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Whether you’re renovating your current distribution center or opening a new one, proper design and layout for your distribution center is crucial. Many companies and retailers have run into major financial troubles due to issues stemming from poor distribution center design and management, and while this might be a frightening prospect you can prevent these issues with careful planning and management.


Use Data-Driven Design: While setting up a functional distribution center might sound like an intuitive practice, this can often lead to experiencing the same issues as other, older designs. If you can put together a virtual or visual model of the proposed design, you can better work out potential problems and bottlenecks before they crop up after the distribution center is built, when it may be too late to fix the problems.


Provide Enough Space And Equipment: Investment in a warehouse can be an expensive prospect, so for many companies the temptation to acquire a smaller facility or buy less equipment can be strong. This can lead to much bigger problems down the line, and problems that may very likely outweigh the short-term benefits of saving money. A facility that’s too small or too cramped can cause problems in every step of the distribution process, from receiving to item picking to outbound shipping. In a similar vein, cutting corners on equipment costs can also reduce worker efficiency and cost you more money and sales after the fact. Make sure your warehouse has enough room for work to get done, and try to provide enough wire shelving and industrial storage solutions to help your workers stay productive.


Use All The Space: Speaking of space, it’s important to remember how much space you have and use it to its fullest. A lot of distribution centers don’t use the entire ‘cube’ and forget to make the most of their vertical space. If you bring in any taller shelves, pallet racking, or other large-scale storage solutions, remember you can stack vertically as well as horizontally to use all of your available space as effectively as possible.


Be Realistic: Just as with any project, the design and construction of a new distribution center can bring with it a lot of problems and delays. When setting a timetable and budget for the construction, factor in some leeway to account for budget issues, construction delays, and so on. This goes for vendors, too – many vendors will set an unrealistic timetable to make sure they can get the contract, but this can cause scheduling and production issues later on if the project encounters delays. If something arises causing your distribution center to have to push back its opening date, just remember this: late is always better than wrong.


It can be a big headache trying to get a new distribution center open and functioning on time, but with careful planning and a little patience you can make up for any delays or loss in time.

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