February 26, 2019

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Warehouse Design & Layout

Warehouse Design & Layout

Warehouse Design & Layout

Introduction to Warehouse Design & layout

A warehouse design refers to the layout of the warehouse, keeping in mind the current and future needs to facilitate the business growth, processes and personnel inside the warehouse.

Need for warehouse layout design

A layout design is to optimize the warehousing functions by maximum space utilization and it also is a requirement in order to meet the current and projected warehouse capacity. It involves consideration of various factors such as: Process flow, Material Handling Equipments, Types and Styles of Racking.  Moreover it acts as a document for approval/ authorization to operate a warehouse.

Elements of Warehouse Design – Location

Location of the warehouse is decided keeping in mind several factors such as Market, Manufacturing facility, Port, highway, rail link, Real estate availability, Expected delivery time, Truck routes, Water and electricity, Future plans and trends, Docks and Offices and Residential facility for staff.

Element of Warehouse Design – Building

Building of a warehouse is designed keeping in mind these factors such as Height of the building, Docks and Offices, Floor Design, Column Spacing, Types of Storage

Element of Warehouse Design – Layout

Internal layout design is built taking into account such as Operational process, Nature of goods, Volumes of transactions, Material handling equipment requirement, Storage types, Availability of floor space.

External layout design takes into consideration such as Truck parking area, Loading docks and Car parking area.

Principles of Warehouse Design

Principles of warehouse design includes unit loads, warehouse cubes, minimizing movement, controlling flow, safety and security and maintaining minimum operating costs.

Unit Loads: A unit load combines several items into single unit to move easily with a pallet jack or a forklift.

Warehouse Cubes: warehouse cubes makes the best use of space available inside the warehouse. It refers to the stacking of goods as high as possible and as dense as possible.

Minimizing movement: minimizing movement involves the design of the warehouse should be such that the movement of people and equipments should be minimum.

Controlling flow: where Warehouse storage racks and gangways need to be properly designed in order to control the flow of goods. The flow is controlled if the warehouse has specified areas for loading, unloading, staging, packing, labeling and dispatch etc.

Safety and Security: safety and security of Warehouse should be safe and secure as material safety becomes one of the primary objectives of a warehouse. This would take into consideration the warehouse locking facility, security staff and emergency numbers (police, fire hazard etc.)

Maintaining  minimum operating costs: it involves space planning for warehouse functions such as case picking, pallet storage, packing and unitizing, cross-docking etc.

Dynamics of Warehouse Design

Dynamics of warehouse design facilitate changes in business growth and size/ population of office and warehouse space. It accommodate the need for future loading docks, truck space, car parking space etc. Also it address material handling technology and business practices such as ‘Just-in-time’. Moreover it includes roof design with built-in extra structural capacity to handle addition of future rooftop addition. And it is to be designed with fire protection capacity to accommodate storage of materials with a greater fire hazard, such as plastic products, plastic wrapped pallets, chemicals etc.

Warehouse Aspects

We have looked over warehouse design and its layout, principles and dynamics of warehouse design etc. now what are the other aspects of warehouse we should aware about? Lets have a look !

The first important aspect we should know about is warehouse area, which includes storage space, office space, loading docks, operation of processes etc.

Next we should know about is  warehouse external dimension, where it says about its easy expansion, flexibility for internal layout, loading docks, vehicle parking, rest rooms for vehicle drivers etc.

Warehouse Aisle Orientation tells about the orientation of racks based on two concepts and they are Racks parallel to length (Fishbone concept) and Racks vertical to length (Hair comb concept).

Number of Docks  in a warehouse not a random idea rather than it decides over certain factors such as no.of receipts and shipments, type of loading and unloading, type and size of vehicle, timing of carrier.

Dock door act as a gateway for inbound and outbound process, where each dock door follows certain laws and technology have allowed the vehicles to be taller, wider’ lower and are constantly changing. Doors need to be high enough to accommodate the tallest trailers, wide enough to accommodate wider vehicles. Dock levelers are required, which may be mechanical, power assisted, hydraulic and/ or use of dock plates.

Besides this some other warehouse aspects are Emergency exists, Convinience rooms, types of goods stored  and MHE storage etc.


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