How to Lay Out a Warehouse or Distribution Center

An efficient factory layout can make it more functional.
An efficient factory layout can make it more functional. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

An inefficient layout of your warehouse or factory could seriously decrease its productivity. It can create inventory control issues, errors in shipping and even pose safety risks. An efficient layout plan that works for one factory might not work for another. Professionals who study the subject charge companies lots of money to perform this service. It requires research and some trial and error. There are a few tips that can help you make your warehouse's layout more efficient.

Create short paths. The less time a worker has to spend traveling, the more time he can spend working. If it takes him 20 seconds to walk 50 yards, then it will only take 10 seconds to walk 25 yards. Design your warehouse so that workers spend less time traveling if they are moving frequently between one place and another.

Design your warehouse so that inventory does not have to be moved again and again. It normally doesn't make sense to store items in one place and then move them to another place later.

Store similar items together. If you have different groups of workers, store equipment for group A in a location near their workstation and equipment for group B in a location near their workstation.

Make sure equal amounts of time are spent on each activity. It may be tempting to create a more efficient workstation for Group A to increase their productivity, but Group B would suffer. Group A may be more productive while working but not while waiting for Group B. Organize your warehouse or factory so that groups are working in sync.

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