Warehouse Space Planning

Instructor: Anne Butler

Anne has a bachelor's in K-12 art education and a master's in visual art and design. She currently works at a living history museum in Colorado.

When a business is planning to open, there are many questions that need to be answered. Where will the excess inventory go? It can't all fit in the business. Businesses need well-planned warehouses so they can have a place to store their extra inventory.

If you've ever been to a home improvement store or an IKEA, you've been exposed to a warehouse space. Large shelves full of product are stacked accordingly and labeled so they are easy to find.

Planning a Warehouse

When business owners need more space to store their products, they need to get a warehouse. When planning a warehouse, the first thing a business should look for is suitable space. Industrial neighborhoods usually have large warehouse spaces businesses can purchase or rent. When selecting, planners should already know how much square footage they will need to store their products, and how much space they will actually use. This also includes what kind of shelving they will need. Warehouse planners should figure out if their products and shelving and equipment will actually all fit in the warehouse, with room for sprinkler systems and fire alarms and all the necessary equipment. Bathrooms and breakrooms and first aid stations will also need to be installed for those working in the warehouse, to be compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)standards.

Warehouse Space

This all depends on the shape of the warehouse as well. Most warehouses are usually a rectangular shape.

There should be enough space for forklifts and other loading equipment. There should be easily accessible loading docks, so product can be easily loaded and unloaded. Planners should decide how many loading docks their warehouse will need. It all depends on how much inventory businesses will have coming in and out every day. Most warehouses have at least one of two loading docks, depending on business size.

Loading Docks

Filling the Warehouse

Once space has been selected, business owners can then begin getting the warehouse ready for product. Before the product can be delivered, there has to be a place to put it. Shelves have to be purchased and installed. There are a few things to consider when selecting shelves. The durability of the shelves depends on what kind of product is going to go on the shelves. Shelves that can carry a lot of weight are important in warehouses, since a lot of product will be on those shelves. Businesses can also utilize horizontal and vertical space for their warehouse shelving. Forklifts can be used to reach higher shelves. If the warehouse is a little smaller, small shelves can be installed on rails, so they can be moved with a turn of a handle, so the employees can access product.

Forklift Placing Product

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