Modern Warehouse Design

While the general goal of all warehouses may be similar, not all warehouses are created the same.

Simply put: Warehouses store goods. Manufacturers, wholesalers, exporters, and other companies use warehouses to store materials and finished products.

Every company has different systems. Every product has different specifications. As a result, different warehouse designs are best for different situations.

Today, we’ll talk about the main types and designs of modern warehouses. We’ll also discuss ways to determine the best for you and your application.

Which Type of Warehouse is Right for You?

First, let’s chat about the main types of warehouses. Three of the most popular include:

1. General distribution warehouses.

These warehouses are large structures that help companies move goods fast. Their design is simple, not specialized.

2. Climate-controlled warehouses.

When products or processes require specific environments, climate-controlled warehouses can help. Some climate-controlled structures provide humidity conducive to plant growth. Others house giant freezers — ideal for keeping food safe.

3. Smart warehouses.

Today, with the benefit of automation, we even have warehouses that can handle some aspects of storage and fulfillment without direct human oversight. For example, an automated warehouse might reduce the labor required for sorting, packing, and labeling goods.

Which Warehouse Design Works Best with Your Requirements?

Beyond general types of warehouses, companies tend to follow several warehouse designs or layout flows. These include:

U-shaped warehouses.

These warehouse designs are U-shaped, as their name implies. It’s the most common warehouse design because it lends itself to intuitive organization. Many companies use U-shaped warehouses, putting shipping and receiving opposite each other in parallel buildings. These buildings are connected with convenient storage in the middle. This warehouse design has some significant perks. For example, the entrance and the exit of U-shaped warehouses are on the same side of the building. Separating the incoming and outgoing goods maximizes space use, reducing collisions and bottlenecks.

I-shaped warehouses.

With an I-shaped design, the warehouse flow is simple. There’s a clear input and output. Goods or materials flow in one direction through the building. Often, larger companies with many products to move will opt for I-shaped warehouses, or even a series of them. I-shaped warehouses are well-suited for assembly-line use.

L-shaped warehouses.

This uncommon type of warehouse flow isn’t often a choice. Instead, companies use this warehouse design for one simple reason: They have an L-shaped building. There are some perks to this shape. For example, having outbound and inbound docks on different sides of the building can help mitigate traffic collisions and congestion.

What should I consider when planning out a new modern warehouse design?

When choosing a warehouse layout, you can think carefully about how you want to use it.

Take the following factors into consideration when planning out your warehouse:

  1. How much static storage and inventory room you’re going to need. For example, a U-shaped warehouse flow may have more built-in storage space than an I-shaped warehouse.
  2. Where your inbound and outbound docks need to be. If you’re working within existing constraints, you may have fewer choices. You may already have vehicle access areas or loading equipment set up in specific places. These will both influence new warehouse design.
  3. Space for employee rest areas. You’ll need to plan a break area, restrooms, benches, and storage for warehouse staffers to place their things. Even if the main office or staff rooms are housed in another building, a warehouse environment should have some space designated for employee use.
  4. The environment your product requires. A relatively simple structure may suffice if your product doesn’t need a controlled environment. If not, you may need to invest in a space with the required features.

Design Your Warehouse Well with the Support of GA-Based Contractors

Building a warehouse can be far from simple. Having experts on your side can make all the difference. At Peak Steel Contractors, we’ll think through your goals, recommend specific warehouse designs, and help you manage your steel design from the ground up.

Call us, and we’ll put together a modern warehouse design plan specifically for you. Check out our past projects and contact us for more information.