How to Effectively Design Warehouse Layouts to Improve Efficiency

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As your business grows, improving and innovating to stay at the top of your industry should be top of mind. To maintain your customer base, maximize the efficiency of your operation, and see the best ROI possible, consider your warehouse. Are you using the available space to the best of your ability? Does the flow of your operation and utilization of each square foot help or hinder your day-to-day operations? If your answer to either of these questions is “no” or “I’m not sure…”, it’s time for a change. Warehouse layouts can impact the overall success of any logistics business. And, while designing or redesigning your warehouse is no simple task, there are a few key concepts to consider. We compiled the most important parts of general warehouse design and some quick tips as you begin to rethink your layout.

Concepts to Consider Before Redesigning Warehouse Layouts

The following three concepts are perhaps the most important to think about before making big changes to your warehouse.

1) Space

Perhaps the most obvious of these three concepts, space is key to redesigning the layout. However, a lot of space in distribution centers and warehouses is frequently overlooked. Many business owners and warehouse managers see only the floor space in front of them and fail to consider the opportunities of using vertical space.

To maximize the space you have, consider, for example, your available storage space. Are you simply spreading everything around without any helpful equipment? Vertical racks and various pieces of freestanding equipment can ensure you are maximizing your ROI on every inch of space. The bonus is that several of these pieces of equipment are easily disassembled and reassembled, giving you flexibility to continue to innovate as your business grows.

2) Flow

Flow in a warehouse means that your materials and staff can move through space as quickly and efficiently as possible. The uninterrupted movement of your product, staff, and general traffic within your building can make all the difference. It allows product to move faster and mitigates any risk from high traffic or machinery crashes. Essentially, ensuring flow means that each necessary activity is located as closely and usefully to the activity that precedes it and proceeds from it. This eliminates disruption.

3) Accessibility

Finally, optimizing accessibility ensures the efficiency of the two concepts above. If things get in the way of your staff executing the necessary steps, your warehouse layout is lacking space and flow optimization. Simply put, all products should be placed on pallets in an order that makes sense, so that nothing needs to be moved to get from one product to the next. In essence, this means thinking strategically about the way you stack and locate pallets of your product throughout your space.

Quick Tips & Tricks for Improving Operations

While optimizing warehouse layouts is not a simple or quick process, there are a few simple and quick tips you can employ to get started!

  1. Review Your Business Goals.
    1. This tip is fairly simple because you have already determined what your business goals and objectives are. Likely, however, you have never looked at them with the specific goal of warehouse optimization in mind. Try reviewing your business goals with this new objective in mind. Through this new lens, you may be able to see some opportunity for reworking your current structure that will be more profitable for you.
  2. Set Inventory Needs.
    1. After you have analyzed your business goals, your inventory needs should become clear. Specifically, the amount of stock, how much product you need, and the movement of that product. How will it arrive? How will it depart to your customers? Knowing all of this before redesigning warehouse layouts is key for optimization.
  3. Create an Implementation Plan.
    1. With your inventory needs clearly delineated, you can now create a plan for implementing a new layout. At this step, you should also consider partnering with a storage expert that can assess your space and ensure the efficiency of your new layout. This partner should understand all your business goals, take your inventory needs into account and then, build a design and timeline that work for you, without disrupting your everyday operations.
  4. Test Your New Layout!
    1. After your new design is drafted, test it out by mapping the new areas out with tape. Afterward, collect feedback from your staff as to how the new layout helped or hindered their performance. Your warehouse manager and staff are invaluable resources for helping you determine the best ways to optimize space and flow.

Specialized Storage Can Help You

When considering a warehouse layout redesign, choosing the right partner to help you execute can make all the difference. Our experts have years of experience assessing warehouse space and redesigning the layout to maximize everything. More importantly, we guarantee that our team can provide the best, most cost-effective solution tailored specifically for your business operations. When you choose Specialized Storage, you are partnering with proven practices, professionalism and ultimately, peace of mind. To learn more about our warehouse design process, contact us today!