designing a warehouse layout

Every business that needs a warehouse wants it to be efficient and safe. Many factors make that happen. But the warehouse design, and the safety products used to protect employees, have major impacts on reaching that goal.

A well-designed warehouse will move goods quickly through a logical storage and fulfillment process. When needed, goods can be shipped out quickly, thanks to the design. 

The same goes for safety. All types of hazards can happen in a warehouse. Boxes can fall. Collisions between equipment like forklifts can take place. Workers can fall off of loading docks. Safety products that keep employees safe are essential. 

Here is an overview of design and safety considerations.

Basics of warehouse design

There are many vital factors designers must consider when designing a warehouse. First, any warehouse layout has to be planned based on the space available, which can hurt the setup's efficiency.

Designers work to have important features in every warehouse, no matter what space considerations they are working within. They'll also try to minimize the handling of goods by workers and have a setup where products can be moved rapidly throughout the warehouse.

To do that, a warehouse needs five main areas (not counting offices):

  • Loading and unloading areas
  • Reception area
  • Storage area
  • Picking area
  • Dispatch area

How to make your warehouse efficient

Every warehouse wants to be efficient and practical, with a process that follows a logical order.

Loading and unloading is the first part of any process. Since trucks are usually hauling goods, designers set up the loading and unloading areas with a few key points in mind.

Most warehouses that are well-designed will have separate spaces for loading and unloading. The loading and unloading areas can be independent of the warehouse or integrated directly within.

After the goods are unloaded, they need to be moved to a reception area. Designers will try to make this an independent area to receive goods, sort, or be used for quality control. The reception area will also house a computer to generate barcodes so goods can be tracked.

When it comes time to fulfill a shipment, the order picking area's efficiency influences the process. Goods are stored on the ground, stacked or placed on a rack. No matter where the goods are, it is essential pickers can find and put together orders quickly.

Finally, there are dispatch areas where orders can be packed up and loaded onto vehicles. Dispatch areas need to be set up in a separate location. That will increase the speed of the final leg of the fulfillment process.

Designing a safe warehouse

It's nice to have an efficient warehouse where goods are unloaded, stored and shipped in record times. However, the safety of warehouse workers is paramount to any fulfillment operation.

There are many products and accessories that help keep workers safe.

Steel safety bollards keep collisions from happening between forklifts and columns or equipment.

Guard rails can be found all over warehouses as they'll provide protection for valuable equipment, structural platforms, offices, conveyors and other equipment.

Handrails are also important as the modular safety handrail system keeps workers out of the way of forklift traffic. Handrails that are 42”H meet MIOSHA standards for worker safety.

Dome mirrors eliminate blind spots and dangerous areas.

Warehouse employees can be in danger of falling packages or pallets. Rack safety back panels are wire mesh rack back panels that can keep objects from falling on employees. 

The panels are quick and easy to install since they slide into existing uprights. Since rack safety panels are wire mesh, they also provide the highest level of protection from falling boxes and debris.

Focus on efficiency and safety

Flow, accessibility and equipment are all major considerations when designing a warehouse. By setting up the warehouse in a logical order, designers are able to set up an efficient process. And by using the right products, employees can be protected from dangerous accidents.

Need help designing a safe and efficient warehouse layout?

American Storage & Logistics has a full inventory of warehouse equipment and provides engineering, design, and consulting services for businesses. Reach out to us today, shop our catalog online, or give us a call at 616-246-8700 today!