Updated: Jun 23
With years of warehouse process-, storage- and systems engineering experience DCwise.eu is there to support any warehouse operation to pick-up and deal with the current and future challenges. In this post we high-light the (regular) review of your warehouse Lay-out.
1️⃣ The "Benefits"
First, why would you do a review of your warehouse lay-out?
✔ As per experience while an operation and its challenges are part of "living environments" (i.e., changing over time) the lay-out might need to be changed too to accommodate.
What a typical review does for you is improve your lay-out to claim following improvements:
➕ Safety => optimizing such people, resources and goods are more safe
➕ Space => as in better utilization of the available cube
➕ Processes => the better structured your lay-out the better the flow
➕ Operational control => more flow and overview mean better management
One of the main elements to pick-up is that a lay-out review is like maintaining your "car". You can deal with it when you get it in trouble when it does not work anymore, but better is to regular look to prevent issues... So, before your processing or storage space get into trouble "lubricate" your processes to keep them flowing.
2️⃣ The "Start"
Next question is then how to start with this? There are many ways but let’s for now assume that we have an up running layout and we would like to limit the (regular) review to the minimum.
👉One way to approach your warehouse lay-out in practical way is to link this to the more common "traffic element". In this you can start by asking the following types of questions:
✔ Does it flow?
✔ Can it take the different volumes? Or is there a frustration with regular congestion or even traffic jams?
✔ Is it safe? Are there many accidents or near-misses? Does the team feel safe?
✔ Is the direction clear? Do newcomers quickly see how to move through it?
And so on.
A very negative answer to one of the questions will indicate the urgency and direction where to look for improvement. Is the issue largely safety or more optimization related... this can be immediately linked to the need and depth of the review?
3️⃣ The "Review"
Once its clear what the goals and needs of the review are the next step is to start the review itself.
👉 A basic method to do this is to use value stream mapping, i.e. map out all the relevant (main) streams and quantify. This is then done at the proper level of depth (high level vs detailed) based on the previous. Make sure in this to get the relevant data, e.g. number of trips and make it graphical. Either right on a lay-out or on a simplified version of the lay-out.
Next question is how to analyze this?
👉 This is done by mixing following elements:
- the available data and its representation,
- a good understanding of the business needs,
- experience in warehouse processes,
- expertise in drawing lay-outs including leveraging warehouse "best-practices".
✔ Important during the lay-out review is to make the link with the other elements such as the processes, resources, etc. What is the capacity used of the resource, including driving aisles, etc. All needs to be in sync and supporting the overall warehouse performance. Start by looking at resources running at high and low capacities.
✔ Another indication for issues is "spaghetti-flows"; meaning if there is too much movement back and forth, across, and so on there is a high risk for efficiency loss and safety issues.
✔ Depending the need and situation this analysis is done 2D, 3D or even 4D (taking time into account - see also "Why more "3D-thinking" is needed in warehousing" for more information).
⭐ Goal of DCwise is to help you build a healthy warehouse operation.
By now it should be clear that one of the main elements driving your operations health is the lay-out.
A specific project scope or starting from a "Facility Health Scan", we help in generating the plan and guide you through your warehouse transformation.