What are the key factors and principles of distribution centre design?

 What are the key factors and principles of distribution centre design?

Distribution center and warehouse design is a fascinating topic, but often misunderstood as well. Not many people fully understand the principles of design and as a result, there are only few facilities performing well. To help designers, here listed are some of the key principles that every specialist or architect firm should follow. Understanding these aspects can help one to plan their facility for optimal performance.

Basic factors to consider

The four basic factors that should be considered when laying out any distribution center include: flow, accessibility, space, and throughout. Be it a spare parts store or large multi-functional operation, remembering these factors are crucial. Each factor has its own importance and priority that impacts the whole design process.

Know the objective of the center

Yet another thing to keep in mind is to define the goals and objectives of the distribution center. Knowing what market does it serve, what kind of items will be stored or what type of services it offers, and what is the predicted lifespan of the center, etc help you to better understand their business goals. It’s essential to determine the goal so that all connected parties remain aware of the expected result, especially when resource, budget or deadline issues arise during the process, the stakeholders should be in a position to compromise or change design and operational goals. The working environment, running costs, effective and efficiency utilisation of the facility depends on the objective.

Identify functional requirements

Get the facts right to determine volume and functional requirements of the facility. The facts need to be checked are:

·Quantities of the items to be stocked up

·The nature of the orders and delivery requirements, such as is picking done in single units, cartons, pallets, or containers?

·The all-through velocities like inter-facility transfers, incoming goods, customer orders and returns.

Match storage modes, automated technologies, IT systems with volume

One important aspect of tools or machinery selection is that you need to have clear understanding of the technology and equipment available as well as should know how to apply them. Be it mechanical equipment or automated machines or static racking equipment, you should invest in systems and equipment according to their suitability, limitations, and purpose for the volumes handled. You should consult industry specialists, builders or suppliers to make sure the design is robust, well founded, and practical.

Keeping these things in mind, Stendel Reich distribution center architects designed projects, servicing a high market network and supporting a large a manufacturing operation.

Paul Petersen