What is the warehouse planning?
In order for a warehouse to achieve the greatest possible economic success, good warehouse planning plays a major role. This is influenced by various factors, which makes it a very complex process.
In general, however, warehouse planning can be summarized in six areas:
- Quality management
- Order entry
- Customization of loading units
Receiving, storage and shipping in warehouse planning
These areas can be categorized into three storage areas. Both incoming goods and quality and interface control take place in the receiving department. Also here the delivered goods are repacked on loading units adapted for the racks used.
Storage usually takes up most of the storage area. Here the goods are stored in different types of racks or the floor. Depending on the turnover rate and the value of a good, it is placed in different locations in the warehouse.
In the shipping area, orders for retrieval and picking are received and carried out. Since unscheduled peaks in demand can occur, this area must also be appropriately sized.
The prerequisite for sustainable economic action?
In times of globalization and international flows of goods, organization is an essential element in being able to act efficiently. For industrial companies, e-commerce companies or mail order companies, aspects of warehouse planning play a special role in this. After all, in case of doubt, a warehouse must grow with the company and continuously adapt to changing conditions.
Basics: These three basic tasks must be considered in warehouse planning
Consumers are increasingly demanding transparency and predictability, and the ideal of live tracking is shaping customer behavior in some areas. Optimized warehouse planning helps to focus on this aspect and generate competitive advantages. But before we get there, let's look at the three core areas of any warehouse planning.
Before handling takes place within the warehouse, an acceptance including a quality control must take place. Here it is checked whether the product meets the properties and specifications that are desired. Typically, the receiving area is located next to the unloading area, and areas also exist for unscheduled goods receipts.
The heart of warehouse planning is the storage itself, because this is where optimal use of space is crucial. Central warehouses are divided into several sections, which in turn affects the rate of turnover. Depending on the product or goods type, this creates the conditions for achieving the highest possible average values. Block storage areas, which are designed for speed rather than accessibility, are suitable for high throughput. Compact storage systems are one example of this. Shelving systems, on the other hand, tend to be designed for longer retention of goods.
In order to ensure the internal as well as external distribution of the stored goods, the shipping area is aligned accordingly with order composition and packaging. This area is particularly critical to success, because good warehouse planning is demonstrated by the seamless interlocking of those processes that end here. This is ensured with the help of a warehouse management system (WMS).
From idea to implementation: these steps shape warehouse planning
Warehouse planning is always integrated into factory planning, dependent on the structure behind it and thus sometimes restricted by external constraints. While warehouse organization is characterized by warehouse control and storage location management, questions concerning warehouse and transport technology depend on rack types (direct/indirect) or warehouse service types. Further detailed questions are directed to the storage unit including storage aids and stored goods as well as to the storage layout, structured by rough and fine layout.
The following illustration shows the ideal-typical course in warehouse planning - from A to Z:
- At the beginning, the objectives and requirements are listed, for example with reference to transport route lengths or load capacities. Integration of existing warehouse processes also takes place here.
- The warehouse planning is based on a basic determination, so that existing data material is evaluated and analyzed. Typically, ABC/XYZ analyses are performed for this purpose.
- Subsequently, the focus is directed to the warehouse organization, integrated are the warehouse process as such, the warehouse strategy as well as partial aspects of the work organization of all warehouse employees.
- After various scenarios have been run through, warehouse planning now moves on to dimensioning and forecasting future inventory trends. This also determines the choice of storage or transport technology to be used.
- Finally, the bearing layout is defined, based on the previously resulting bearing dimensions and basic parameters.
Tip: Evaluate inventory data from warehouse management software to plan new storage areas
Optimal warehouse and material flow control is the backbone of any company, regardless of the industry. With a powerful warehouse management system (WMS), you are able to control and analyze all processes related to storage, retrieval and transfer. This also creates resilient data that is necessary in the course of new warehouse planning.
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