How to design a cost-effective warehouse racking layout?

06. 25, 2018

The warehouse racking layout is the basis of the efficiency in your operations. Designing a warehouse layout can greatly increase your productivity and storage capacity while reducing the cost. Every layout is unique, but the goal of every design is to achieve the best storage density and optimizing the flow of items.

Efficient warehouse layout is very important to your warehouse infrastructure and design, beacause your warehouse racking system including a lot of related factors, such as floor, vertical space, inventory access, shipping and receiving areas, and other components. Nothing plays a bigger role in ensuring warehouse operation success than layout and design. With a well-designed warehouse, your facility can become more cost-effective and productive.

We will show you some tips for getting it done right, you will have a better understanding of what you will to do to design a cost-effective warehouse.

Determine the characteristics of your inventory

Firstly, you should identify the characteristics of your inventory that will help you determine which warehouse pallet racking, storage shelving, and other material handling equipment should be used. For example, what’s the shelf life of the items you need to store, the SKU is small or big. For items with expiration dates, a ‘first-in, first-out’ rack system is perfect solution. Drive-in or drive-through racking systems are ideal for products with longer life spans because it offers low selectivity. Selective racking systems are common in warehouses with continuous product circulation because it offers high selectivity.

Determine your storage needs

After defining the characteristics of your inventory, you should immediately determine your storage needs. You need to plan the amount of stock you intend to store, how big or small that stock will be, where the items will arrive and where it will depart, etc.

What you’re storing will dictate what you need to store it. This will also inform your aisle space, pallet rack height, and other equipment you’ll need to handle your inventory.

Determine your Space

You should survey and measure the basic features of your warehouse space. Taking down all unmovable or unchangeable factors, such as columns, doors and other obstructions. Take into account the location of these items to get an full idea of how your storage system will be set up.

If you have multiple SKUS, you should determine the best location for each. For example the items move a higher speed than other items should be placed near the front of the warehouse. It will eliminate travel times resulting in increased profuctivity and efficiency. Items that have low turnaround times should build a separate area to avoid interfering with the movement of other items.

The aisle width and height of racking or shelving also paly an important role in determining your system density. If you are accessing products by a forklift, the the size of the forklift will determine how narrow your aisle width can be. This will also cause how high you can build the system.

Warehouse racking layout is critical to warehouse efficiency. A proper design will make it easy to store, navigate and locate products while giving you more space in your warehouse.

Plan for expansion

The warehouse potential future short-term or long-term expansions should be take in to account. It’s a good chance for you if you want to increase more extra storage space to store more items. Choosing warehouse racking system, storage shelving or mezzanine floor system, each system is good way to extra space for your warehouse while reduce costly expansion expenses in the future. And the selection of system, you should determine the characteristics of inventory and inventory needs at first.

Test your warehouse layout

Before you build a pallet racking or shelving system, you should walk your warehouse to make sure eveything is in place and knows how the equipment runs.

By using tape to outline main work areas and making the employees and forklift to simulate work in the work area. Then find out the areas need to be changed.

It will help you get a intuitive understanding of your warehouse space. Whether need to re-optimize or not. Any errors here will result in worse errors later.

Rely on Warehouse Management System (WMS) to organize your warehouse layout

We can’t be overstated how important the wms is in getting the most out of your new warehouse layout, if you manage a lot of inbound or outbound inventory, such as during seasonal sales, a WMS can have a highly positive influence on your business. The functions of WMS in conjunction with an effective warehouse layout wil greatly improve your employees productivity and communicate with your customers more effectively.