When designing a warehouse, it's important to make sure you have the optimal setup for your company’s needs. Everything from warehouse space and layout to warehouse processes, warehouse management systems (WMS), and warehouse employee safety can be improved by utilising certain warehouse design choices. Here are seven warehouse design tips to get started.
1) First, define your warehouse objectives
Designing a warehouse is no trivial task, and requires thoughtful consideration of the goals you are trying to achieve. Perhaps the most important objective when designing a warehouse is creating an efficient space for storing and retrieving items, as this can help save time and money in the long run. In addition, optimising worker safety and productivity should also be considered - such as by providing adequate lighting and easy-to-find storage bins - since these will ensure your staff get their jobs done more quickly while avoiding any potential accidents.
Finally, considering the environment is becoming increasingly important; sustainable elements such as different flooring materials can help reduce energy costs, as well as contribute to reducing emissions that are harmful to our planet.
2) Read up on warehouse safety regulations
When designing a warehouse, it is important to understand all relevant safety regulations. Warehouse facilities can include potentially hazardous equipment and must protect staff from harm to provide a safe working environment. Even though warehouses primarily serve storage purposes, some may involve more physical labour than others, increasing the potential for injury and accidents. Familiarising yourself with safety regulations helps facilitate the planning of an efficient workplace that maximises safety for everyone involved. It also avoids any potential issues with legal compliance that could lead to costly delays down the line. For these reasons, understanding warehouse safety regulations should always be a priority when planning any new facility layout.
What are the healthy & safety regulations for warehouses?
In the United Kingdom, health and safety regulations for warehouses are a legal requirement to ensure a safe working environment. The Health and Safety Executive has provided regulations that cover everything from employee welfare issues such as personal protective equipment and hazardous materials, to fire safety and electrical hazards. Anyone who works in a warehouse must be informed of the regulations to follow them properly.
In addition, regular inspections are carried out by safety officers to make sure employers are complying with the legal guidelines associated with warehouses. All staff must also be properly trained in health and safety procedures; failure to do so could result in significant fines or even criminal charges. Overall, warehouses must take suitable precautions to ensure the protection of their workers' lives.
3) Put your warehouse floorplan at the centre of your design
The floor plan of your warehouse is one of the most important aspects when it comes to designing a warehouse. A well-thought-out and carefully constructed floor plan will determine the efficiency and access to products, materials, or personnel that move throughout the space. It is essential for operational efficiency and for creating an environment where movement works smoothly and quickly with minimal disruption. Taking the time to consider key factors such as distance between entrances, staffing needs, and shelter for outdoor spaces can help ensure your warehouse design functions as efficiently as possible.
Strategies such as task interleaving and aisle prioritisation can also add value to your warehouse design by improving efficiency while reducing costs Ultimately, by centring your design on the floor plan of the warehouse throughout the entire process, you'll be able to create a safe, efficient workspace that meets all your business requirements.
Different warehouse layouts
Many different warehouse layouts can be used to best suit the needs of any business. It is important for businesses to carefully consider their organisational and storage needs before making a layout decision. Some popular warehouse layouts include a traditional layout, with a straight-through pattern and separated spaces for different types of goods; block stacking, which utilises vertical storage in combination with oversized items; and modular layout, which features racks divided into small cells of product. Multi-level warehouses are also becoming popular among businesses as they maximise the use of limited space through the use of mezzanines or catwalks.
Having an effective layout helps ensure safety and efficiency in the workplace by optimising space and allowing warehouse staff to work effectively to store products or inventory. Furthermore, proper warehouse layout planning helps ensure customer satisfaction by quickly fulfilling orders with accurate product selection. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to warehouses; business owners must evaluate their operations to determine which layout works best for them.
4) Consider your warehouse lighting
When designing a warehouse, it is essential to take into account the right type of lighting. Good lighting helps ensure that employees can work safely, efficiently and productively in the warehouse. Additionally, proper illumination allows staff to quickly and accurately find the items they need while they are stocking shelves or packing orders. With this in mind, warehouse designers should consider the material makeup of the building and its layout when determining which light fixtures are best suited for their needs.
Different materials can increase or reduce light reflection as well as range, colour temperature, and brightness. Furthermore, larger warehouses may require strategically placed motion-detecting lights in addition to permanent fixtures so that staff can easily access items in remote locations.
Types of warehouse lighting
Warehouse lighting can greatly influence the efficiency and safety of a warehouse, making selecting the right type important. Highbay LED lights are ideal for warehouses with high ceilings that need bright and uniform illumination quickly. Fluorescent lighting is a cost-effective option due to its energy efficiency, but typically it requires frequent maintenance and bulb replacements.
For outdoor spaces, HID fixtures are robust and provide excellent brightness capabilities during darker times of the day. Motion-activated sensors should also be considered for added security when used in conjunction with one of these options. Doing so means that lights won't need to remain on if no activity is detected, resulting in lower energy costs and an improved indoor climate.
5) Take measurements of your warehouse machinery
When designing a warehouse, accurate measurements of machinery can be invaluable. Taking precise measurements helps to ensure that the warehouse has adequate space and is configured properly. Having this information beforehand will help to prevent costly mistakes later on, as well as minimise disruption when the machinery is installed. In addition, taking measurements also provides insight into the weight loads that each area needs to support and helps to identify ways to reduce energy consumption through evaluation of how machines are placed about other machinery and outlets.
By making sure that all dimensions, weights and energy uses are accounted for ahead of time, businesses can create a warehouse that's efficient and cost-effective both now and for years to come.
6) Streamline your warehouse processes
When designing a warehouse, it is important to consider traffic flow as it greatly affects the efficiency of operations. Streamlining traffic flow can reduce the time taken for items to move between locations and increase accuracy. Adequate traffic space must be determined by considering the size of personnel, equipment and products. Re-allocation of storage areas depending on seasonal turnover can also create more direct traffic lanes and help speed up processes.
Moreover, traffic movement in aisles should be restricted to one way so that it reduces congestion. If different product classes need to crisscross paths, having traffic mirrors and crossing points can help in keeping two-way traffic under control. Finally, having signed for specific directions or any new traffic regulations will ensure visibility for personnel working in the warehouse.
7) Create specific zones for processes and workflows
Designing a warehouse with well-established zones for processes and workflows is an important step in achieving maximum efficiency in any type of environment. Proper zoning within a warehouse will provide multiple benefits, including increased flow between areas and improved safety protocols. For example, defining pick-up and put-away stations for employees to use when making transfers can help to streamline delivery times, make the overall process run faster, and reduce the chances of workplace injuries.
Additionally, setting aside specific zones for certain tasks also helps to ensure that shipments are managed correctly and there is minimal risk of product mix-ups or delays. Whether constructing a new warehouse or renovating an old one, creating distinct zones is essential to monitor operations effectively and maximize productivity while keeping workers safe.
The warehouse design tips we’ve covered in this post can help you create a more effective and efficient space for your business. Lighting, floorplans and safety all play a role in the overall success of your warehouse. By keeping these things in mind as you design or remodel your warehouse, you can be sure that it is optimally set up to meet the needs of your staff and operations. Do any of our warehouse design tips stand out as something you would like to try? Let us know in the comments!