Getting your warehouse layout just right takes some extra effort, but it’s well worth investing your time in this endeavor because it has such a big impact on a business’s efficiency. Affecting everything from manufacturing to order fulfillment, it’s something that takes a certain level of expertise, which is why many warehouse operators call in fulfillment companies to get the job done right. However, if you’re going to tackle this task on your own, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, you need to create a warehouse layout schematic. Take a copy of your warehouse’s blueprint or draw up your own on grid paper if one isn’t available. Make sure it’s to scale – for example, use one square on the grid paper to denote one square foot. Some people use software to get the job done. Use tracing paper or even cutouts of your shelving and other equipment to try out different layouts. Accurate measurements are a must; even slight variations could see you end up with areas that are too tight.
Next, consider how you use your warehouse and make a list of what you need for operations in terms of equipment and workspace. Identify your key units, which are the objects that are at the heart of your production or those that occupy the most space.
Workflow an Essential Consideration
Once that’s out of the way, you need to consider how people and goods will be moving around these key elements. How much space will be needed for safe and comfortable production work? Manufacturing operations will need work areas around equipment, while stock and ship operations will need aisle space between the various shelving units.
Finally, you’ll need to take storage areas into account, especially if your work entails pack and ship. Make a list of everything you need to store so you can plan for the space you’ll need, considering how the goods will be moved around as well.
From there, you’re ready to start testing out different traffic flow plans to find one that will work for your business. It may take some trial and error, but it should pay off nicely in terms of productivity.