Planning a warehouse is a pretty major undertaking. There are so many factors to consider, and an ill thought-out warehouse can result in great expense and delays further on down the line.
Similarly there are a number of problems that may occur in your designs that you may not necessarily foresee.
Fortunately warehouse planning is nothing particularly new, and thus you have plenty of opportunity to learn from other people’s mistakes. There are problems that occur in warehouse plans fairly frequently, and so they are easy to circumnavigate, or else fix should they occur.
- Redundant Processes
In an attempt to make your inventory checking system as watertight as possible, it may sometimes become a temptation to build in more systems of checking stock than strictly necessary. For example there’s no need to have a transference of product from one section to another signed by five different people when just the one signature will suffice, or if an automated barcode system can be implanted to streamline the process completely.
Redundant processes increase the amount of time it takes before stock can move, and in warehouse planning time is money. You can’t allow these processes to create clogs in the system, so always ask yourself if that extra failsafe is really strictly necessary. Better yet, always ask yourself if there’s a way you can do better.
- Lack of Inventory Space
This probably seems pretty basic, but it does happen every now and then. Make sure your warehouse has plenty of inventory space for your product. However this doesn’t just mean make sure you can fit all your planned stock in -- make sure you have some excess space available for unexpected stock as well. Sometimes you may receive more product than you ordered, or a dispatch may become delayed and have to remain on the shelves longer than anticipated. In these instances, the extra shelves will help keep your warehouse running while the problem is being seen to.
- Lack of Inventory Organisation
It’s not enough to just be able to store your inventory, you also need to make sure you and your employees know where everything else and how much there is of it. Thus your warehouse planning should go over quite extensively how your inventory is going to be organised, and set up an inventory checking process. Bar coding technology is one solution, as it can eliminate the time-consuming process of human checking.
- Disorganised Warehouse Layout
There should be a place for everything, and everything should be in its place. You should also consider very carefully however everything relates to each other and its surroundings. For example it makes no sense for the finishing section to be placed on the other side of the building from the transport bay, when placing them next or in close proximity of each other can greatly reduce distribution time. You should always look to position things within the warehouse in such a way as to reduce the amount of time consumed as much as possible.
- Insufficient Movement Space
Like insufficient storage space, you need to make sure your warehouse has sufficient room for your staff and equipment to be able to move through quickly and safely. If your warehouse makes extensive use of forklifts for example, make sure they have enough space not just to drive through, but also pick product without knocking anything or being obstructed. Consider very carefully how much space is needed, and work this into your warehouse planning.
For more information about warehouse planning, visit the website of Go Supply Chain, a highly experienced logistics agency fully versed in logistics and warehouse management. You can also phone them directly by calling 01753 722060.