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For warehouses of any size, creating the right locations is crucial.

By ‘locations’, we don’t just mean things like “the break room.” In the context of warehouse design, ‘locations’ are the parts of your warehouse layout along a set picking path, including warehouse shelves and storage solutions that store inventory and affect how your staff picks items to be sent out.

While certain locations may be more obvious than others, designating picking locations requires a degree of foresight and planning to make sure the locations are set up in a way that makes sense to your entire staff and helps them pick orders more easily.


Creating locations combines the ability to both plot an effective path through the warehouse as well as mapping out each location to make sure they can be hit quickly and orderly.

The first step is to figure out exactly what your locations are supposed to be, and where they’ll be located before you start trying to code them. Many locations can include multiple zones or segments, which can affect your numbering system and segmenting down the road and need to be taken into account when planning your locations. These zones can include:


  • Sections: A ‘section’ generally refers to a broader section of the warehouse, such as clearance goods, bulk storage, freezers/walk-in coolers, and the like. While sections aren’t specific enough to serve as an entire location, they can help with planning and creating number codes down the line.
  • Racks: Specific racks, or the space between racks, can form part of a location, especially if they’re in high-traffic areas. Mark the space between your pallet racks, cantilever racks, or gravity flow racks to give each rack a specific identity within their given area.
  • Individual shelves: On warehouse shelves, each individual shelf should be factored into the location plan to help make item tracking that much easier. Start at 1 and number them ascending from the floor to help make tracking shelves easier.
  • Position: In cases where the shelves are jam-packed with items, numbering each position may help to find more specific items. Go from left to right, numbering each position from 1 to 9 as needed (avoiding double-digit numbers).


From there you’ll want to create a naming system for each location. These names should work from the top-down; start by naming each broad zone (such as “shipping & receiving”, “clearance goods”, “retail”) and assigning the location numbers as needed. Location numbers should be numeric only, avoiding letters as they can cause confusion or mis-reading in cases where numbers and letters may look too much alike.

When using letters for zone names, everything should flow in an orderly alphabetical fashion. This will help your workers find each zone more effectively and prevent confusion.


Otherwise, the only thing you need to do now is to get to work. Map out your warehouse, figure out where you need to put your picking locations and zones, and start breaking it down from there.

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