When you work in warehouse operations, it’s not just about what you have, but where you place it. Just like all other parts of warehouse management, the physical layout has a big impact on storage efficiency.
How easily can items be placed? How quickly can you retrieve them? Is everything safe? You want to maximize your space, but you also want to leave yourself room to work with. The key is understand your warehouse’s objective and plan accordingly (while keeping safety in mind).
What’s the Purpose of My Warehouse?
Why type of warehouse do you have? Is it for long term storage? Are products constantly going in and out? Is it FIFO? LIFO?
If there is a lot of constant movement in your warehouse, you’ll want as much room as possible. This is especially true if you have multiple people placing and retrieving items at once. You’ll also want more space if you have customers entering your warehouse. If that’s the case, extra room not only makes your warehouse more appealing and easier to navigate, but it also keeps it safer.
On the other hand, if your warehouse is long term storage, and especially if it’s LIFO, you can keep your inventory very tight and close together.
Set a Plan
Once you know what you are trying to achieve, you can plan accordingly. For some, it’s as simple as scribbling on a piece of paper. For more advanced warehouses, you might need to produce actual blueprints. Try to pre-visualize as much as possible so you can save yourself some work down the road.
Set up the warehouse. Make sure everything is secure, whether it’s a pallet rack or an industrial shelf. Use post protectors and wall ties if needed. Also communicate with your team and make sure they know how everything is supposed to flow.
After a couple of weeks, examine your warehouse and see how everything is working. If things are getting choked up in one area or someone finds some aspect to be unsafe, fix it. Once again, talk with your team. With a little tweaking, you should find yourself with a very safe and efficient warehouse.