Warehouse design and layout are imperative to any facility’s efficiency. Whether you operate a manufacturing site, or a shipping and fulfilment centre, you could maximise productivity and minimise your costs simply with a robust warehouse floor plan.
Crucial considerations for your plans should include what inventory you are storing, and the amount of space required, alongside the integration of your facility with your chosen WMS and inventory management software. Another important consideration is your production areas including aisle layout and those which will maximise your productivity workflows.
The Supply Chain Network team provide steps to planning your perfect warehouse layout:
1. Digitally Visualise your Designs
Computer-generated diagrams of your proposed warehouse designs are beneficial to being able to visualise your facility and its potential before physical construction. An accurate 2D/ 3D representation is usually easy to create and can be useful to experiment with various layouts and features before firmly deciding on the final design and can enable you to ensure that your warehouse design measurements are correct too.
Using software like CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and 3D design & simulation software you can also prepare the spatial planning of your facility. This is beneficial for better understanding the specifications for your warehouse, and how the final design will fit shelving, racking, conveyors, and mezzanine levels.
With initial accurate measurements and digital drawings made to scale for your specific facility, digital design can transform the way you design your warehouse and view its potential. It can also help you to pinpoint any restrictions and serve to assist your planning to overcome any obstacles.
2. Space Optimisation
The purpose of your warehouse should be at the heart of all decisions made about the design and its internal functionality. Will you need to store raw materials or finished products? Are you manufacturing items on-site? Do you need space and organisation for eCommerce pick and pack operations? Ultimately, only you will know your specific business requirements and how these should be reflected in and supported by your final warehouse design.
In the first instance, whether it be manufacturing equipment or workstations, prioritising your equipment and workspace will allow you to focus on what items require most of the floor space in your facility and contribute to occupying the bulk of your production areas. These key elements should be the first to identify on your plan.
Next, floor space should be allocated to the production and workflow zones in your warehouse. This can include anything from considering your work staff, the space needed to move and store various materials, and the space required for production processes to be completed safely. At this stage of your warehouse design, you should also think about staff equipment including workbenches, tools and storage, and safety stations. Of course, only you can decide on the final warehouse design and understand the adequate space required for production processes and the space needed for the safe operation of manufacturing equipment.
A third and final integral consideration for your warehouse design should include storage areas. To begin with, you will need to consider what you need to store. This can include anything from boxed goods ready for pick, pack, and despatch, additional inventory, small assembly items, or even raw materials for manufacturing.
In all warehouse facilities, you should consider your plans for above as below. Utilising your overhead spaces can maximise the storage room. Beneficial on many levels, this additional capacity can enable you to over-stock for busier periods whilst also preserving your much-needed floor space for conducting efficient operational production processes.
3. Warehouse Equipment
Whether it be manufacturing or assembly, Pick and pack zones and assembly stations are common features in many warehouses. It is crucial to plan your warehouse layout with placement for these in mind. You may also need to other common warehouse solutions including shelving, racking, and pallet racks.
Other options for your warehouse may include Workspace equipment and materials handling equipment. Workspace equipment can include anything from multi-use tables and benches, manufacturing stations, packing stations, and dedicated shipping station tables. This equipment is usually implemented to ensure that processes such as pick, pack and despatch can be completed accurately and efficiently.
Materials handling equipment can include anything from forklifts and conveyors to stock carts, pallet jacks and rolling staircases. This equipment is imperative for staff to be able to move light and heavy materials around a facility with ease and efficiency. Ensuring that you plan adequate space for this apparatus is a vital inclusion to the final designs of your warehouse.
4. Planning for Efficiency
Efficiency needs to be at the forefront of your warehouse design ideas. Whether you are designing a totally new build facility or significantly adjusting your existing one, it is imperative to understand the basic functions of your warehouse, and its overall purpose, and from here plan designs that will best help you achieve this.
Using software to draw a detailed warehouse schematic and design simulation can help you to pinpoint where and how everything will fit into your site, and to ultimately provide you with an efficient and productive means of traffic flow and operations.
When panning for your warehouse usage needs, it is important to consider even the smallest details, from the amount of time your staff will be spending in different facility locations, to where the bulk of physical labour will happen to accurately know where to place manufacturing machinery and worktables. It is also vital to understand your workflows and to know where is best to store different inventory to ensure accurate and effective operations processes are supported. This insight will help you plan for on-site traffic and patterns in your facility and wider business operations.
Remember, while these are important things to consider, all warehouses and businesses differ from inventory held and purpose and layout and size, and only you can determine exactly the design of warehouse that you need to run your business effectively.
5. Design your warehouse floor plan with SCN
Experts in all aspects of warehouse and network design, SCN understands the importance of remaining competitive in a dynamic industry and the critical data analysis required to achieve this.
Specialists in Warehouse Design and Fit-Out, the SCN team can help you reach your facility’s fulfilment potential in 2022 and beyond. Visit www.scnuk.com to learn about the work that we do and to ensure you are ready, and future-proof your business plans and warehouse design.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 07581 496580