How to optimize your warehouse layout?
14 January 2021
The layout of a warehouse has a direct impact on the efficiency of business operations, from inventory management to order fulfillment. The warehousing plan must be well designed to minimize costs and increase productivity. A good layout plan protects your stocks and optimizes their management between entries and exits by taking into account various factors that influence the layout of your warehouse.
There are certain principles to follow and methods to adopt that serve to optimize warehouse space management for each part of the supply chain. An optimal layout is one that is adapted to a specific industry and type of merchandise to save time and money and ensure a continuous workflow.
Tips for warehouse layout optimization
Here is a list of tips for an efficient layout of your warehouse:
- Each company has specific objectives that must be taken into consideration to ensure a development that adapts to the various sectors of activity.
- Priorities differ between the reception of stocks, the order preparation process or even transhipment. You should always keep your business priorities in mind.
- Define your inventory and storage needs in advance by planning the quantity of your stock, its size and most importantly, where it comes from and where it will go.
- The products you plan to store define the aisle space, the height of the pallet racks and the necessary equipment.
- The implementation plan is very important to create in order to distribute the tasks well and allocate the appropriate resources.
When your development plan is ready, we recommend doing a simulation. You can use duct tape to mark out work areas and simulate different tasks with employees to make sure your plan is effective.
We also advise you to always ensure a smooth flow of materials, people and especially clear traffic inside the warehouse. Flow must be a priority in any layout plan in order to separate workstations according to activities and, at the same time, limit unnecessary movement. All products must be accessible and shelving structured and fitted out to accommodate pallet trucks. The storage strategy must limit interference between the different stocks.
You need to think about how to optimize the management of space between the different areas dedicated to storage, offices and other work activities. There are various ways of vertical shelving and other stand-alone equipment that help design a plan to suit your needs while remaining flexible for future changes.
The ABC method
The ABC method is a standard for warehouse inventory management which ensures optimal industrial storage. This method aims to ensure the right activity is in the right place and defines the layout of the shelves and the layout of the space.
The ABC method was developed by Joseph Juran who divided the resources of a company into three parts according to the turnover rate in order to adapt the shelving to the nature and the load of the goods:
- A: 80% turnover rate for 20% of the products
- B: a turnover rate of 15% for 30% of the references
- C: a turnover rate of 5% for 50% of the products
Thus, type A goods should be stored near the entrances and exits and never run out of stock, while C goods are less in demand and can be placed at the back of the warehouse. Goods B, on the other hand, are often less important and should be placed second in accessibility after goods A.
Still using the same method, storage can be determined by height, again with the aim of saving time and facilitating handling:
- Goods A located at breast height
- Goods B located at the bottom
- Goods C located above
Other warehouse layout methods
The management of stock depends on the type of goods and its constraints. Thus, in the same warehouse, various output management methods can coexist according to the different types of products stored:
- The FIFO (First In/First Out) method: which consists of following the order of arrival for the exit of goods. This is particularly useful for preventing the degradation and expiration of certain products.
- The LIFO (Last In/First Out) system: which consists of taking out the latest arrivals first for their accessibility.
- The FEFO (First Expired/First Out) method: which consists of first releasing products that are likely to expire soon.
For maximum efficiency of your warehouse, you must think carefully before choosing the right method depending on your types of goods, their shelf life and the order of incoming and outgoing goods.
An efficient layout saves time
The efficiency of your warehouse layout is measured by the rationalization of time and the profitability of your business. Efficient storage of goods respects handling rules and promotes smooth movement in the warehouse.
To create an effective warehouse plan, you need to take an in-depth look at how you are going to use storage space. The plans differ according to the activities and will not be the same for a food manufacturing or storage operation or for companies specializing in e-commerce.
You need to identify your business needs so that you can set up a suitable layout. The space must be well divided in order to allow optimal circulation depending on your type of activity as well as the volume and weight of the products.
To be sure, you need to make the right decisions about:
- The way to store products: unit, crates, pallets, etc.
- The total space required for the storage of goods.
- The type of shelving: shelves, cabinets, etc.
- Storage must adapt to the mode of handling.
Check regularly that your warehouse meets safety and health standards (ventilation and ventilation ducts, electrical and air-conditioned installations, width of traffic lanes, etc.)
Rethinking space with Spacia
Spacia is your ally of choice for the creation of a functional and unique space. Our team of specialists will take care of the management of your space, its structuring and its layout by creating tailor-made solutions adapted to your needs and your budget.
Each project is treated with the utmost care to ensure time savings, increased productivity and excellent value for money. Do not hesitate to contact us for your renovation or construction work. You can get a free estimate!