Owning a warehouse can be a somewhat taxing prospect if you’re doing so for the first time, largely because it requires a lot of thought and planning with regards to the items within the warehouse. Not only that, but it requires careful balancing and positioning of goods and work sites, such as finishing rooms and vehicle bays. If your warehouse design is inadequate, this could have severe impacts on the amount of time it takes to locate, catalogue, transfer and transport goods.
Time is money, so the less delays you suffer the happier you and your company will be.
Fortunately for you there are a large number of options available to you that can help you plan out and optimise your warehouse design, many of which are relatively cheap to acquire and easy to work out. As such, acquiring a warehouse that functions efficiently and speedily is really not as much hassle as you may fear it to be.
Option 1) Hire a Professional
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of companies out there that specialise in warehouse design, whether you wish them to do it entirely for you, or else simply to provide an expert opinion on a design you’ve drawn up yourself. The main advantages is, of course, the experience they can provide. They do this for a living, and as such they should have a good grasp on what a warehouse needs in order to be time and cost effective.
Naturally the more you spend the higher the quality of the service, although make sure you really are getting your money’s worth. Don’t be tempted into the thought that you need to pay substantially for a good warehouse. If in doubt about a given company’s quality with respects to their cost, look online for an opinion of them, or even ask the company itself for a list of their past clients. Contact these in turn so they can let you know in their own words how they found the company’s work.
Also remember this is your warehouse -- you should always have some level of control over the design process. Make sure your hired company or professional is willing to listen to your input, and communicates effectively with you. This includes providing valid reasons for any disagreement with your own thoughts for the design. If in doubt, consider getting a second opinion.
Option 2) Computer Assisted Design (CAD) Software
CAD is basically the use of a computer programme to create a simulated graphic design of your warehouse. The main advantages behind these are that they’re very cheap to purchase (you can pick up a perfectly functional programme for only a few hundred pounds at most) and very easy to use. They can be used to set up a simulated design, which can then be used to calculate things such as waiting times, maximum capacities and overall running costs. More advanced programmes will allow you to view your hypothetical designs completely in 3D as well, helping you give a further idea of any potential hiccups.
The ease of the programme means you can have a fully worked out warehouse design in as little as half an hour, without needing any formal training in the programme’s use or warehouse design.
Option 3) Courses and Training
If you wish to take warehouse design further in a personal level, you can consider taking a course around that area specifically. Most universities and college will offer courses that specialises in designing warehouses and gaining a further understanding of commercial logistics, and in today’s day and age they’re becoming steadily easier to apply to.
Such a course can help make you completely independent of third party companies and programmes, giving you the skills and insight to design your own warehouses entirely on your own terms, in your own time. This is hugely liberating and is a great long-term investment. What’s more, as your company grows, you can also pass what you learn on to other members of your company, further enriching your business and ensuring your expertise can be used even further afield.
Of course, courses will still require the initial fee, and also require a significant investment of time to begin with. Some courses may take as quickly as a couple of months to as long as a couple of years. Make sure you can afford to put in both before you sign onto any courses at local education establishments.
For further information about warehouse design, consider visiting the website of Hillman Consulting, which offers expert advice regarding warehousing, logistics and starting up new companies. You can also phone them directly by calling (+44) 01926 430883.