Having an efficient, well-organized warehouse layout is crucial for smooth warehouse operations. The warehouse must be set up to accommodate the current inventory, as well as future inventory that may arrive. Flexibility and versatility are key, but even the most flexible warehouse layouts need to be adjusted from time to time. How often should the warehouse layout be changed? Let’s do some assessments to find out.
Every Warehouse Is Different
Before we get into averages, we need to point out that every warehouse is different. The size and shape of the warehouse, the type of inventory stored within it, the way orders are fulfilled, the accessibility to different zones in the warehouse – all of these factors matter when it comes to the layout. A warehouse that only stores one product or one type of product may not need to be adjusted often because the inventory is static. A warehouse that services multiple types of clients (online retailers, brick and mortar stores, small businesses, large businesses, etc.) may have to plan a new warehouse layout every time a new client emerges. Warehouse operators must find a balance that works for their needs and their clients’ needs.
What to Look for in a Warehouse Layout Review
Note the use of the term “warehouse layout review,” not layout change. You can analyze the layout of the warehouse without making any adjustments at all. Here are some thing to consider:
- Is the current layout allowing for maximum efficiency and productivity?
- Are there any steps in the order fulfillment process that could be improved with a new layout?
- Does one zone tend to be more congested than others? If so, how can the layout change within that zone?
- Do warehouse supervisors have a clear view of daily operations?
If you need to make an adjustment to the layout, schedule a time that will have the least effect productivity. If you are in the middle of a high-demand season, wait until the demand slows. Layout adjustments take time, but they do pay off in the long run.
Don’t Change What’s Already Working
If the current warehouse layout provides great efficiency and versatility, keep it! There is nothing wrong with sticking to a system that works. The biggest concern is when warehouses cling to antiquated layouts that just don’t fit today’s warehousing needs. For instance, if the warehouse begins serving a new type of client, the old layout may not fit the new business. Conduct an evaluation, make the necessary adjustments, and move forward. It’s as simple as that.
How Often Warehouse Layouts Should Be Reviewed Average
As a rule of thumb, we recommend reviewing the warehouse layout at least once a year. Again, this may need to be more frequent if the warehouse experiences significant inventory changes. Some warehouses review their layouts quarterly because they go through a major shift each season. Others have fairly predictable inventories, so they do not have to make adjustments often.
Conduct a warehouse layout review as needed, and you can maintain a steady flow of shipments for years to come. Contact Overflo a call at 1-800-626-0616 to learn more about our warehouse, distribution center and order fulfillment services in Maryland.