Some goods are stored at every stage in the marketing process. That is where the importance of warehousing comes in. Generally, warehouses are designed to store and preserve products until there is a need to distribute them. For the better part of the century, equipment storage and warehouse facilities were just simple, boxy structures. Today, these storage buildings have to be so much more. At a minimum, they need to meet building code requirements and minimum safety standards. A warehouse construction project is always a huge undertaking. These storage facilities need to planned and built in the most efficient manner. What are the main factors to consider?
Structural Layout and Materials
The most crucial part of building a warehouse is a proper and efficient design. There are a lot of things to be considered during this process. But the greatest opportunity for cost savings also happens during this stage. The following list of suggested questions can help determine what floor layout would meet each company’s specific requirements:
- What type of products will be stored in the facility?
- Will the products be stored in compliance with any special rules or regulations?
- Will the products require any processing aside from storage?
- Will inventory fluctuate much due to several factors such as seasonality?
- Will operations comprise of other activities aside from storage, like intake and dispatching?
- Will the warehouse manage reverse logistics?
The optimal floor plan of a warehouse is determined not only by the type of operations but also with the materials used to build the structure. Sheet metals and steel have been the main structural materials for many years.
However, as with many other things, there have been recent introductions to improve the warehousing structures recently. These include the introduction of the fabric structure. The engineering behind a fabric building is closely similar to its steel equivalent. The only major difference is the cladding used. The former uses fabric cladding and not metal. Fabric structures seem to have the answer to all warehousing needs: expedited construction, clearspan space, flexible design, portability, and climate-responsive material.
Once the design and layout have been set, it is important to choose the proper location for the warehouse. Being in the right location, any storage facility can directly contribute to the efficiency of the company as well as the overall customer experience. Here are suggested questions to consider:
- Where are most of the customers based?
- What is the local traffic density?
- What is the workforce availability in the chosen location?
- What are the educational attainment and income levels of the area?
- How many warehousing facilities will be put up?
- Can the site accommodate any growth or shrinking of the business?
- Are there specific storage requirements for the products, such as hazardous and flammable items?
The warehousing function is very critical in almost all kinds of businesses. It acts as a node in linking the product flow between the supplier or manufacturer and the customers. Therefore, detailed attention is crucial when planning and designing the construction of the storage facility.