If you run a warehouse, distribution center, or fulfillment center, you need more than the right space and equipment, you need an efficient warehouse layout. How you set up your layout can influence your productivity, employee performance, inventory, safety and more. A good warehouse design
can lead to big wins for your business. However, a poorly designed layout will cause big problems. We're here to help set your operations up for success! We’ve created a checklist to help you with evaluating your current warehouse layout or planning a new design.
Download Your Checklist
Use this checklist to help plan your layout design.
Brainstorm Warehouse Design Ideas
Before you put your layout on paper or in practice, brainstorm design ideas with your team. What should go where? Getting input from your team will help you design a warehouse layout everyone approves.
What are the objectives of your warehouse and how will you execute them?
How can you maximize your receiving, inventory, and production with data you’ve collected?
What do you need from your warehouse space? Anything your landlord would disapprove?
Any storage and warehouse equipment “must haves” for your warehouse layout?
After brainstorming, walk the space with your team to envision your success.
Draw a Warehouse Layout Template
After you’ve dreamed up what your warehouse should look like, it’s time to put your ideas to paper (or screen). Creating a mock-up isn’t just for art class.
Measure Your Warehouse
Be careful to measure your warehouse dimensions exactly, including ceiling clear height.
Make note of building columns, sprinkler systems, heaters, fans, offices, etc.
Draw Warehouse Blueprint
Layout your design using software like AutoCAD, Draft sight, Smart draw, or good old pencil and grid paper.
Plan Your Workspace
Identify the key workspace areas for your operation. Allocate plenty of room for these areas and arrange them in a logical and efficient manner.
Receiving and Shipping Areas
Place receiving and shipping areas near dock doors and in separate locations if possible.
Inventory Storage Areas
Dedicate space for palletized and/or hand-stacked storage and FIFO vs. LIFO storage.
Production and Work Areas
Allot necessary space for the primary function of your operations: manufacturing, assembly, fulfillment, etc.
Set tools and storage areas nearby work areas within reach, based on NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Select Warehouse Equipment
What key equipment is crucial to your operation’s success? For a complete list, see our Warehouse Equipment Checklist
to make sure you have what you need.
Do you need pallet racks, shelving, cantilever racks, bins, baskets, hoppers, bulk boxes?
Material Handling Equipment
Do you need conveyors, pallet jacks, lift equipment, carts, two-wheelers, rolling ladders?
Packing and Shipping Equipment
Do you need worktables, workbenches, scales, stretch wrapper, banding?
Plan Your Workflow
Based on your company’s most important workspace areas, arrange your warehouse equipment and traffic into an efficient flow for your employees.
Layout standard or narrow aisles based on your mobile equipment: pallet jacks, carts, forklifts, etc.
Do employees have work zones to stay out of each other’s way? Do you have one-way aisles?
Storage Areas for Mobile Equipment
Dedicate space to store your forklifts, pallet jacks, carts, rolling ladders, etc. when not in use.
Test Your Warehouse Setup
Once you have an idea and sketch of how you want your warehouse layout to work, test it out in your warehouse space. Make adjustments as needed before you install and setup equipment.
Tape the Floor
In key areas, tape off the floor where you’re planning to place equipment and traffic flow patterns.
Check the Flow
Walk the space like you’re on the job. Do you have plenty of clearance? Any congestion areas?
Double Check Safety Requirements per OSHA Standards
Confirm your new plan adheres to all OSHA and local safety, seismic, fire codes and ordinances.
Since you started the process as a team, make sure to complete the warehouse layout as a team! As you work on your mock-up, get feedback and share ideas. Ask your team members to walk through the warehouse and test it out. Get a feel for if the spacing, production zones and equipment will meet your needs. The nice thing about designing it on a computer, or grid paper, is you don’t need to commit to anything before you’re certain the warehouse layout will work! If you find yourself stuck on warehouse layout, Warehouse1 can provide custom warehouse designs for you.