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How to design a flexible Distribution Center

A distribution center for a set of products is a warehouse or other specialized building, often with refrigeration or air conditioning, which is stocked with products to be redistributed to retailers, to wholesalers, or directly to consumers.

Below are the procedure to design a flexible warehouse-

Forecast

  • Volume growth
  • SKU proliferation
  • Replenishment strategies
  • Evaluate areas where bottlenecks occur, so that you can eliminate them in future

Determine facility size

Using forecasting and any historical data available determine space required for:

  • Storage & racking zones
  • Bulk storage zones
  • Staging zones (Inbound & Outbound)
  • Container area
  • Quarantine zones : Area required for knowing the issue
  • Space for automation zone

For determining the size consider both present and future needs. Design the facility as per requirement. Do not over-design by thinking that you may need it later.

Dock door planning

Consider the potential for cross docking in the future as it increases in popularity with e-commerce growth. Additional dock doors will simplify adding this services as needed.

Technology

As the foundation of your business, your technology must be able to grow with you. Select a Warehouse Management Solution (WMS) that:

  • Allows you easily add/remove users
  • Is built in functional add-on modules
  • Easily integrates with software & hardware

As the nature of DC operations evolves with omni-channel retailing and e-commerce growth, warehouse operators must evaluate their current use of space and technology to correct inefficiencies.

Forecasting future activity and evaluating past KPIs will help your design team to create a more flexible DC that can adapt to changing needs

See more: Different types of warehouses
Warehouse layout design
WMS : Warehouse Management Software

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