Designing an Optimised Warehouse Layout

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box conveyor warehouse

Racking is used widely within warehouses to optimise the efficiency of the space, enabling activities to run smoothly. However, it is common that poor design and planning can often lead to poor use of the warehouse space. This can be seen through indicators such as inadequate capacities and excesses of dead space, often caused by issues such as pallets being stored in the wrong location.

The warehouse design process should consider the capacity of the space being used and type of pallet racking to be utilised, whether it is narrow aisle pallet racking or drive-in pallet racking.

Loading Bays 

The initial design process for warehouse spaces should consider storage, workflow areas and equipment. Areas such as loading areas in the warehouse can be either built into the building or be completely separate from it.

For example, when incorporating the loading bays into the warehouse, it will allow the docking points to be fully accessible. This saves time because of not having to manually move the goods from one spot to another.

However, when installing the loading bay separate from the warehouse, a two-step process should be introduced. This means a forklift truck would need to be implemented to shuttle different loads into the bays.

Picking Areas

Picking areas of the warehouse are also an imperative part of the design process, especially when considering the optimisation of space. The warehouse picking strategy that you use will have an impact on the layout and space requirements of your picking areas.

Many warehouses utilise a separate picking area; it is recommended that they are inside, next to the storage area. Whilst this not only improves the use of space within the warehouse, it also reduces the time spent searching for items.

There are also many additions which can be added to the picking systems. Additions such as built-in empty pallet removal systems and traffic light systems prioritise the replenishment of goods as well as overall efficiency.

Pallet Racking 

There are many elements which are included within the design process of warehouses and their pallet racking systems. However, the need to optimise space whilst remaining practical and safe is particularly important. Many designers consider different solutions when studying warehouse spaces, such as traditional pallet racking. Standard pallet racking, which is usually a form of wide aisle pallet racking,  is great for withstanding heavy materials whilst being equally cost-effective, this being one of the most popular solutions for industrial warehouses.

Additionally, narrow aisle pallet racking is also often considered; it increases storage capacity and enables items to be picked more efficiently.

Alternative Design Options 

Other design choices, such as increasing the height of the pallet racking, allow warehouses to optimise storage by utilising the height of the building. This increases the capacity of goods which can be stored whilst simultaneously reducing dead space which would otherwise be there.

Often, existing beams which would be there from the previous racking would also be able to be used in the design process, not only making it cost-efficient, but further reducing waste.