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male warehouse worker with clipboard surveying stock along shelves inside large warehouse structureThere are many factors to consider when designing warehouse space, but one of the most important factors in warehouse operations is efficiency. An efficiently designed warehouse allows you to make the most of available space while optimizing your ability to move around and quickly access your inventory, lowering your inventory handling costs, reducing storage costs and improving delivery times.  Choose a warehouse space, such as a tension fabric structure, that is conveniently located to save time and transportation costs, and one that allows you the maximum flexibility in layout design, which includes the important steps below.

How to Use Warehouse Space Efficiently 

Making the most of your warehouse space means not only planning how to house your items, but also planning carefully to optimize the flow of traffic within the building. Consider these factors as you design your warehouse space:

  • Assess the space for storage capacity: One of the first things to consider for spacing out your warehouse is how you’ll move things around; assess available floor space and options for providing efficient pathways to and from important access points, such as shipping and receiving docks. Take into account logistics for item storage and retrieval and inventory management. The forklift is a staple for warehouses. They usually require a width of 12-13 feet at the bare minimum. Of course, this factor is also dependent on what type of product you are storing. That might seem like quite a bit of space for the aisles in a warehouse with limited space, but keep in mind that with forklift capability you can also expand vertically, which allows you to double or triple your warehouse capacity. A pallet jack is another piece of equipment that is critical in a warehouse. They come in manual and electric varieties and are used for short-distance transport of small loads.
  • Separate your zones correctly: Maintain a clear boundary between work zones, such as your loading and unloading, reception, storage, picking and shipping. Provide ample space for each zone in order to prevent bottlenecks in the flow of operations, particularly so for separating your storage into dynamic storage and static storage. The former is for popular items that move frequently and the latter is reserved for items that are extra inventory or that move more slowly. By optimizing your storage zones into these two sub-zones with clear categories, you can reduce errors and speed up order fulfillment.
  • Select your type of warehouse layout: Generally speaking, warehouses fall under 3 categories in terms of layouts: the U shape, the I shape, and the L shape. The U shape is a well-rounded choice for most warehouses due to its nature of being highly replicable. The I shaped warehouse is recommended for warehouses with high volume products. Finally, the L shaped warehouse pushes storage efficiently to the peak. Understanding your goals for the warehouse will help you select a layout that best matches your needs. Complete a warehouse plan with consideration for office or equipment spaces, as well as planning shelving choices appropriate for your inventory items and space available.

After you’ve prepared your plan, test the plan virtually or on paper for both an empty inventory and then with a full inventory to see how the actualization of your plan will run in reality. Plan which items will go in which zones and test out typical movement of those items in your layout pathways. The last thing you want is for a breakdown or a holdup in the warehouse logistics chain because of poorly placed zones or difficult to maneuver pathways. It is easier to fix the flow of traffic in the initial planning stages before putting it into actual operation with the pressures of arriving shipments and waiting customers.

Allsite’s Tension Fabric Warehouse Help Smooth Storage Logistics

temporary tension fabric warehouse structure with rollup door annex to a compnay building for expansion spaceWhen space is needed due to expansion, temporary excess inventory or simply due to growth and lack of onsite warehouse space, consider a temporary tension fabric warehouse structure for its many advantages and convenience. Flexibility is the key advantage. Many situations can arise that require extra warehouse space quickly — seasonal influxes of inventory, an order cancellation or changes in the market, upgrade projects to your existing warehouse space, and so on. The Allsite Tension Fabric Structure (TFS) can be quickly set up and transformed into needed warehouse space at your location. With most of the features of a traditional brick and mortar structure, Allsite warehouse structures have a lot to offer:

  • These buildings can be set up quickly, often within weeks of order, to solve your immediate inventory capacity problems.
  • Have an unpaved lot? Allsite tensioned fabric buildings can be set up just about anywhere, which means you can conveniently and efficiently use existing available space at or near your facility for the building’s placement.
  • With some existing warehouses, ceiling height may be a factor if you need room for vertical storage, mezzanines and other interior structures. Allsite’s tension fabric building clearance is available up to an interior height of 54’. Allsite’s structure features more usable space with its curved leg, open space design which maximizes interior volume. The structures are fully open span, that is, there are no interior walls, columns or posts, so there is no wasted interior space.
  • These structurally advanced buildings use a T6061 aluminum frame along with durable PVC fabric that creates a climate-resistant seal. This allows you to control temperatures within the structure via HVAC if you desire interior heating or cooling. Insulation and louvres are also available for additional climate control.
  • The modular structure of the TFS means that you can place entries and cargo doors wherever you need them for easy loading and unloading at the most efficient locations for your needs. Make entryways part of your design plan.

Add Permanent Warehouse Capacity

Interior Flemington construction maintenance project fabric buildingAnother advantage to the Allsite Tension Fabric Structure warehouse is that it doesn’t have to be temporary. These durable and stable structures can be used for decades like a traditional building, and they can be easily relocated, expanded or contracted as your needs change. They are cost efficient as there is no need to lay a building foundation and the modular design makes for quick installation. Maintenance costs on tension fabric structures are lower than with traditional structures. In addition, if you have existing ground space to set up the structure, you may find that this will cost you less than rental fees on warehouse space while placing your warehouse exactly where you need it.

Author Jason Cromwell

Jason Cromwell is the General Manager of Allsite Structure Rentals. He has a degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Jason is a 12 year veteran in all matters related to Tension Fabric Structures with Allsite Structure Rentals and has over 20 years of sales, operations, and management experience. Read more about Jason and the rest of our team at https://allsitestructures.com/about/

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