Although there are a lot of things that can affect efficiency in the warehousing industry, the overall layout of the space is one of the most important. Throughout my own extensive history of being a business owner, I have been responsible for setting up a variety of different warehouses, some as small as a single storage unit and others as large as a full-fledged warehouse with a combined office space. One thing that my experience taught me is that laying out the space with efficiency in mind is absolutely essential. Taking the time to plan out the space ahead of time can help ensure that the workflow is smooth and effective.
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When laying out a warehouse, you need to consider all of the following factors:
– What is the best way to utilize the space?
– What is the most efficient way for traffic to flow through the warehouse?
– What areas are going to be used for storage and what areas are going to be used for work?
Here is a closer look at some of the steps you should take throughout the planning process.
1) Start with a schematic of the warehouse space.
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Because most portable warehouse buildings are completely open, you have a lot of different options in terms of how you design the space. Ultimately, your goal should be to create a productive, efficient work area.
During this phase of the process, planning out the space on paper is a great way to figure out how to maximize efficiency. You may find it beneficial to obtain copies of the blueprints that were used to build the warehouse. That way, you will be able to plan the layout based on the exact measurements and shape of the space.
2) Begin planning how you want to use the space
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Once you have the overall shape and dimensions of your warehouse down on paper, you can then begin thinking about how best to use the space.
Start by considering the types of tasks you need to accomplish in the space. For instance, a company that manufactures products performs vastly different tasks than a company that warehouses and ships products for other businesses. Whatever type of business you are in, you will need to consider the following three factors when planning out the space:
– The type of equipment that you use.
– The amount of space that is required for everyday work activities.
– The breakdown of various tasks into different production activities or zones.
– The amount of space that is required for storage.
3) Create designated areas for your equipment and for any items that need to be stored.
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Most businesses that rent or purchase warehouse space have two basic requirements – they need to be able to store items and they also need an open area where equipment can be installed to facilitate work. For instance, a shipping company needs an area where they can store the items to be shipped. They also need an area where they can create stations for employees to pack orders when they come in. Only by evaluating the overall workflow of your business can you create a layout that perfectly balances storage areas with work areas.
4) Think about how the traffic will flow through the space.
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One of the best ways to increase productivity is by considering how traffic will flow through your workspace. In order to come up with an efficient layout, you need to spend a lot of time thinking about the tasks that are performed by your company on a daily basis. Here are some questions to consider:
– Where do most employees spend the vast majority of their time?
– Which pieces of equipment are the most frequently used?
– Which items are essential for employees to access in order to get their work done on a daily basis?
By thinking through these questions, you should be able to come up with an efficient layout that allows traffic to flow through the space in a way that is logical. Using the example of a shipping company again, the traffic flow may start at one end of the warehouse where orders are picked. Next, it moves on to an area where the orders are packed. Finally, it flows to the shipping area where the packages are loaded on trucks and shipped out.
An Efficient Warehouse Layout Can Impact Your Bottom Line
Even though it is a lot of work, it is well worth putting some thought and effort into coming up with an efficient layout for your warehouse. By finding ways to maximize the flow of traffic throughout the space, you can improve your company’s productivity. This, in turn, can boost your bottom line. As long as you start with an accurate schematic and think about the way your business operates, you should be able to come up with a layout that helps you meet your business goal.
James is an engineer by profession. He has over 6 years of experience in building temporary warehouses for both residential and commercial purposes. He is a hands-on guy who makes sure his works are high-quality and he ensures that every customer’s needs are met.