Setting up a new layout is a massive undertaking, and no matter what, the best way to implement a redesign of your warehouse is to have a game plan. It can be challenging to know what to do and where to plan first, but there are four distinct actions you can take to make everything easier.
1. Map it out
The first thing you’ll want to do is design a map or blueprint of your warehouse. You can reference an existing map of your warehouse, or you can make a new one.
If you prefer, you can do this with a pen and paper. Another method is to use warehouse layout design software. Two of the big ones are a few free diagram software tools, and auto CAD, computer-aided design software.
You can also hire a warehouse design expert who can design an optimized layout based on your specifications and needs. Don’t take any shortcuts when it comes to measuring out your workspace. You want the most accurate measurements you can get.
No matter how you develop your new layout, make sure you label what the different areas are and the direction of the workflow, including walking paths and the flow of shipment and products.
Display and label your operation areas and include space measurements in your design, like the height of the building inside. Having that laid out and established can help you decide on the proposed changes.
Once you have your map set up, the next thing you’ll need to do is to optimize your space.
2. Plan for Space Optimization
The amount of space you have in your warehouse will determine your layout. You should consider storage, workflow areas and equipment for space use. However, you’ll want to plan your storage area first. Knowing the amount of space you have to store your products is crucial.
There are different methods to take when storing products and setting up workstations. One way is through the use of an organized cluster method, where products are grouped by type. Each cluster is easily accessible for all workers.
Another way is to set up your storage in aisles. It’s similar to the way a grocery store is designed, with the aisles in the back and production and workflow in the front.
If you plan accordingly, everything should fit in its place, but if something can’t, go back to the drawing board. Always make use of vertical space as stacking products will increase your storage capacity and maximize the amount of space that you have.
One recommendation is to calculate the amount of space you have and dedicate between 22-27 percent of that space to your total product storage capacity.
Note that technically, your warehouse is out of space when the storage area is at 85 percent capacity. This is why it’s important you optimize your space so that storage, workspace, and the equipment you use aren’t on top of each other.
3. Pick the Right Equipment
No matter what your warehouse is used for, you need equipment for your operations. The type of equipment that’s available to you is vast, but you might be limited by the space you have. Different types of products require different material handling equipment, which will affect the spacing of your aisles: a forklift will need more space than a pallet jack.
Have your aisles be between 12-13 feet wide as most conventional forklifts require a minimum aisle width of 12 feet. This can change, however, depending on different factors, including the size of your warehouse and your product storage.
One of the most popular and crucial types of equipment used for temporary warehouse operations is the forklift. Warehouse forklifts are perfect for indoor work, transporting heavy and bulky items and pallets, helping workers transport items around the warehouse.
Another type of equipment you’ll need is the pallet jack. These are the most essential pieces of equipment in a warehouse. They’re used for transporting small loads across shorter distances, and they come in two varieties: manual and electric pallet jacks. Depending on your preference, either can work for your warehouse.
Although it may seem straightforward, you’ll want to make sure you know how to use a pallet jack. Safety should always be a priority in your warehouse, so proper training needs to be offered as well.
4. Test the Plan and Record the Results
Before you design or modify your warehouse, you’re going to want to run a test. The best way to do this is to measure the proposed layout and set up the perimeter, then walk through it. You won’t have to do this through all of the different sections, but you should test out the high zone areas.
Don’t forget to use the equipment while testing to make sure everything can move freely and unobtrusively. Have your employees test out the new design as well, as they’ll be the ones that work on the floor.
Record the results, writing down what works well and what may need changing. Be sure to alter your plans if anything doesn’t seem to work out. It’s best to work out all the kinks now so that any alterations can be made in the planning process.
3 Temporary Warehouse Layout Designs Suggestions
Optimizing your temporary warehouse layout can drastically improve operations, the temporary warehouse may not work for yours. However, there are a few base design options that may very well work in your favor.
Here are the top three warehouse layout designs:
1. U-Shaped Design
A U-shaped layout is an excellent option for any sized temporary warehouse due to its simple design that can be replicated almost anywhere. As the name suggests, the warehouse is set up in a “U” shape, like a semi-circle.
It’s recommended to put the loading and shipping areas next to each other. After that, put the reception area, also known as the staging area, behind loading and the picking area behind shipping.
Reception is where the unloaded product is separated and sorted before it’s placed in the appropriate place in storage. The storage area would fill out the back end of the warehouse with dynamic storage, or the most popular products if the warehouse is sandwiched between static storage, which are the products that are more inclined to sit on the shelves.
2. I-Shaped Design
Also known as a through-flow design is great for high-volume warehouses. It’s set up in an “I” shape, with the loading and unloading area on one end and the shipping area on the other, with storage in the middle. The products are arranged so that the higher-volume items are easily retrievable. However, products typically need to travel the full length of the warehouse to ship out.