Most of the times’ warehouse designs are taken for granted and neglected in terms of investment, considering the overall supply chain strategy. However, it is the warehousing operation in most businesses that is the key factor in the success or failure of the supply chain.
The main functionality of a warehouse is to receive and distribute products all along the supply chain process. So, it becomes important to take into consideration how the warehouse is designed. The requirements of the present as well as for the future should always be kept in mind.
Productivity is directly linked to the layout of the warehouse. Hence, you got to have a perfect warehouse design for operations to take place smoothly. The goal of warehouse designing is to optimise the warehousing operations and achieve maximum efficiency. In short, the warehouse design element aims to maximize the utility of space, equipment, and efficiency of operations.
Here are some factors listed for the design and layout of a warehouse:
1. Product: What kind of goods will it hold?
Understanding the characteristics of the goods, that needs to be stored will primarily solve the storage purpose. For instance, characteristics like the number of units to be stored, unit weight, unit dimensions and so on. Since it’s all about the product/goods, we should make sure to categorize the goods and make a place for the same in the warehouse design as per the requirement.
2. Space: What physical characteristics should the warehouse have?
The dimensions and characteristics of the warehouse infrastructure play a huge role in deciding the layout structure inside a warehouse. These features impact the design of shelves, capacity of the installations and the distribution of the goods inside the warehouse. There are some limitations too that must be considered: access, floors, windows, columns, boxes, lines and power lines etc. There are building regulations too which directly affects the calculations of metal storage structures and ultimately, the warehouse design too.
3. Equipment: What means are available?
In many cases, basic warehouse design not only includes vacant space but elements like racks, lifts or transport equipment are also taken into account. These components really influence the design proposal. They make it possible to evaluate the design best adapts to project needs, any limitations present and/or the need to integrate new equipment in the future as per capacity expansion.
4. Circulation of goods: How do goods circulate?
Circulation here refers to the movement that happens in logistical operations, such as dispatch, receipt and order preparation processes. Product rotation is how often the goods are renewed, i.e., a high-rotation product is one that has a high rate of input and output. Moving loads involve costs, hence it’s better to minimize the movement, provided the company operational procedure admits it. Detecting these flows is very important as they contribute to defining what is needed for effective warehouse design.
5. Personnel: How much is the manpower requirement?
The staff working in the warehouse is one of the most important assets for any company. It is important to know the required number of employees, their level of training etc.
How they are organized in the shifts they work in are the other related factors in order to refine the proposed warehouse design. They should be introduced to various automated components, warehouse management software and other IT tools which are much more specialized than before. Industry standards also demand high-level commitment on the part of management in order to ensure the health & safety standards for workforce are in place.
Warehouse operations decide the supply chain efficiency to a great level. How these operations will be carried out depends on the layout of the warehouse. Thus, it is important to consider warehouse design an integral part of the supply chain process. It’s been observed that warehouses designed by supply chain experts enable organisations to achieve the maximum out of their warehouse operations and enhance overall efficiency.