You have found the perfect building a very impressive large open space which you plan to convert into a successfully productive warehouse. This blank canvas will soon be the pumping heart of your business, a busy operation where people, equipment, machinery, storage structures and procedures will collectively support the flow of inventory as its makes its way through the facility.
Before you begin
The long term success of your new warehouse hinges on the right decisions being made during the early planning stages. Bellow we have highlighted key areas which require careful thought from the very start:
Consider effective space distribution
As in most warehouses, inventory storage areas are likely to be the predominant occupier of space so it is wise to evaluate your anticipated stock levels to be sure sufficient inventory storage is prioritized. Overhead space is just as valuable as floor space and costs just as much so leaving it void would be like throwing money out of the window which is why WSL will always encourage height space utilization wherever possible. Tall pallet racking, a mezzanine floor or multi-tiered shelving are all great solutions for vertical space utilization and by taking time to understand your business requirements our design team will suggest the solution best suited to your particular facility.
Warehouse Layout – Where should everything go?
The philosophy behind a feasible warehouse layout is to position departments, facilities and equipment logically to streamline productivity. This creative stage will prompt you to think about the various activities of each department including where they would be best situated, distance and time travel between areas as well as congestion and routes. Where would staff facilities be better placed? Or which departments need to be close to each other and which ones are better further apart? Are there any special requirements such as temperature controlled areas or restrictions on cross contamination? Using computer software WSL designers can produce clear and precise plans to illustrate the potential layout of your warehouse, giving you an idea of how the warehouse will transpire once everything is in place.
Storage and handling options, how to decide?
Your warehouse storage and handling methods will be significant to your particular operation which means choosing the right system is vital. Our clients are often unfamiliar with the technicalities of warehouse storage structures after all, a new pallet racking system or mezzanine floor isn’t a weekly purchase but rather a one off investment. This is why WSL extend our services to fully support our clients throughout the whole process using our in-depth knowledge and ample experience to relieve any apprehensions. We take time to understand your business, listen to your goals and consider the overall operation before we design a solution perfect for your business. Read here to discover why a multi tier shelving system was found to be much more effective solution for a particular business than the mezzanine floor they had originally anticipated
Your inventory is the dictator of how it can be stored, so WSL will learn from you about your inventory before talking you through the options best suited to your products and business. We will base our solution design on the following:
- Stock Rotation–If stock rotation is priority then a storage system that operates the FIFO (first in first out) method would be a viable option which automatically rotates stock giving you one less thing to think about.
- Temperature control–A cold store is expensive to run, so when inventory requires cold storage you can condense the area and still store your inventory comfortably by using a high compact storage system.
- Distinctive size shape and weight – Not all inventory can be palletized due to their incompatible features, however there are plenty of options, all cleverly designed to meet the specific storage and handling requirements of these products.
- Frequency and volume–If your inventory is fast paced in high quantities you will need a dynamic high density storage solution which provides direct access.
Protect your employees, your investment, your warehouse and your business
As an employer you have a responsibility to ensure safety as your employees carry out their duties. If they are required to use any equipment, then it must be safe for them to do so. Training on using equipment such as forklift trucks should be refreshed periodically to ensure operator competence is retained. Annual inspections by WSL’s approved racking inspectors will help ensure your warehouse storage structures remain safe; however, early detection by employees who have learnt to recognize potential dangers means appropriate action to make the area safe can be taken which is why WSL also offer in-house racking safety courses.
Labels and Signs
All employees should know the dos and don’ts with regards to your storage structure, however appropriately positioned labels and warning signs provide quick reference as and when needed. Using colors and diagrams the signs provide instant information about the structure which are easy to understand and quick to process. As a supplier WSL can advise on which signage is most suitable for your warehouse including where to locate specific signs.
Safety Protection Barriers
Installing safety protection barriers throughout your warehouse will help keep both your employees and inventory safe. Even the most robust storage structure can falter after repeated nocks and bumps mostly from handling equipment, the main culprit being forklift trucks. Having protection barriers placed at the bottom of the structures will force the guard to take the bump and not the structure itself. Other forms of protection include walkway barriers, guide rails and corner protectors all of which help keep your warehouse a very safe working environment. WSL can produce custom made safety and protection products in our factory and as with our other manufactured products this allows for creativity and flexibility. Recently we produced 400 of the popular tubular barriers for 30 clients within the same month. You can read more about that here.
Clean and Tidy
Keeping your warehouse clean and tidy can significantly improve productivity as it provides a neat and efficient workplace for employees where the risk of accidents and illness are significantly lower than if dirty and cluttered. To maintain cleanliness within your warehouse always ensure cleaning products are readily available for unexpected spillages, empty bins daily, regular dusting and turning items and so everyone does their bit to help keep the workplace clean and tidy involve all of your employees.
WSL are here to help, whatever your requirements our team have the knowledge and experience to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your business. We appreciate that although this is a very exciting time for your business, it can also be a little daunting, after all this is a huge investment. By your side at every stage, our expert team will help steer the project so all your requirements are matched whilst ensuring time efficiency and cost effectiveness. Our focus is to help ensure that your new facility is fully prepared to begin its prospering journey from day one. Your project is our priority.