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Posted by Stephanie on January 23, 2023

Designing a new warehouse is an essential process that requires you to manage many different moving parts. The layout of your facility should be strategically planned to make sure that the available space is properly utilized, operations function smoothly, productivity is improved, and employees are kept safe.

The best warehouse layout design is a practical and functional one that makes it easier for your business to reach its goals. When designing a warehouse layout, there are some key principles that should be adhered to.

With the amount of business that has switched to eCommerce solutions over the past decade, there is high demand for logistics and storage services. Consumers demand quicker service that allows products to be delivered at any time of the day. Warehouse spaces need to accommodate these changes, which is why a modern warehouse layout design is important. This guide takes a closer look at the main principles of warehouse layout design.

What is a Warehouse Layout Design?

Great warehouse design involves enhancing the flow of the facility. However, there are numerous things that can be done to the facility’s design to improve your operations, keep costs manageable, and boost productivity.

The main objective of warehouse layout design is to effectively optimize how the space is used. When a warehouse is optimized, companies can reduce the amount of time it takes for a product to be produced and shipped. You’ll also gain a better understanding of what works in your warehouse and what needs to be improved. When designing a new layout, you should make sure that inventory is organized in a manner that streamlines the process at all stages.

The right warehouse layout design will also increase productivity without requiring you to sacrifice quality. If the design is properly implemented, you should notice that errors and bottlenecks are kept to a minimum.

Things to Consider While Designing Your Warehouse Layout

There are numerous factors that you should consider when designing a warehouse layout. Following the principles detailed below should help you create an efficient layout that facilitates streamlined warehouse operations.

Budget

Before you begin to design your warehouse layout, you should take a look at your current business requirements and review all of the related budgets. Once you know how much you can afford, the process of planning the layout becomes much more straightforward. Throughout this process, you may encounter designs that are more expensive than the other options available to you. While these designs offer more benefits that your company can take advantage of, consider opting for a cost-efficient solution that matches your budget.

Space

Properly using your warehouse space can assist you in reducing travel time, enhancing inventory visibility, and improving operational efficiency. During the design phase for your warehouse layout, make sure that you provide a considerable amount of space for inventory processing and storage purposes.

Space for charging stations, pallets, and office areas should be kept to a minimum. How you allocate the space determines your installation capacity and shelving designs.

Flow

If you want your warehouse to function smoothly, it’s essential that the layout is designed in a manner that ensures an uninterrupted flow of personnel, equipment, and goods throughout the facility. Minimize disruptions and inefficient routes by taking time to plan the layout design. Every operation that occurs in your warehouse should take place sequentially.

Accessibility

As you plan the layout for your warehouse, you should make sure that all of the products and areas in your facility come with easy accessibility. Personnel should be able to navigate the warehouse in a simple and streamlined manner, which means that they will be able to find and select items without needing to move additional products. With the right amount of accessibility, you should be able to improve productivity and fulfill orders at a quicker rate.

Equipment and Technology

The layout design of your warehouse can be directly influenced by the different kinds of equipment and technology you use. If you use conveyors, lifting and packing tools, or pallet racks, these pieces of equipment must be taken into account when you design the facility’s layout. Once you’ve identified the type of equipment you expect to use, focus on creating a design that meets your requirements while also keeping productivity high.

As for technology, deliveries are constantly tracked these days, which means that there are thousands of data points that a centralized system is able to track. The various technologies that you can use in your facility include everything from Internet of Things sensors to RFID chips. The purpose of these tools is to increase precision and efficiency with complex operations.

Designing a modern warehouse means that goods shouldn’t simply be stacked on top of one another or placed in empty floor space by a forklift. It’s possible to optimize your warehouse layout design by implementing inventory management software, resource management solutions, and tracking tools. When you use tracking, you can identify what happens to all items in the supply chain as they progress through your warehouse.

Throughput

Throughput is the total number of products that are moved throughout warehouse processes like:

  • Receiving
  • Storage
  • Picking
  • Packing
  • Shipping

Once you’ve collected all of this data, it’s possible to design a warehouse layout that allows for efficient flow of your goods.

Personnel

Having a good idea of the number of people who will be moving throughout your warehouse is necessary when designing the layout. Identify the amount of training that your employees have had. Your layout should be designed in a way that accommodates new employees and any needs they might have as well.

Cold Storage

While cold storage was once the focus of wholesalers and supermarkets, it has now expanded to include meal delivery and online grocery shopping services. All of these services require localized cold storage. Over the past decade, there has been a high demand for natural and organic goods, most of which come with relatively short shelf lives.

Since organic goods don’t contain pesticides or genetic modifications, they don’t stay fresh for a lengthy period of time. If you’re designing a warehouse that requires cold storage, you should take this into account when creating an efficient and productive layout.

Eco-friendliness

Warehouses have increased in size considerably to deal with the demand from consumers across the world. Larger warehouses invariably require a large amount of heating and cooling, which means that energy costs can be high. Since most warehouses have high energy requirements these days, it’s important that you consider Eco-friendliness when designing a modern warehouse layout.

Along with making ceilings and walls thicker, you can also make your warehouse more Eco-friendly by recycling all waste products, installing solar panels, and including high-quality insulation. If your warehouse is being built in an urban area, think about partnering with some local charities to donate damaged goods instead of wasting them.

Authority Guidelines

When you design the layout of your warehouse, make sure that you adhere to the different guidelines that the local authorities maintain. Doing so will keep your workers and equipment safe. It should also help you protect your assets and avoid serious legal issues and fines.

permit services

Sprawling Sites

Even though warehouses have increased considerably in size, the sites around them have done so as well. You’ll need to ensure numerous points of egress and entry throughout your warehouse layout. There should also be plenty of loading bays as well as technical support teams.

Consider implementing online security, warehouse management services, and firefighting services into the design. Warehouse operations are more complex than ever, which is why a considerable amount of planning and research should be performed during the design process.

If you expect that your warehouse will utilize any of the aforementioned services, keep in mind that these services need more space than what’s available in the warehouse itself. Make sure that recreational spaces are also available for employees. All areas of the warehouse will need to be operational consistently to meet the demands of people who shop online. You may no longer be able to stick to the 9-to-5 hours that occur with retail shopping.

In the years to come, there’s also a possibility that warehouse layout design will undergo more significant changes with the introduction of drones, automation, and other types of technology. Think about these technologies when designing your warehouse layout.

Why Choose QMH?

Here at QMH, we provide all of our clients with exemplary customer service and premium warehouse solutions to make sure that all of their needs are met. If you’re getting ready to build a new warehouse, our general contractor services can help you design a modern and efficient layout. Call us today if you have any questions about layout design, equipment, and permitting.

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The QMH mission is to serve and/or create a world where people and products are handled the right way. Our customer service philosophy is simple: We strive to be the best for everyone who walks through our door. We’re passionate about providing our customers with the greatest value for their money.

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With over 32 years of experience in material handling, QMH is committed to providing end-to-end solutions for companies with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs. From permit approval management to full-service execution from the ground up, QMH delivers unique solutions providing distinct value in record time.