Warehouse Design Principles


Ensuring a good operational warehouse layout in a distribution facility, both internally and externally, will have a significant positive impact on labour productivity and facility throughput capacity. Taking into account the fixed costs associated with investment in land and warehouse buildings, plus annual charges associated with a warehouse facility, it is worthwhile investing time to optimise the warehouse design and layout of the site and buildings. An increased annual throughput reduces the fixed cost per case or item handled.

General Warehouse Layout Principles

In designing a good operational warehouse layout, there are a number of general principles that should be applied:

  • Allow movements to take place in a logically sequenced flow
  • Avoid cross-traffic and bottlenecks
  • Avoid unnecessary movement or travel
  • Allow sufficient space buffer between process steps

A further operating principle that impacts on the warehouse design process is to de-couple the resources allocated to critical tasks or activities. As a simple example, a delay in a put-away process could impact on both the goods receipt function and the replenishment of picking locations.

Total Logistics suggests that the external warehouse layout of a facility should be developed with consideration of:

  • Overall site flows of vehicles arriving at and leaving the site
  • Requirements for parking / queuing of delivery vehicles
  • Parking of trailers on site
  • Security /gatehouse arrangements
  • Pedestrian walkways and car parking facilities

Top Warehouse Plannning Tips

Tips for the best results in warehouse planning include:

  • Create a detailed materials flow chart
  • Consider the specific space requirements of each activity in terms of the supply chain operation
  • Compare a range of layout configurations
  • Plan for further expansion
  • Check the layout against the general principles identified above

Warehouse Design and Total Logistics

Total Logistics provides independent advice across all areas of supply chain management including warehouse design, warehouse layout and S & OP. For more information call +44 (0)118 977 3027 or visit www.total-logistics.eu.com

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