New technology has completely changed the warehouse and cold storage industry. Same-day delivery, e-commerce and more have forced warehouse operations to modify distribution and delivery processes.
Every day, warehouse operations enhance their systems, now digitally outfitted with game-changing WMS software and tools that increase efficiency and effectiveness.
Inventory is stored, tracked, picked, and delivered much differently today than it was even just a decade ago, resulting in warehouse owners needing to update existing facilities.
And if you’re building a facility from the ground up, the stakes have never been higher.
What are the most important considerations you should address along the way? From the initial planning stages all the way through opening your warehouse doors, we have the top 5 tips you should focus on while building your new warehouse.
- Location, location, location
Meet customer demands efficiently and quickly by carefully selecting a location. The site you pick matters more than you may think. At one time, companies built warehouses in rural areas because land was cheaper. But today there is greater demand (and fierce competition) for next-day or same-day shipping. That makes it increasingly difficult to be off the beaten path. Now more than ever, it’s essential to be close to the population, and that often means in the heart of a city. Amazon is a prime example of where we may be heading: Cities are competing to have the eCommerce giant open locations within their city-limits.
Traditional warehouse layouts once allowed for easy distribution for brick-and-mortar stores. Cases of products were picked, packed, shipped, and delivered using pallets and trucks. But e-commerce has drastically changed this dynamic. Now, with small-volume ordering and fast, on-time delivery as the primary focus, it’s more the norm to have to pick items individually. The result? A complete overhaul of the physical space of warehouses. Warehouses now need to be designed to reflect new and different demands while allowing for the easy processing of both picking and of handling any returned items.
- Accommodate the Robots
As automation continues to emerge in warehouse spaces, any new or revamped warehouse builds need to be designed to allow for the current or future use of robotics.
- Automated Guided -Vehicle (AGV) pathways
- Vertical space that can better-accommodate transportable shelving
- Automated picking and packing robotic arms
- High-speed conveyor systems
- Room for future automated tools
- Temperature control
To maximize the potential of your new space, it’s wise to optimize your warehouse to include space for automated technologies, even if you won’t be using them right away. Planning now so you can incorporate new technologies and features as you grow is just plain smart. Because the last thing you want is to discover your new facility lacks the dimensions needed to eventually get your robotics up and running.
- Invest in 3D Modeling
3D modeling helps you identify any potential (perhaps costly) bottlenecks that result once humans and robotics are trying to work together. A skilled and experienced warehouse designer will be able to figure out how to maximize vertical space while keeping dead space at a minimum. Modeling may also be able to demonstrate fly-through videos to help detect potential collisions so you can modify plans before they impact your operation.
- Ask the Experts
Warehouse design has changed. Large distribution centers are moving from single channel to multichannel inventories and smaller warehouses while automating their operations. Let an expert in the industry help you. They can assess your current system and look for ways to improve. For example, design experts can ensure you eliminate inefficient uses of space.
Ready to upgrade or move your warehouse operation? One of the final (and most important) steps of the process is ensuring you have a WMS that is efficient and effective, so all your efforts can pay off in a cost-effective operation that gets you results!
If you would like to improve the performance of your current warehousing operation, contact us for a Competitive Replacement Plan specifically designed for your needs.