For planning the warehouse layout design and operation that system the following fundamental principles hold, which embody the philosophy of good practice:
- Making the best use of available space
- Using a ‘unitized’ load system suitable for storage
- Minimizing the movement of goods by allotting proper storage area
- Proving flexibility for changing future needs
- Providing safe, secure and clean working conditions
Read also: Concept of warehouse
Location of the stock in a warehouse directly affects the total material handling expenses of all goods moving through the warehouse. A balance has to be maintained between the material handling cost and utilization of warehouse space.
Proper storage and handling equipment should be chosen to improvement of warehouse layout design. Proper storage and handling equipment should be the use of building volume and not merely the floor area. The following steps need to be followed while designing the layout of a warehouse for a given space:
- Defining a location for receiving and shipping function
- Allocating separate area for slow, medium and fast moving items
- Defining a location of fixed obstacles such as building columns, staircases, elevator shafts, toilets, etc.
- Defining a minimum path for the movement of equipment and personnel for faster storage and retrieval.
- Locating stationary material handling equipment (crane, conveyor) at the assigned places.
- Locating storage equipment at the assigned places
- Repeating the process for generating an alternative layout.
Among the number of items, a warehouse/stores a few may have very high turnover. Space allocation for such items should be such that storage and retrieval may be quick and the cross-movement of the material handling equipment may be minimum. The throughput rate of the item decides the storage method so the handling equipment can be used more efficiently and effectively resulting in minimum equipment operating cost-to-throughput ratio.
Read also: Global Distribution
Heavy and large items should be stored at a place where they can be easily accessed and moved for shipping. The honeycombing movement of these items within the warehouse area should be minimum. The large and heavy items, which are not affected by elements of nature, may be kept in an open yard. The oddly shaped and crushable items subject to stacking limitation need special attention for storage methods and space allocation.
Read also: Physical distribution system and activities