You are well-versed in your product line. You’ve done your homework on your target market and are confident in your price. Your marketing strategy is complete. However, none of these measures will help if your warehouse is disorganized. The right warehouse structure streamlines your business, allowing you to enhance efficiency while lowering costs.
This article will help you enhance your warehouse design and hence accelerate your workflow, whether you have a new warehouse or are looking to optimize an existing one. Here are the tips you need to customize your warehouse pallet racking layout.
Create a Map of Your Space To Better Understand
Create a scaled map of the warehouse space that allows for effective workflow. You can either draw your map on paper or use a warehouse layout design software. It’s entirely up to you.
Your map should ideally be precise enough to provide a clear path for your product travelling clockwise from and back to your loading and unloading dock. Here are some important considerations for your warehouse design:
- Making the most of the space available
- Providing quick access to the product that is being stored
- Having the highest possible rotation ratio
- Allowing for maximum product positioning flexibility
- Keeping track of how many items are on hand
Optimize Layout in the Warehouse Based on the Needs of Each Section
Now that you’ve got a map as a starting point, it’s time to examine each station in your diagram for efficiency.
Unloading and loading cargo. An organized warehouse requires a clearly defined area for the entry and outflow of commodities. Most of the materials that come into your warehouse enter and go through this region. Depending on your space, you can place your loading and unloading facility within or outside the warehouse building.
Receiving. This area should be located and operated separately from your loading and unloading hub. Before transferring items to their right location in the warehouse, ensure that your team members verify and count goods received, maintain quality control, and sort items here.
Storage. Because your storage area will take up the greatest room in your warehouse, it will take the most effort and consideration. Consider the following questions: what are the products that must be stored, what is their estimated turnover rate, and what are their weight, size, and other storage requirements?
How do you figure out how much storage you’ll need? As a general rule, product storage should take up around 25 percent of your entire warehouse area. When calculating your overall storage capacity, remember to account for both vertical and horizontal space. You should also consider your storage area to be out of space if your facility is at 85 percent capacity.
Consider Other Support Services in Your Layout
A central area dedicated to staff services should also be included in your warehouse layout. This section is critical to your company’s overall performance. Services for assistance include:
- Modular offices
- Break rooms and employee lounges
- Storage space for equipment
When these services are centralized, you save space and make it easier and safer for employees to navigate. Besides this, doing so will help reduce the amount of pedestrian accidents that are experienced. The logic follows that if you keep all your employees on foot to a single place that they would not need to leave, you reduce the risk of them crossing into the busy aisles and pathways throughout the warehouse. Many warehouses choose to merge their front office with the rest of their support service areas to ensure ease of access and safety.
Pick the Right Equipment for the Job
After you’ve determined the various areas of your warehouse, the following stage in the warehouse layout process is to select the proper equipment for your operation.
Your choices will be influenced by the amount of space you have and the resources you work with. Forklifts come in handy when it comes to moving big, bulky objects and pallets throughout the warehouse. Pallet jacks, which are available in both manual and motorized versions, can transfer small items in your warehouse across shorter distances.
Remember that forklifts need a minimum aisle width of 12 feet to operate properly. Workers must also receive sufficient training in order to safely use warehouse equipment.
Test Your Warehouse Design
Even the best-designed layouts might be rendered useless by a fatal error. That’s why it’s critical to put your new warehouse design to the test. Include all your personnel and equipment in this test.
Keep track of how things go during the test run and what must be changed to improve things.
Consider Other Factors for Your Warehouse Layout
Now that you’ve established the foundation for an adaptable and efficient warehouse plan, it’s time to examine some of the optional phases.
- Forklifts require a large turning radius.
- OSHA regulations and local ordinances call for a three-foot minimum clearance around electrical panels.
- For warehouse racking, employ precise ceiling height measurements.
- When deciding where to put your racks, keep in mind ceiling-mounted sprinkler systems.
- Plan exits and entrances in a way that ensures safety and smooth operation.
- To save space, consider using tunnel bays (rack cuts) instead of aisles.
Consider Other Warehouse Racking Options
Finally, racking is critical to a successful warehouse plan.
Consider the size, shape, and weight of your products, as well as how they will be packaged and dispatched, when choosing the finest racking solutions for your warehouse. Pallet rack systems that utilize pallet rack wire decking are the most popular type of racking due to their hardiness and ease of use, whereas cantilever rack is better for longer products.
Push back racking is the ideal option for LIFO (last in, first out) storage. Pallet flow racking allows for higher density storage for FIFO (first in, first out) storage. Furthermore, putting your high-turnover items closer to the picking and shipping sections will cut down on the time you spend retrieving them.
Pallet racking systems are complex and difficult to understand, which is why we hope our article covering some of the major tips for customizing your pallet racking layout has been helpful to you. Remember that no matter what, there will be difficulties in designing the best layout possible. It is up to you to stick through the hardship, as the rewards of increased efficiency and safety are well worth the effort!