A design does not always refer to a blueprint for enhancing visual appeal. It can also mean a plan that will help in optimising functionalities or strike a balance between practical necessities and visual appeal. Warehouse design requires your business to decide on a plan that ensures seamless flow of goods within the warehouse. This contributes to streamlining the process of delivering effective warehouse solutions, and ensures customer delight.
This words by Thomas Watson Jr. perfectly sums up the significance of design – “Good design is good business.”
Let’s discuss the essential factors that has to be considered while deciding on warehouse design.
1. Customer-first approach
The first step towards a smart warehouse design is a thorough understanding of what the customer wants. Is it speedy delivery or high demand for products? Cutting down on delivery charges or some other factors? Or a combination of several factors? The answers to these questions drive decisions regarding location, storage solutions, facility costs, labour and other necessary considerations that ensure customer-centricity.
For instance, if the target audience prefers quick delivery, the warehouse network needs to be in close proximity to locations from where there is a high demand for your products. For effective cost control and passing on its benefits to the customer, four primary budget areas – facility costs, labour, inventory and transportation has to be considered while planning on the warehouse design.
2. Consider product demand
The layout of your warehouse depends on the product specifications and the frequency of demand. Analyse your orders to find the pattern that it consistently follows, so you can design your shelves and racks for storage accordingly. There are various options available in racking system like shuttle racking, cantilever racking etc to choose from. If the demand for your products is seasonal, you might as well consider a temporary space to ensure maximum utilisation of space and cost optimisation. For products that are often ordered together, keeping them in close quarters cuts down on travelling time within the warehouse. This helps your labourers or automated technology to achieve maximum productivity through effective time management.
3. Physical characteristics
Physical characteristics of warehouse design are an integral part of delivering smart warehouse storage solutions. Whether it be the ceiling height or the quality of floor or column spacing, all of these lead to maximising productivity through optimal utilisation of space. The rapidly increasing product mix has led to an enhanced demand for additional space. Ceiling height provides a greater scope for accommodating an increased warehouse capacity, getting more racks and shelves for goods storage and closer to their delivery destination. This, in turn,
drives productivity through optimal space utilisation. Wider column spacing between racks will enable you to efficiently tackle the rising demand for product mix. Warehouses with insufficient column spacing and narrow aisles run the risk of leading to safety concerns. Also, forklifts often find it difficult to make their way through narrow aisles. On the other hand, aisles that are wider than what is necessary acts as a barrier to installation of more shelves and racks for storage.
Floors made of specialised concrete improve its capacity to take more load, increasing the scope of tighter and higher rack configurations and also enabling level conveyor installations. What’s more, it enhances the efficiency for material handling equipment, which ensures seamless movement.
4. Safety and Sustainability
Sufficient exists at strategic places in the warehouse is of utmost importance for ensuring safety of the workforce. Water conservation measures, lighting, building insulation and solar panels not only reduce the carbon footprint but also help in cost controls.
5. Flexibility in Design
Staying in the present and planning for the future is true for every industry, and it is no different for the logistics industry. With business success, your warehouse needs will also undergo changes, giving rise to the need for flexibility in warehouse design. Opt for a flexible racking system that will enable you to make space for adjustments and expansions whenever you need it in the future. Industrial storage racks manufacturers have experts who can guide you to have the perfect storage solution which is scalable and flexible. These racking systems offer intermediate volume-production facilities to ensure that the usual production rate in your warehouse does not get adversely affected. It reduces the time that would be required to make a transition from the existing to the new setup, thus, maintaining turnover rates.
Design is one of the predominant factors that define the success of your business. The above factors will take you one step closer to smart warehouse solutions.
Are there any other factors that you think needs to be considered while planning your warehouse design? Share them with us.