Warehouse Structuring: 5 Best Practices for Your Business


June 12, 2023


When it comes to running a successful warehouse operation, one crucial aspect that cannot be overlooked is efficient structuring. The way you organize your warehouse can have a profound impact on productivity, inventory management, and overall operational efficiency. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the best practices for warehouse structuring, providing you with valuable insights and actionable steps to create an optimally organized and streamlined warehouse environment.

But before that, let’s talk about warehouse management and structuring first. In today’s dynamic world, the most common practice for warehose operation is FIFO/LIFO Sorting Method. What is FIFO/LIFO sorting method? FIFO stands for First In First Out basis where the goods that came first must also be shipped or dispatched immediately after Purchase Order. It’s different compared to LIFO, LIFO stands for Last In First Out. The goods that came earlier (much newer) must be shipped first.

That FIFO/LIFO sorting method really depends on each warehouses and also their layout. This raises the question whether warehouses structures can really enable business owners to efficiently maximize their supply chain management?

Tips in Warehouse Structuring to Maximize Efficiency and Profitability

A good warehouse structure can help you streamline your supply chain operations and maximize efficiency. Thus, enabling for greater profitability because of the increased productivity.

1. Understanding the Importance of Warehouse Structuring

In today's fast-paced business environment, where customer expectations are higher than ever, maintaining an efficient and organized warehouse is crucial. In this section, we will explore the significance of warehouse structuring and how it directly impacts various aspects of your business operations.

  • Improved Order Accuracy
  • Reduced Picking and Packing Time
  • Minimized Error and Returns
  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction
  • Efficient Space Utilization
  • Effective Resource Management

An optimized warehouse structure leads to reduced picking and packing time. By strategically arranging your inventory, grouping similar items together, and implementing efficient picking routes, you can minimize the distance traveled by your warehouse staff. This streamlined process not only saves time but also increases productivity, allowing your team to fulfill orders faster and more efficiently.

Effective warehouse structuring also plays a vital role in achieving accurate order fulfillment. By organizing your warehouse in a logical and systematic manner, you can reduce the chances of errors during the picking, packing, and shipping processes. Clear product placement, labeling, and designated storage areas help warehouse staff locate items quickly and accurately, minimizing the risk of order mix-ups and improving overall order accuracy.

2. Analzying Your Current Warehouse Layout

Before implementing warehouse structuring techniques, it is crucial to analyze your current warehouse layout. In this section, we will explore the process of evaluating your layout, identifying bottlenecks, and determining the optimal flow of materials and goods.

Begin by thoroughly examining your existing warehouse layout. Take note of the dimensions, available space, and any limitations or constraints that may impact the structuring process. Consider the location of entry points, loading docks, and other external factors that influence the flow of materials into and out of your warehouse.

During the assessment, identify any bottlenecks or inefficiencies within your current layout. These bottlenecks may include congested areas, long travel distances, or inefficient storage systems. By pinpointing these areas, you can prioritize them for improvement and address the root causes of these inefficiencies.

Understand the flow of materials and goods within your warehouse. Map out the movement of products from the receiving area to storage, picking, packing, and shipping zones. Identify any areas where the flow may be hindered, such as cross-traffic, awkward turns, or excessive movement between zones. This analysis will serve as a basis for optimizing the layout and improving overall workflow.

Two common types of warehouse layouts are process-oriented and product-oriented layouts. A process-oriented layout arranges zones based on the sequence of operations, such as receiving, storage, picking, and shipping. On the other hand, a product-oriented layout groups similar products together, regardless of the operational sequence. Analyze the nature of your business, the types of products you handle, and the order fulfillment process to determine which layout type is more suitable for your warehouse operation.

Ensure that your warehouse layout adheres to safety regulations and compliance standards. Consider factors such as fire safety, emergency exits, aisle widths, and the placement of safety equipment. Prioritize the well-being of your employees and create a safe working environment throughout the warehouse.

There are warehousing solutions that offer a personalized optimal flow for warehouse efficiency by mapping the in flow and out flow of goods. Goods that sold the most must be prioritized at the rack and be closest to the shipping zone. We have incorporated this and also many international standards at Uniair Cargo’s Warehouse.

3. Strategically Zoning Your Warehouse

An essential aspect of warehouse structuring is strategically zoning your warehouse. In this section, we will delve into the concept of zoning and guide you through the process of dividing your warehouse into functional areas, such as receiving, storage, picking, packing, and shipping zones. There are several types of zone that you must have at your warehouse:

  • Receiving Zone
  • Storage Zone
  • Picking Zone
  • Packing Zone
  • Shipping Zone

While zoning your warehouse, it is essential to plan for flexibility and scalability. Anticipate potential changes in your business, such as seasonal fluctuations or growth, and design your zoning strategy to accommodate such variations. This may involve incorporating adjustable storage systems, modular layouts, or flexible space allocation to accommodate future needs.

4. Implementing the Best Storage Solutions

Implementing efficient storage solutions is a key component of warehouse structuring. In this section, we will explore various storage options and discuss their benefits and considerations to help you make informed decisions based on your specific requirements.

When choosing storage solutions, there are several considerations to keep in mind:

  • Space utilization
  • Accessibility
  • Scalability
  • Safety
  • Integration with Technology such as WMS and inventory tracking software.

Pallet Racking System

Pallet racking systems are widely used for efficient storage of palletized goods. They provide vertical storage space, allowing for high-density storage and easy access to pallets. Consider different types of pallet racking systems, such as selective racking, drive-in racking, or push-back racking, based on factors such as inventory turnover, product characteristics, and accessibility requirements.

Shelving Units

Shelving units are versatile storage solutions that are suitable for storing smaller items, cartons, or bins. They provide easy access to individual items and facilitate efficient inventory management. Consider factors such as weight capacity, adjustability, and ease of installation when choosing shelving units for your warehouse. Utilize labeling systems to ensure clear identification of items stored on shelves.

Mezzanine Floors

Mezzanine floors can effectively utilize vertical space in warehouses with high ceilings. By adding an additional floor level, you can create extra storage space for items that do not require frequent access. Mezzanine floors are especially beneficial for storing lightweight or non-bulky goods, allowing you to maximize the available square footage in your warehouse.

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)

AS/RS systems automate the storage and retrieval of goods, improving efficiency and reducing manual labor. These systems utilize robotic cranes or shuttles to handle pallets, bins, or cartons within designated storage locations. Consider implementing AS/RS if you have a high-volume operation with a need for precise inventory control and rapid order fulfillment.

5. Keep Your Warehouse Clean and Clutter Free

A clean warehouse can make it easier for worker to organize the products. Do not throw too many boxes or cartons that are not going to be used. Save it in the storage container. At the very least, make your warehouse clutter free by optimizing everything from A to Z.

Uniair Cargo Warehousing Solutions

As we mentioned earlier, Uniair Cargo adhere to strict protocols and international standards at the warehouse. We believe in the supply chain efficiency at our warehouse, making sure no goods go missing or there is any miscommunication that resulted in delay of the dispatched goods. Contact us for warehousing solutions tailored to your budget and shipping needs.

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