There are about a million and one reasons why a warehouse might reach a point where it’s begging for a redesign. Changes in product supply and consumer demand can influence which items are being moved in and out of a warehouse, company growth can facilitate more volume, economic conditions can affect employment, and so on. Some warehouses grow quickly in a small period of time and the process is somewhat improvised, whereas others might be arbitrarily laid-out by executives who have no idea how warehouses work.
We could go on, but the point is that many warehouses need help, and you’re not alone if you’re scratching your head, thinking that your operations could surely be more efficient and cost-effective. Well, you’re not wrong, and that’s where we come in. As industry professionals known for our quality racking products, you can bet we know a thing or two about how to design a good warehouse.
While we encourage you to contact us for a comprehensive redesign job, there are a few best-practice tips that are good to remember. Here are some useful strategies to remember:
Establish Your Objectives
The first step in considering warehouse redesign is to know where your priorities are. Changing your layout and investing in new industrial shelving won’t just solve all your issues — every product is a solution to a different problem.
Are you trying to make your processes faster? Is saving money the main goal? Are you having collision problems and accidents? Do you want to reduce labor? It’s important to know which problems you’re struggling with, and which outcomes you desire the most. With that basic foundation, all of the following steps become a little bit easier.
Understand How the Warehouse Works
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often warehouse design decisions are informed by people who don’t have skin in the game. In other words, it’s important to get input and feedback from people who actually operate the warehouse, because they know better than anyone else what the major problems are.
If you don’t spend time in the warehouse on a daily basis, familiarize yourself with how everything works; everyone will be grateful for it! Leaving warehouse design decisions to uninformed executives is like leaving a janitor to create the layout of a chef’s kitchen — nonsensical!
Not Using the Right Racking
This is a huge point, and in all honestly, we could write countless blog posts specifically dedicated to the unique advantages of different warehouse racking systems. But for the intents and purposes of this article, it suffices to say that it matters. A lot.
Every type of warehouse racking and industrial racking targets a specific need. Take our Engineered Racks, for example, which are comprised of Drive-In and Drive-Through designs. The former is ideal for last-in, first-out inventory rotation, while the latter is targeted for first-in, first-out. It’s not a tremendous difference, but patching up the small things like that is what will ultimately make your warehouse run more smoothly.
For more information on the advantages of different racking systems, we encourage you to take a look at our product pages. You’ll find plenty of info on popular products such as pallet racks, mezzanines, cantilever racks, and more.
Implement Cross Aisles to Reduce Transportation Time
In a warehouse setting, you probably know that every inch of space needs to be used to its maximum potential. If you’re wasting space, you’re either damaging your productivity, profitability, or efficiency. So, it makes sense to close up as many gaps as possible so you can store as much product as possible, right?
Well, not necessarily. Many warehouses like having endlessly long, straight aisles with no gaps in between, otherwise known as cross-aisles. This effectively turns your warehouse into a series of extremely long corridors rather than something that resembles a grid-like system. While this gives you a little more storage space, it ends up causing a lot more travel.
With no cross-aisles, you need to go all the way up or all the way down to get out of the aisle you’re in, instead of cutting through the middle. The trick is knowing the right balance; too many cross aisles can result in valuable space getting wasted, but too few will have a negative impact on transportation time and productivity.
When you think of warehouse design, you’re probably thinking about the placement of your industrial storage racks, the travel routes of your vehicles, the spaciousness (or lack thereof) of your receiving area, and so on. But there’s one simple factor that many people end up neglecting: the wifi setup.
If your warehouse is like most others, you probably use a WMS system which is foundational for your operations. Web connectivity is typically an essential component, so it can throw a huge wrench into your operations when your internet goes down. And, with a space as massive as a warehouse, this is quite possible if your wifi wasn’t installed with expertise.
The location of your wifi hub unit should be carefully considered, and it’s also a boon to consult with IT professionals to ensure that you have a strong and reliable network throughout the entire floor. This is one area that shouldn’t be left to a layman, because on the day that your internet starts to fail you, it could hurt your bottom line a lot more than the price of paying an IT professional for installation.
Warehouse Racking and Design Services
As we mentioned above, no warehouse is so perfectly designed that it’s immune from improvement. Whether you need a major overhaul or some minor fixes such as some new warehouse shelving, American Storage and Logistics can help. Warehouse design is one of our major services, and we’re happy to consult with anyone, and we’ll gladly take a trip from our Grand Rapids headquarters to take a look at your building.
Want to take the first steps toward a better warehouse? For a no-obligation free quote, be sure to contact us today.