Once you’ve chosen a location and a size for your warehouse, the next important step to focus on is the interior design. Spending the necessary amount of time and attention on the details of your warehouse design will ensure that you maximize productivity, ensure the safety of your workforce, and get the most out of your space. The details will vary depending on the purpose of your warehouse, but, generally speaking, you’ll want to follow the FAST principles when planning out your space. FAST is an acronym that stands for flow, accessibility, space, and throughput – all necessary components of good warehouse design. Here’s how to use these principles to your advantage.
Flow is a principle that ensures that processes run smoothly, just like the flow of a river. How do you incorporate this principle into your warehouse design? There is a delicate balance that you’ll need to strike: the individual steps of your process need to be close enough to each other to provide a smooth operation but spread out enough to prevent disruptions from clogging it up. Also, the design will have to minimize movement and disruptions as much as possible to preserve this flow.
Making sure that everything is accessible is another key FAST principle, particularly if you’re dealing with products that have a shelf life. From products to essential equipment, everything should be able to be accessed in as few steps as possible to maximize efficiency. Apply this principle to every portion of the floor, including the loading dock area and any staging areas.
Space is perhaps the most important FAST principle because space which is not used wisely can stifle production and efficiency. Know your racking options when it comes to storage space and choose one that best fits your needs. Utilize mezzanines to increase the amount of useful space in the facility and consider modular offices if you need to use some of your space for administrative purposes. Everything should fit together precisely so you can make the most of your finite space.
Throughput is the process of how your products interact with your warehouse space. We tend to talk about how your products move through the flow of your warehouse, from manufacture/arrival to their departure, when we talk about throughput. This includes how that flow speed may change during periods of higher and lower demand. When designing a warehouse, you should always account for the highest demand periods so that production can always be ramped up to the maximum level without your design slowing it down.
Designing a New Warehouse? Contact S.W. Betz!
The S.W. Betz Company, Inc. has been providing businesses in Maryland and beyond with all of their essential Weighing, Material Handling, Dock, and Warehouse equipment since 1933. We also offer warehouse layout and design logistics solutions from experienced, knowledgeable experts.
We carry a variety of top warehouse equipment brands to help with your design logistics, such as Wesco, Magliner, Cogan, Quantum Storage Systems, and more.
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