Facility Layout & Design

Many organizations approach a crossroad in their company's history as it pertains to its distribution operations. As business continues to grow, the company will increasingly be closing in on the capacity limits of its existing distribution center. At some point in the future, the economic benefits of expanding & redesigning the distribution center will be substantial enough to justify doing so. Due to capacity constraints, freeing up additional work space is a priority. Companies in this scenario look for answers to a number of important questions:
  1. What are the warehouse layout and materials handling options that exist for my current distribution center (with expansion) and what lifespan does each option provide? What are the capital expenditure requirements for each option?
  2. Given that there is still some storage capacity available within the facility, what options exist to optimize the efficiency and storage capacity utilization of the existing distribution center?
    • For example, if the capacity of the facility is increased through higher density racking (e.g. VNA racking with narrow-aisle vehicles) then how many SKUs warrant this type of storage? What should the rack and aisle layout be for the reset facility and what picking strategies should be considered?
  3. Is there any additional space that can best be utilized within the overall distribution operation?
  4. With e-commerce business growing, how can the e-commerce operation be incorporated as part of any facility redesign?
  5. Should we consider the use of automated material handling equipment within the current & future distribution center?
  6. Would introducing the concept of a mezzanine increase capacity, and is it doable?
You need a qualified business partner to help your company work through these questions. 4SIGHT offers engineering services to assist clients with their warehouse opportunities for improvement. 4SIGHT offers a full supply chain strategy service that incorporates distribution center operations, engineering, best practice, and facility layout assessment.

4SIGHT’s deploys a two-phased approach to these types of studies:

Phase 1: Determine the optimal master facility plan for a facility redesign of the current distribution center and identify the lifespan of this facility. Get a feel for the general layouts, general diagrams and guidelines so that operations can get approval for Phase 2. The options in Phase 1 can include:

  • Do Nothing option
  • Mezzanine option
  • Facility expansion option
  • Facility redesign (all encompassing)
  • Evaluate moving the existing facility to another building within a reasonably close radius to be able to use current manpower. Assess tavailable space, along with rent and other costs.

Phase 2: Detailed plans for implementation, vendor evaluations, vendor selections, costs, implementation schedules, etc.

Practices