Our warehouse consultants work with warehouses across the United States on optimizing their warehouse layouts. It’s an involved process that requires a lot of thought about factors such as what kind of inventory you have, how it’s moved through the warehouse, and what unique circumstances you might need to overcome to get the most out of your space. When planning out your warehouse, there are a number of areas that you’ll want to devote space to within your available square footage. While many warehouses will have specialty areas required due to their unique nature, by and large, most warehouses will be divided up into three main areas: the receiving area, the staging area, and the storage area. So how should you divide your warehouse up in order to meet the needs of each of these areas? Before we determine that, let’s take a closer look at what happens in each space.
The Three Main Areas of a Warehouse
This is the areas where your items are going to come into the warehouse. It might include docks for deliveries and various supplies for breaking down pallets and counting items for accurate inventory intake.
The staging area can involve multiple areas that are used for a variety of functions. The staging area could be where packing takes place or where inspections are done for quality control.
This is where inventory is stored until it is needed. It will likely have pallet racking and other warehouse equipment that holds the inventory and keeps it safe until it’s ordered, sold, or moved to a new location.
How To Divide Up Your Warehouse Space
Your storage area is almost certainly going to take up the bulk of your warehouse space. After all, that’s the primary purpose of a warehouse: to store items until they are needed. You’ll want to ensure you are maximizing that space to its best ability, however, in order to get the most storage out of the least amount of space. Doing things like utilizing the overhead space with taller storage racks and mezzanines might be a smart addition to your warehouse.
The size of your staging area is going to be unique to the needs of your warehouse. If you have a lot of picking that happens in a short amount of time, then your staging area might need to be sizable to accommodate the activity. You’ll want to make sure the staging area is also large enough for all of your packing needs. A staging area that’s not big enough for everything you need to do can really slow down the production speed in your warehouse.
A lot of warehouses make the mistake of creating a receiving area that’s much too small. While it’s true that you can probably get away with this being the smallest area of your warehouse, don’t discount the importance of space here. Receiving is where you bring in products before they head to the storage area; you’ll be breaking down pallets, moving forklifts in and out, discarding cardboard, and counting inventory. If this space is too small, it becomes much easier to make mistakes or run the risk of accidents. Mistakes that happen in the receiving area are much more likely to cause a ripple effect of issues throughout the rest of the warehouse.
Need Help Maximizing Your Warehouse Space?
Are you worried that you aren’t using the space within your warehouse as efficiently as possible? Our warehouse consultants can help. We work with warehouses in Chicago, Milwaukee, and across the country on finding the right solutions for their space. Get in touch with a project manager today to get started!