What Goes Into a Warehouse Design? WERC Webinar Recap

With the reality of current events, many organizations are finding themselves deciding to relocate, improve upon, or completely re-design warehouse spaces in order to meet changing business conditions.  Some businesses are looking to eliminate waste as sales volume reduces, while at the same time retaining current staff. While others are seeing exponential growth and are looking to increase volume, without adding headcount, to improve margins.

Sometimes you’ve got to go "new." That is what Witchita-based BG Products determined when management recognized that the existing operation could not accommodate aggressive future growth projections. To address their multiple material flow and space issues, the company opted to build a new DC based on lean design principles.

In the webinar "Applying Lean Principles to a New DC Design" (in partnership with the Warehouse Education and Research Council - WERC), LeanCor's Brent Cable and Derek Browning explored how the LeanCor Consulting team developed BG Products’ new greenfield facility.  

Whether you're relocating or redesigning your existing warehouse, LeanCor's three-step warehouse design approach is proven to prepare your business for whatever comes its way.

1. Warehouse Assessment

It all starts with true understanding of the current state. LeanCor takes an operational approach because we are operators ourselves. Using the principles, we map and deep-dive into the processes with the teams who actually do that work in order to gain a true understanding of gaps and areas for improvement. These processes can include: manufacturing transfer, receiving, inspection, put-away, storage, inventory control, order processing, packing, staging, and shipping functions.


2. Warehouse Design

After visualizing and understanding your current state, we compare the latest technological options, identifying the right usage of conventional, mechanized, and automated applications -- without bias. We often see cases where fancy solutions have been implemented against current-state inefficiencies in order to justify an ROI. In our projects, a future-state base case must be established to measure against alternative scenarios. \

From there, we create capital expenditure plans and operational budgets that will minimize your investment while reducing operational costs. Finally, we define detailed design inputs for future provider RFPs and a step-by-step road map to guide your implementation. 

A final, detailed warehouse design can be a complicated mix of RFP’s, negotiations, and other details. It is critical not to build the design in a silo. Having all suppliers working together and aligned from the beginning will improve your overall timeline. It will also help eliminate mistakes early before launching. 

3. Warehouse Deployment

The detailed design is just the beginning. After this is in place, building plans for things like launching, moving, training, management, and slotting is critical. For example, where do parts need to be slotted in relation to where they're coming from and going? Should high-moving parts be slotted near the doors, but placed in the back of the warehouse when they rarely move?

“These improvements will yield significant cost and performance results for BG,” said Derek Browning, consulting director at LeanCor.

“Working with LeanCor for several years has been outstanding, said Jeremy Henry, director of operations at BG Products.

“Before this, our company had some bad experiences implementing lean concepts and principles. We have not only grown to value our partnership with LeanCor, but members of my team consider them friends.”

If your warehouse or distribution center (DC) is experiencing constraints, you're not alone. Knowing how to effectively utilize your existing space (or open a new one) to satisfy business requirements is key in today's fiercely competitive market. 

If you need help, explore LeanCor's warehouse design and deployment solutions and contact us to begin your assessment. 


Posted by Brent Cable

blog author

Supply chain consultant with an in-depth knowledge of lean concepts. Results-driven leader experienced in designing and improving warehouse processes and challenges.

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