Warehouse layouts. The ultimate conundrum for warehouse managers. Do you sort by product type? Or by frequency? Do you work around the space provided or the items you have? It’s an age-old question, but we’ve put together a guide that will get your warehouse in tip-top condition and optimised for maximum efficiency. We’ll cover planning from the very beginning with a blank piece of paper, right the way through to how to arrange your warehouse.
Create a Warehouse Schematic
You can create a schematic for your warehouse with a basic pencil and paper plan in 2D or go a step further and use design software. This is a critical step regardless of the size of your warehouse and should be exact. This is to prevent oversights and missing crucial information such as which way doors open – or you could end up blocking access. To create your schematic, you’ll need a copy of your warehouse blueprint, or you can draw on to grid paper with one scare equalling one square foot. This is a critical step as the measurements should match your warehouse exactly. Every measurement must be considered as the shelving and warehouse racking you invest in might not fit. It’s also essential to note down columns, doors, office areas, sloping floors, or stairways so you can get a clear picture of the space you have to work with.
Plan Your Space
Before you start planning your space and plotting where shelving and products will live, you must consider the intended use of your warehouse. For example, is it primarily an assembly line? Or is it for picking and packing orders? Once you have decided upon its use, you can then start to plot the space. You need to understand what your key units will be, for example, which will be the most important items of shelving and which warehouse racking will take up the most space. Alternatively, if you are a manufacturing warehouse, the goals of your warehouse will vary, and you will need to plan accordingly.
Once you’ve worked out where your key pieces of kit will live, such as warehouse racking and warehouse accessories, it’s time to think about how your team and goods will move around the warehouse. This means creating zones for the operation to function efficiently. For example, you may need to have a packing zone where orders will be processed or an assembly line if your warehouse is production-based. You need to allocate enough space around these areas for people and goods to move effectively. Still, you also need to consider where these areas will be. For example, high volume stock should be located close to the packing area.
Selecting the Right Warehouse Kit
A crucial part of your warehouse layout is the kit you choose. In addition, the warehouse racking and shelving you select will form a significant part of your warehouse, so it’s essential you get it right. You don’t want to be without heavy-duty shelving for those bulkier items, and industrial shelving goes one step further with many options from Tufferman offering up to 1400kg storage if evenly distributed. It’s also worth noting that warehouse accessories are a significant factor in your warehouse. Parts bins, workbenches and workstations, plastic storage boxes, ladders and steps are all cogs in a broader operation that you don’t want to be without.
Creating an efficient warehouse relies on attention to detail and really zeroing in on your warehouse needs. You need to look at tasks performed, high volume areas, the kit used, and how your staff operate. It’s always worth testing the flow of your warehouse to see what works and what doesn’t, so you can tweak and alter the set-up as you go along. But remember, planning ahead and testing will avoid unnecessary changes later down the line. When you take the time to plan and organise your warehouse, you’ll undoubtedly save money and time and end up with organisational efficiency.