Cold storage warehouse facilities, just like other warehouses and distribution centers, struggle to make the most of their labor resources. One way warehouse operators in the refrigerated environment are addressing these concerns are by focusing on warehouse layout optimization. When facilities are laid out inefficiently or improperly marked many labor hours can be wasted on travel time. Taking the time to address warehouse layout design can help your warehousing operation to achieve maximum space utilization and process improvement. The first stage of warehouse layout optimization is the designation of functional zones. This is done using analytics on past activity and estimates on future needs. These reports will help your team to identify the proper size and location of each zone. This information should be accessible from your warehouse management system where inventory and activity data is recorded. The top 4 functional warehouse zones identified using forecasting and projections are storage, yard/dock, picking and VAS/kitting zones. To identify the proper size of the storage area evaluate key factors such as project inventory levels, temperature requirements, product dimensions, fulfillment rules, flow through rates and more. All of these factors will play a part in determining proper storage layout. Data must also be collected to determine yard and dock door requirements. Too little staging space and dock doors can create a significant bottleneck, slowing down warehouse productivity. When determining picking and shipping size and location identifying your picking strategy will help to make these decisions. Consider the space requirements needed for all types and which will work best for your available resources. If your refrigerated warehousing operation provides any variety of value added services such as kitting space and layout must also be considered for this. Determine what areas require their own designated space and which can operate in shared space. Planning this space effectively will promote faster inventory flow through rates. Leaders in the refrigerated and frozen supply chain are constantly evaluating these factors to ensure their space utilization provides growth opportunities. Do not let an inefficient warehouse layout stop your business from growing. Learn more about this cold storage warehouse best practice in this brief SlideShare.
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