Warehouse Layout & Setup Checklist

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.

warehouse strategy

Warehouse Strategy

What are the objectives of your warehouse and how will you execute them?

operational data

Operational Data

How can you maximize your receiving, inventory, and production with data you’ve collected?

building requirements

Building Requirements

What do you need from your warehouse space? Anything your landlord would disapprove?

equipment needs

Equipment Needs

Any storage and warehouse equipment “must haves” for your warehouse layout?

pre-design walkthrough

Pre-design Walkthrough

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

Measure Your Warehouse

Be careful to measure your warehouse dimensions exactly, including ceiling clear height.

identify obstructions

Identify Obstructions

Make note of building columns, sprinkler systems, heaters, fans, offices, etc.

draw warehouse blueprint

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

Receiving and Shipping Areas

Place receiving and shipping areas near dock doors and in separate locations if possible.

inventory storage areas

Inventory Storage Areas

Dedicate space for palletized and/or hand-stacked storage and FIFO vs. LIFO storage.

production and work areas

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.

storage equipment

Storage Equipment

Do you need pallet racks, shelving, cantilever racks, bins, baskets, hoppers, bulk boxes?

material handling equipment

Material Handling Equipment

Do you need conveyors, pallet jacks, lift equipment, carts, two-wheelers, rolling ladders?

packing and shipping equipment

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.

aisle layout

Aisle Layout

Layout standard or narrow aisles based on your mobile equipment: pallet jacks, carts, forklifts, etc.

traffic flow

Traffic Flow

Do employees have work zones to stay out of each other’s way? Do you have one-way aisles?

storage areas for mobile equipment

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

Tape the Floor

In key areas, tape off the floor where you’re planning to place equipment and traffic flow patterns.

check the flow

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

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.