5 Warehouse Design Errors to Avoid

The warehouse is one of the most important places in the supply chain. Great warehouse design that incorporates features such as high-density shelving systems and zones can make all the difference between a functional space and a highly efficient warehouse. Read about these five warehouse design mistakes to avoid.

Error 1: Low-Density and Inefficient Storage Solutions

Many businesses neglect their storage solutions and underestimate the importance of incorporating well-designed storage solutions into their warehouse. High density storage solutions not only allow businesses to make better use of existing space, they enhance efficiency. A good pallet racking system, for example, can allow faster picking by eliminating the need to cover long routes to access stock.

Integrate product profiles or stock keeping units (‘SKUs’) into your warehouse management system can help you create great zones (more on zones below) and make better decisions about storage design.

Error 2: Not Balancing Storage and Picking

While making good use of space is important and can improve pick order efficiency, it’s important to balance this with the quality of storage. The best warehouses pay attention to both values, ensuring that high-density shelving or pallet solutions are fitted and placed to facilitate both.

Depending on the product line, this may mean widening aisles to facilitate traffic flow or allocating the lower storage shelves to high-demand products. Balancing storage with picking can boost accuracy, efficiency, and cycle times while reducing overheads.

Error 3: Ignoring the Benefits of Zoning

Studies on zoning have demonstrated that creating zones for different product lines contributes to productivity. For example, a high-intensity or ‘golden’ zone can be created close to the loading dock and be allocated its own work procedures, equipment, and staff. With products that don’t require urgent delivery and less traffic, lower-demand zones can be situated further from loading dock and product dispatch areas.

Error 4: Not Motivating Pickers

Pickers play an important role in the warehouse. Managers can motivate pickers by accurately measuring productivity, providing fair compensation, and providing incentives and bonuses. Good working conditions, such as adequate temperature control, sufficient rest periods, safety guidelines, and maintaining good air quality in the warehouse, can also support morale and productivity.

Error 5: Not Using Automation and Technology

One of the most useful tech tools for the modern warehouse is the WMS. The WMS is the means by which management controls the movement of stock, monitors transactions, and keeps track of who is doing what in the warehouse. Software, scanners, and mobile devices such as phones and mobile scanners can form part of the WMS.

The WMS is therefore an important monitoring system as well as the basis on which managers make effective changes and decisions. A suitable WMS allows staff to organise and sequence orders, group similar orders, and notify others of changes in the status of stock in the warehouse (e.g., quickly report damaged stock the inventory list in the WMS).

Other automation and equipment include conveyor belts and wireless networks, all of which can be incorporated into your pre-existing system to boost productivity.

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