Warehouse Design and Optimisation

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Storage plays an important role in every commercial activity. The early years of industrial growth lacked efficiency towards the utilisation of resources like space, product handling, stocking the products, and other operations. Post World War II, the scenario started changing when the managerial departments began to focus on improving efficiency by creating a supply chain design, which led to the concept of warehouses. 

Modern warehouse layouts include conventional mechanised systems that operate with labours and handling pieces of equipment working together to improve productivity. The other form of modern warehouse design is using automated systems, where the primary target is reducing labour and investing in equipment. 

A well-designed warehouse paves the way to success. optimising your warehouse design helps in the enhancement of workflow and increases overall profitability. 

Layout and Design of a Warehouse

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The layout of a warehouse is a graphical representation that plans the distribution of authorised external and internal spaces of the facility and initiates a supply chain strategy formulation. Warehouse design layouts are made during the remodelling operations, expansions of existing space, or acquisition of a new warehouse. The typical elements of a Warehouse layout are:

  • Exterior and Interior space outlines
  • Number of floors
  • Installations and stationary equipment
  • Important sections and passages
  • Storage spaces

Using and optimising warehouse design layouts have gained importance with time, becoming an important aspect of a company's global strategies. Therefore, accurate planning and incorporation of optimised layouts are vital for warehouse designs. 

What are the Factors that Affect Warehouse Design? 

The final layout of a warehouse needs to maintain the company's storage conditions. Some of the factors that have to be considered when you are planning a warehouse design are as follows:

  • Flow of goods: The stock inflow and outflow has to be smooth, depending on the product type. 
  • Product rotation: Easy replacement and transportation of goods inside the inventory.
  • Satisfactory stock levels: There must be a balance between customer demands, storage costs and undertaken commitments. 
  • Effective storage conditions: The layout of a warehouse design depends on the weight, volume, perishability and other aspects of the products meant for stocking. 
  • Equipment and machinery handling: Analysis of the available tools, management of technical resources and quantity of machinery have to be kept on the record while designing the layout.
  • Human resources: The presence of appropriate human personnel is necessary to ensure the efficiency of the warehouse, hence authorised sections for their capacity also need to be included in the layouts. 

Types of Warehouse Design

Effectivity of a warehouse layout depends on improving the supply chain design and accelerating the workflow, which can vary based on the characteristics of the stock. There are several design techniques in use for creating warehouse interiors. The basic categories of warehouse designs are:

    • U-flow: This category includes the inflow and outflow ways in the same section of the facility. 
  • T-flow: Here, the receiving and shipping sections are located on the same side, but the inflow and outflow passages lie opposite each other. 
  • Straight line flow:  In this case, the loading and unloading sections are positioned farthest away from each other. 

Benefits of Warehouse Design Optimisation 

Optimisation of warehouse design improves the usage of space, boosts productivity and enhances profitability. An optimised warehouse design can help in improving the traffic flow and reducing stock losses.

How to Generate Maximum Efficiency from Warehouse Design Optimisation

You can attain satisfactory outcomes through an accurate supply chain strategy formulation. If you want to optimise your warehouse design, you can go for these simple tips.

  • Collect data on the receiving and shipping area activities
  • Monitor the assembly and special handling areas with accuracy
  • Conduct a quality inspection of every task
  • Record the reserve storage, cross docking and forward picking procedures to identify problematic patterns. 

Things to Consider When You are optimising a Warehouse Design 

Before working on the optimisation of a warehouse design layout, you have to create a plan that ensures effective results. A few factors to consider are:

  • Prioritising the major objectives and operations 
  • Significant planning for anticipated growth drives
  • Separating and labelling all sections of the space based on their functionality and importance
  • Maintaining an optimisation scan on a regular basis 

Challenges in Warehouse Design Optimisation 

Most of the issues that can rise in warehouse optimisation are connected to management errors, lack of transparency and inefficiency. The five major issues you can face can be listed as follows. 

  • Inventory Accuracy: Lack of stock records and negligence towards warehouse interiors
  • Inventory Location: Slow backups in dock scheduling and loading processes due to inaccurate insight into the warehouse location 
  • Space Utilisation and Layout: Unmanaged storage systems and stock racking increases the demand for space and labour
  • Unbalanced modulation: The stocking and shipping operations get biased monitoring based on productivity standards 
  • Redundant processes: Unnecessary repetition of process increase inefficiency

If you are interested in building your expertise, you can look for an online Operations and supply chain officer certificate course.

Recommended Practices in Warehouse Design Optimisation

A key factor in the optimisation of warehouse designs is automation. It can achieve quicker picking, packing and shipping operations. Another important aspect is maintaining the assigned spaces and optimising the positions by prioritising every product according to its usage.


A warehouse is a structured and planned space that controls and manages a company's merchandise and stores them. 

Necessary objectives for smooth workflow design

While designing the layout of a distribution centre or warehouse, you have to prioritise managing factors such as speed of the pickers, stocking requirements, visibility and organised placements of products, controls in cost, profitability through maintenance and capacity of the space. The potential references of a company's needs that can affect a warehouse design are the primary objectives behind creating the layout. 

If you find interest in warehousing stocking, you can join a Operations and supply chain officer certificate course to gain professional experience. Imarticus is offering an executive certificate programme for Chief Supply Chain and Operations Officers that can assist and lead you in learning more about supply chain design and management. 

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