It does not matter what sort of warehouse you run, how big it is, or what products you stock, you need to make sure that the layout and design are considered carefully. Both elements play a critical role when it comes to the efficiency of your warehouse. If the design is not logical and the layout is difficult to navigate, your warehouse is only going to hold your business back and stop you from achieving the success levels you are capable of. With that being said, read on to discover some useful tips and suggestions for warehouse design and layout.
Establish realistic goals for improving warehouse design – A lot of business owners dive right in and try to make improvements to the design and layout without any plan. You need to establish realistic goals before you start making any changes. What are you hoping to achieve by making changes to the layout and design of your warehouse? For example, do you want to improve the efficiency of the returns process? Are you trying to implement a specific philosophy, for example, a lean warehouse philosophy? Is the main area that you want to focus on inventory? Do you want to improve capacity by investing in the likes of plastic pallets that stack on top of eachother? By establishing clear and specific goals, you will be best placed to make improvements.
Consider engaging outside experts – It is wise to be open to the idea of getting expert advice regarding your warehouse. After all, in recent years, warehouse design has changed considerably. Big distribution centers have moved from single-channel inventories, now operating multi-channel inventories. In fact, there are a lot of small warehouses that have also started to automate their operations. An outside expert can do an objective and thorough assessment of your warehouse, pointing you to any signs of trouble. It can often be difficult to look at your own operations from an objective viewpoint. Sometimes we overlook issues simply because we are so used to them, and so we don’t recognize problematic areas. This is where an outside expert can really come in useful. Not only this but they will have contacts with the likes of cladding companies and warehouse software firms, ensuring you get the right help you need if you do need to make any sort of improvements or changes at your warehouse.
Don’t overlook health and safety – No matter how big or small your warehouse is, no matter what your operations consist of, you need to make sure that health and safety are at the forefront of all of your decisions. You can help to save lives and stop worker accidents from occurring by enforcing operational safety standards and making wise warehouse layout choices. Docks are especially dangerous. You need to ensure that all operators are certified to use heavy equipment, enforce safety protective equipment rules, avoid forklifts approaching dock edges, keep aisles clean, and make sure that everything is secured.
So there you have it: three key tips to improve your warehouse’s layout.