A warehouse is typically divided into areas to support your every day processes. These areas include: reserve storage, forward pick, cross docking, shipping, receiving, assembly/special handling lines, and quality/inspection area.
Designing a new facility starts with analyzing your current and projected data on the activities in each of these areas, including the receiving, shipping and inventory levels. This data should be supported by other considerations such as process flows, material handling equipment, type and styles of racking equipment, special handling requirements, and personnel.
When considering the layout and operation of any warehouse system, there are fundamental principles that embody a general philisophy of good practice.The principles are:
1) Using the most suitable unit load
2) Making the best use of space
3) Minimizing movement
4) Controlling movement and location
5) Providing safe, secure and environmentally sound conditions
6) Maintaining at minimum overall operating cost
Successful warehouse layouts must adhere to the principles, regardless of material being stored to:
i) maximize the use of space
ii) maximize the use of equipment
iii) maximize the use of labor
iv) maximize accessibility to all items
v) and maximize protection of all items
Although the objectives of warehouse layout and operation are easily recognized, warehouse layout problems are often complicated by large varieties of products needing storage, varying areas of required storage space and drastic fluctuations in product demand.
Therefore, an effective layout design of the warehouse is required to address these problems and accomplish the objectives.
- Johnny Tan, Oh Hui Ling, Cheryl Wee-Teo, Distribution Centre Management, Fourth Edition (2007)