How to Design a Good Warehouse

Designing a good warehouse is not as simple as it seems. There is much more involved in a good warehouse than space and pallet racking. From the first construction plans to the right fork lifts, there is a lot involved in planning a good warehouse. But what are the main steps to designing a good warehouse? While this article does not mean to be exhaustive, it should set you on the right path and help you discuss things with your contractors and your staff.

The first thing to consider is, of course, construction. What are the construction laws for warehouses in your city? Do you need to comply with any safety and fire codes? All these things will influence construction time and cost. Along with construction issues, you also need to choose the proper location. Your warehouse needs to have highway access at the very least, if your business scope is local or regional. For national and international businesses, you also need to have access to ports, airports and train hubs. All these are closely tied with the objectives of the warehouse itself: defining these objectives will help you along with choosing proper construction methods and a good location.

Choosing a good racking system is probably the biggest concern after location and construction. The racking system will influence a wide array of factors in your business: efficiency, container handling, distribution and anything related to the movement of your product. So, choosing the right one is essential to maintain your business and to help it grow. You might want to think about designing your warehouse “inside out”, as it were: choose the right racking system first, and then build your warehouse around this choice. Unless you have specialized knowledge in racking yourself, you should leave the design to professionals.

Then there are some details you need to reflect one. What kind of doors will you use for your warehouse? Will you divide it in sections, with many doors? How many times will they open and close every day? There are also health and safety concerns. How is your sprinkler system? What kind of training will your employees have? How will you dispose of the waste produced by your warehouse? What are the emergency routes and are they free of obstacles for the people working in your warehouse?

You should also think about how to introduce technology and automation in your warehouse. Do you want to have real-time inventory, or will you do a weekly or monthly one? Will you have employees doing all the job from A to Z, or will there be some automated sections like packing and wrapping?

There are a great deal more details to think about when designing a warehouse, but the shelving system and the construction are definitely the main issues. Some more issues you might want to think about are the fork lifts, the flooring and even temperature control for climate-sensitive products. As long as you keep an integral approach to your design and get help from professionals, you will have a warehouse that suits your needs and will contribute to the expansion of your business.

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