Tips for Warehouse Layout Planning

Importance of warehouse

Management is always concerned about the productivity of its various departments. Its focus is mostly on production, marketing, quality control, human resources or finance departments. Warehouse does not receive the same attention as is given to other departments. In spite of the poor attention, warehouse plays an important role in the success of the organization. It provides materials in time for production and maintenance of the plant and machinery. Any delay in the availability of the materials for production or maintenance will adversely affect the production and thereby loss of resources like loss of valuable manpower, non-utilization of plant and machinery, and underutilization of costly materials handling equipment. Sometimes, the material handling equipment like a crane is obtained on rent at a high cost e.g. hiring a crane to lift some heavy items in the plant. Warehouse stores the important spare parts which may be crucial for running the plant. If the spares are not available in time, the plant will take longer time to issue them till they are received from the supplier. Warehouse also keeps the materials safely and securely.

Layout planning helps in effective operations

Warehouse operations can be improved by proper layout planning.   Although the layout depends upon the availability of the space, type of warehouse building, number of items and the type of materials stored, yet its operations can be made more efficient and effective with a well-planned layout. It has been observed that due to poor planning of the warehouse, various warehouse activities are not performed efficiently.

Tips for planning warehouse layout

Some of the tips in layout planning are:

  • Keep the receipt section and the issue section near the entrance of the warehouse. The truck drivers bringing materials should not enter the warehouse and should be able to unload the materials safely. The area should have facilities like chain pulley block, EOT crane, trolleys, and hydraulic jacks for easy handling of the materials received from the suppliers. The entry of the drivers or person bring materials to be handed over to the warehouse should be limited to the receipt section. The area of the receipt section should be earmarked separately for the materials received, materials under inspection, materials accepted after inspection and materials which are to be returned to the supplier due to either having been rejected or are wrongly supplied.
  • Arranging the inspection area in the receipt section will reduce the handling, loading and unloading of the materials and reduce the chances of damage or even loss.
  • Keep the issue section separate and slightly away from receipt section. Issue counter should have space for workers to stand properly under shade so that they are not exposed to the rain or sun. The space in the issue section should be organized in such a way that items required by the workers are properly kept for issue based on the issue vouchers received by the store keeper in advance. This arrangement will reduce waiting time of the workers and warehouse staff can handle the whole job correctly and efficiently. It will not only save the time of storekeeper issuing the materials as well as of the staff of other departments.
  • It is preferable to keep the office of the warehouse manager close to receiving and issuing section for close watch on the activities and maintain high level of customer satisfaction.
  • The floor of the warehouse should be of concrete capable of taking load of heavy items being received or issued.
  • Enough space should be provided for movement of forklift trucks, trolleys, and men.

These aspects in planning the layout of the warehouse will make the warehousing operation smooth and efficient. It will add to the productivity of the warehouse as well as that of the organization.

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