Automated systems are effective at reducing workers needed in cold storage areas.
Which Layout Is Right For Your Facility?
So you’re ready to automate your warehouse facility. The problem now is that there are so many different types of systems and rack configurations available. Different storage layouts are available, and each has its own merits.
Dan Labell, president of Westfalia Technologies, based in York, PA, offers the following suggestions:
Single-deep storage for companies with a large number of items or SKUs that require instant accessibility to every unit load.
Double-deep storage for companies that have a larger-than-average number of items or SKUs and greater variations in inventory levels per SKU.
Multiple-deep storage (from 2 to 12 deep) when inventory levels per SKU are high (greater than 10 pallet loads).
Flow-through storage (for storage and retrieval of unit loads by inserting them into one side of a powered or gravity-based flow system and retrieving them on the opposite end) for companies with a high throughput coupled with a strict adherence to the first-in, first-out (FIFO) principle.
“If it is absolutely necessary to have direct access to each individual load, then a single-deep storage system can be considered,” says Labell.
“If direct access to pallets is not absolutely necessary, it may be worth considering a high-density warehouse,” he says.
“This is generally the case if there are several pallet loads of the same SKU being stored in one warehouse. Depending on the sizes of the batches produced, the storage aisles are individually dimensioned and the unit loads are stored one behind the other.
“The plus side in single-deep storage lies in its high level of flexibility, while the advantages to high-density are in their utilization factor, which positively influences investment levels in both construction and warehouse technology,” he says.—L.K