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Streamlining Inventory Management With Efficient Warehouse Design Ideas

warehouse design ideas

Every retail operation needs some type of warehouse (or equivalent) to manage inventory. You need enough space to pack, fulfill, and store orders. It’s a hub for shipping and receiving, customer service, and website strategy.

Every warehouse strategy starts with the right warehouse space. This building type falls under commercial property. Next, you have to implement a warehouse layout design that maximizes productivity, profit, and customer service.

Start brainstorming with these warehouse design ideas.

How to Design a Warehouse Layout In Your Home

For so many entrepreneurs, their own homes serve as their first office, headquarters, and fulfillment center. If you’re starting a home-based business, you have no choice but to convert some area of your home into a “warehouse” space.

If you’re running a small online boutique, a converted guest bedroom could suffice for a mini-warehouse space.

You’ll have just enough room for the following essentials:

  • Product shelving
  • Packaging materials
  • Shipping label machines
  • Shrink wrapping equipment
  • Product scales
  • Tables
  • Ergonomic accessories

As your e-commerce business grows, you can start converting your garage into a larger warehouse space. You will need to install plenty of safety measures to avoid slips, falls, and other health hazards. You may also have to add additional insulation and other building materials, including replacing the garage door with an insulated wall.

Lease a Warehouse Space

The next step up from a home-based “warehouse” space is finding industrial warehouses for lease. These properties are designed to be customized with all the warehousing equipment you need.

You’ll have enough space (and accommodations) for the following:

  • Computer Systems and Point of Sales (POS) Systems
  • Large multi-level shelving units
  • Ladders
  • Warehouse forklifts
  • Vertical shelf transportation
  • Shipping and receiving workstations
  • Communication systems

Some warehouses are so large that you’ll need warehouse vehicles, including cranes in some cases. Forklifts transport heavy pallets from one end of the warehouse to the other.

If you’re dealing with such large equipment, you’ll need warehouse managers and staff trained in using heavy machinery.

This protocol also includes the following:

  • Hard hats
  • Reflective work clothing
  • Proper footwear
  • Goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Back braces

The last point speaks to the importance of integrating ergonomics into warehouse designs. This element helps cut down on employee sick days. Improved wellness results in higher productivity, profits, and innovation.

How to Design Warehouse Computer Systems

You need a technology product suite that’s designed for maximum efficiency.

As a basic example, every retail warehouse must be connected with the store’s point of sale (POS) system. This system maintains accurate inventory numbers which is crucial for keeping accurate sales records and bookkeeping. Whenever a product is shipped out or received, your inventory database must reflect that quantity change.

Warehouse staff also need accurate inventory scanners to ensure accurate POS data. These scanners must be synced with the store’s POS System.

Hiring a Warehouse Management Team

Next to the right technology, layout, and safety protocols, you need the right professionals for the job.

This project starts with hiring an experienced warehouse manager.

Ideally, you should look for someone with the following experience:

  • Heavy lifting experience
  • Supply chain management expertise
  • Experience with warehouse forklifts and cranes
  • Knowledge of various POS systems
  • Making purchase orders
  • Shipping and receiving protocols
  • Packaging supplies
  • Loss prevention strategy

Supply chain management is one of the fastest-growing careers and degrees. Include this experience in your job descriptions to attract the right managers for the job. An efficient warehouse should cut down on waste, including adapting to paperless methods for invoicing and purchase orders.

A supply chain refers to the entire “journey” a product makes, starting with product development and ending with a consumer purchase. The goal is to get that product in customers’ hands as quickly and efficiently as possible without sacrificing quality.

Supply chain managers also keep up with warehouse metrics to mitigate profit losses due to broken products, purchase order mistakes, and miscounting inventory. Warehouse managers work with retail purchasers to ensure that purchasing decisions are informed by sales data and market research. You don’t want to over-order products you don’t need while having a shortage of in-demand inventory.

Starting a Fulfillment Business

Another fast-growing opportunity for warehousing professionals is “fulfillment by Amazon” businesses, otherwise known as “FBA.”

Amazon’s FBA program allows business professionals across the spectrum, including aspiring entrepreneurs, the opportunity to run a successful fulfillment warehouse.

With over 310 million active users globally, Amazon prides itself on fast delivery, necessitating the need for efficient warehousing. The more warehouses available, the more efficient (and fast) the delivery.

Start by inquiring about Amazon’s FBA program. You’ll learn which type of warehouse space you need, business permits and licensing, how to work with Amazon sellers, and more.

If you’re an Amazon seller yourself, you can also fulfill your own orders through an FBA program or through another warehousing structure.

High-volume eBay sellers also need warehousing options to keep up with demand. Sellers have access to eBay’s own fulfillment centers but can also lease their own warehouse spaces if necessary.

Do you manage an online store on the Shopify platform?

You, too, have access to the site’s fulfillment network if you don’t want to lease a warehouse space of your own. Shopify can connect its users to a reputable network of logistics professionals experienced in fulfillment and shipping. If you’re a high-volume seller, you may save more money through a fulfillment program since you don’t have to pay for a monthly commercial lease.

Discover More Warehouse Design Ideas

The above tips are the start of an exciting business venture. Think about your profit goals and build a warehouse layout around those objectives. Remember to research the latest warehouse design ideas to fine-tune your strategy.

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