Optimizing Your Warehouse Through Efficient Design: 7 Strategies

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Most businesses struggle with generating demand from their consumers, which can slow the movement of their goods. But when you’re trying to find ways to boost business efficiency to meet a high demand, you have a good problem on your hands. 

Consider optimizing your warehouse design with different strategies to keep up the momentum.

The Impact of Efficient Warehouse Design

The warehouse is a key building block as it’s a hub for various operations. Some use it solely for storage, but some businesses use it for manufacturing and exporting. And as e-commerce grows, warehouses worldwide are expected to reach 180,000 by 2025. It’s natural to infer that almost every business in the big leagues has one or more.

But while each company may have its own warehouse, there is a high chance that activities aren’t running smoothly. It’s one thing to have a place of business, but it’s another to design its organizational structure and how everyone flows throughout a workday.

The ten-year survival rate for new businesses is 33.6%, each facing challenges that make them close down. With how vital your warehouses are, don’t let inefficient design hinder you and your team. 

Picking and Sticking With Warehouse Designs

To pick the most optimal warehouse designs, it’s essential to assess your current warehousing practices. What are the primary processes of your warehouse? What are the current conditions of your facility? Answering these questions can help you determine what areas and elements to focus on when optimizing your warehouse. 

And when you do change your warehouse design, run a review afterward. Sometimes, new additions to a workplace can do more harm than good. Look closely at whether you’re gaining a positive impact or need to run another readjustment.

Design Strategies for Increased Efficiency

Warehouse design strategies can be incredibly helpful in improving a particular work condition or process in your facility. Focus on the elements holding you back or the ones that can be better.

1. Improve the Warehouse Layout

The warehouse layout goes beyond the general shape your building has. While you can pick between the standard U-shaped, I-shaped and L-shaped quarters, you should also consider other nuances. Here are a few examples:

  • Zoning areas: Some warehouses will have multiple regions dedicated to storage, packing, shipping and more. Depending on the fixtures present, some workers can tell what each area is for, but that discernment can take up time. It’s essential to have a clear distinction between these different zones.
  • Shelf placement: Shelves are essential for storing goods. Unfortunately, some warehouses collate every shelving option into one area and call it a day. Consider distributing these throughout different zones to ensure everything is accessible to the people who need it.
  • Equipment accessibility: Equipment can be valuable in making a warehouse more operational. However, using bigger machines in tight spaces can actually be more challenging. Assess which kinds of equipment are necessary and how you can make them accessible.
  • Clear pathways: Foot traffic in a warehouse can get chaotic, especially when workers bump into each other because of the existing layout. Analyze the progression of your workers and see which areas should be situated next to each other.
  • Safety features: In case of emergencies, it’s paramount for your warehouse layout to include accessible exitways. You can also enable restrictions in certain areas that contain dangerous chemicals to minimize work accidents.

2. Prioritize the Insulation System

Your place of business is vulnerable to high temperatures and severe weather, no matter the season. It’s essential to invest in warehouse insulation to keep your workers safe. This protection can also ensure that your products remain in good condition. 

Warehouse insulation will likely come from wall materials like fiberglass and spray foam. It’s also important to seek out warehouse doors with added insulation, protecting the interior against high temperatures, wind and rain. A cohesive system of insulation can keep your facility optimal regardless of the weather. 

3. Ensure Good Ventilation

Along with better insulation, make a point of getting better ventilation. It can be challenging for your warehouse employees to work when the air quality is subpar. Adopt solutions like exhaust and destratification fans to improve the space. 

These warehouse design changes are important if you’re dealing with dangerous fumes from different chemicals. Forklifts and other warehouse equipment may also emit carbon monoxide, which can poison humans.

4. Introduce IoT in Inventory Management

Inventory management is a core practice for warehouses. Especially for booming businesses, it’s key to be hands-on. To avoid making the process laborious, adopt IoT solutions when monitoring and handling your stocks.

For instance, place your inventory on smart shelves. These storage options will have sensors broadcasting information to warehouse managers in real-time. When there are low to zero stocks, management can act quicker and call in a new shipment.

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5. Optimize the Picking Process

Order picking can be a tedious process, encapsulating the collection and processing of products to fulfill customer orders. Aside from optimizing their picking methods, ensure that pickers have enough workspace to prepare orders.

There is an open-source software system that can narrow down the ideal design system for your warehouse. This can essentially take the ratio of your floor plan and the numbers and locations of your cross aisles, pick aisles and input/output location. 

6. Increase Visibility with Lighting

No warehouse can operate properly when it’s too dim or pitch black. Be sure to add good lighting so workers can clearly see where they’re headed and what they are doing. A couple of big overhead lights are ideal.

Be sure to pat attention to color temperature as well. Bright and white lights can provide the best level of visibility, no matter the time of day. Plus, it can keep your warehouse workers awake throughout the workday.

7. Create Ergonomic Workstations

Ergonomic workstations are necessary to increase productivity among your workers. When your workstations create muscle fatigue or increase the likelihood of injuries, there’s a high chance that your design is off.

Look into adjustable work tables. This can minimize tiptoeing and bending downward whenever your workers need to reach for anything. If it’s within budget, a conveyor can also help. Bringing your products to your employees’ stations can fast-track operations.

Invest in Efficient Warehouse Design

Different warehouse design elements will ensure your unit is optimal and functioning. Take the time to figure out what strategies work best for your business and make the effort to invest in them. When done correctly, you can boost operations and keep your momentum high.

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