, space utilization, and equipment placement, there are many factors to consider.
Areas of Importance for Your Warehouse Space
There are many exterior and interior warehouse locations that should be addressed in designing your warehouse’s layout:
- Loading and unloading areas for shipments
- Reception space
- Storage areas for your product
- Picking area for employees
- Dispatch area when product is ready to head out the door.
Let’s get started!
Loading and Unloading Areas
Loading and unloading areas, which are normally located outside the warehouse, can also be incorporated into the interior warehouse design. Loading areas provide a safe way for trucks transporting goods to drop off their loads before they head back out again with new shipments loaded onto them.
To ensure efficiency in the shipping process, there needs to be ample space in the loading area so that all activities can occur without interference from each other, especially since loading zones need plenty of easily accessible direct access for trucks.
Integrating these special bits of territory into your overall design process will help streamline distribution while maintaining safety standards, and if not? You could build an independent lot nearby instead, where driverless cars await access by warehouse employees.
You should allocate space for receiving incoming shipments before they are brought into the warehouse itself so that you can properly sort, label, and track items as needed until they’re ready to be stored directly in storage areas. This space will also need to include generous space for a forklift or other warehouse vehicle to maneuver around the warehouse as needed. This ensures warehouse operations are flowing safely.
As a part of inventory management, this space can be used to ensure the characteristics and quality of delivery received matches those ordered. Depending on the type of warehouse, palletizing may or may not be necessary. If needed, this process often includes splitting large pallets into smaller unit loads and removing parts that are strapped together (for example) to reduce Fareload Weight Classifications (FWLCLs).
Product Storage Area
You should have areas set aside for optimal storage space for your products until they are ready to be shipped out again. These spaces should also include aisle space so that a forklift or other equipment can maneuver easily around the material stored. Warehouse vehicles require sufficient space to operate.
Pallet racks and pallet jacks are great equipment to have in your warehouse for the sake of keeping products organized and the area clean and tidy. These racks also help ensure employees can easily find products when picking, leading to a more efficient warehouse operation.
How goods are stored on pallet racking units can vary depending upon the needs and requirements that individual businesses may present. Goods might be placed onto metal structures, known as braced frames or beams. These elements give rise to multi-cellular spaces into which unit loads consisting of products from different departments will go for storage—either individually or collectively—before being sorted out later when more specific areas of sorting becomes necessary.
Goods get put away by stacking them up vertically within compartments called cells (or shelves). These “slots” make for easy access to stored goods your employees need without having too much trouble looking around. These spaces help with inventory management.
As warehouse layout design and workflow areas are crucial to the success of your warehouse processes, you will want to consider all factors carefully before finalizing a plan for your storage facilities.
Employee Picking Areas
Employees responsible for picking items from storage areas and loading them onto vehicles need an area with plenty of room available, especially for ecommerce operations. The picking process is not required in all warehouses, though they can be integrated when outgoing goods must have a configuration or composition that is different from the one they entered with. Pallet racks can help with ease of use in this area and keep products organized for easy picking.
There can be separate storage for those who need pick-and-place systems such as robots in automated warehouses, which will automatically add pieces into containers without human intervention. These types of picking zones may include automated machines.
Dispatch areas are where you’ll find packing orders prepared in the previously described areas. Even if this isn’t necessary for your order, there are still other uses, like dispatching or loading goods onto delivery and distribution vehicles as needed.
If your warehouse uses driverless vehicles that are computer-controlled, you may want to consider building a dispatch area for them where their cargo is loaded onto the trucks before they head out. The warehouse location should have enough room so that these types of software-driven vehicles can maneuver around and an open space near the warehouse door to load and unload goods onto a delivery truck.
The dispatch area should have free-flowing movement for optimal traffic flow and can include your warehouse packing station. This space must have a specific location in the warehouse layout. Not placing it in the right spot could lead to a clog in your warehouse’s ability to send products out.
Benefits of Using a Professional To Design Your Warehouse Layout
Using warehouse design software can make the entire process go much smoother. But not everyone has access to this technology or knows how to utilize it. It’s best to take advantage of warehouse layout design services offered by professionals, as they have all the necessary experience and know-how to help you come up with a workable warehouse plan that will maximize efficiency without costing too much money.
They will work with warehouse management to design a layout that truly works for your business. Most warehouses are large, square areas, but designing your warehouse is unique and should be done by a professional, so it is done correctly to optimize efficiency.
A well thought out warehouse layout design can increase profitability, as it reduces overheads, including those associated with wasted time, space, money, etc. If you’re looking for warehouse layouts, consult with Warehouse Solutions, Inc. today! We serve the greater Midwest and are experts in finding solutions to all of your warehouse needs.