Warehouse layouts should have a streamlined workflow that creates faster times for receipt and storage of goods, picking, packing, and shipping them.
Start your design by listing all the various functions like receiving materials, unloading them, and storing them, storage area, picking up items from the storage area, and then arranging for their packing, if needed, and shipping. You will also need to provide for offices, rest rooms, and other facilities. You can then design layouts that ensure a proper workflow so that work proceeds without interruption. Alternative Storage can help you out about in this.
A typical warehouse will have an area where the goods are received from vendors or suppliers, an unloading area where they can be inspected and accepted, a holding area where the goods approved are stacked, before they are put onto the right pallets, racks or shelves. The storage area itself needs to be carefully planned as well as the available space in the storage space, both in area and height. Storage should not occupy more than 27% of the floor area, so that there is enough space for all the other activities. You then need to have an area clear for picking and an area for gathering the picked items prior to packing them if needed, and an area for shipping.
Layouts can be U shaped, I shaped, or L shaped. In a U-shaped layout, the loading and unloading areas, and the picking and shipping areas are on one side, and the storage area opposite this separated by a wide aisle. The advantage with this layout is that a common road or open space can serve both the areas where there will be vehicular movement. In a I shaped layout, the loading and unloading area is on one side, and the picking and shipping area opposite that with the warehouse storage in between them. This will require additional space around the warehouse to facilitate transport. The L shaped layout places the warehouse in the center, and the other two, receiving and dispatch areas on two sides. Your choice of layouts can depend on the area you have for the warehouse, and the way your goods will be moved conveniently.
An efficient warehouse will be one that has the right equipment like forklifts, pallet jacks, conveyors, cranes, and trained operators for the machinery and all other operations. You can even automate many operations to further increase efficiency and ease of operations.
A major essential for an efficient warehouse is the proper storage of items based on their movement. Place popular items in racks closer to picking areas, and lesser used items in those that are further away. Find out more about warehouse planning.