Store layout

The goal of store layout design is to optimize your store‘s functions and achieve maximum efficiency and space utilization.
A store is typically divided into areas to support your everyday processes. These areas include: reserve storage, forward pick, cross docking, shipping, receiving, assembly/special handling lines, and quality/inspection area.

Designing a new facility starts with analyzing your current and projected data on the activities in each of these areas, including the receiving, shipping and inventory levels. This data should be supported by other considerations such as process flows, material handling equipment, type and styles of racking equipment, special handling requirements, and personnel. When considering the layout and operation of any store, there are fundamental principles that embody a general philosophy of good practice. The principles are:

1) Using the most suitable unit load
2) Making the best use of space
3) Minimizing movement
4) Controlling movement and location
5) Providing safe, secure and environmentally sound conditions
6) Maintaining at minimum overall operating cost

Successful store layouts must adhere to the principles, regardless of material being stored to:

  • maximize the use of space
  • maximize the use of equipment
  • maximize the use of labor
  • maximize accessibility to all items
  • and maximize protection of all items

Although the objectives of store layout and operation are easily recognized, store layout problems are often complicated by large varieties of products needing storage, varying areas of required storage space and drastic fluctuations in product demand. Therefore, an effective layout design of the store is required to address these problems and accomplish the objectives.

Factors to consider when planning layout:

  • A section adjacent to the store room should be reserved for the receipt of material and or their inspection before storage.
  • Store layout should be planned, such that it provides easy receipt, storage and issuance of material, preferably near to the point of use.
  • Store room layout should minimize handling and transportation of materials.
  • An ideal store room layout makes optimum utilization of the floor space and height.
  • The shelves, racks, bins etc. should be situated in clearly defined lanes, so that the items are quickly stored and located for physical counting and issuing.
  • The main lanes or aisles should usually be between 1.5 and 3 meters wide depending upon the type of material and the amount of traffic involved.
  • Storage spaces should be clearly marked to ensure easy and quick identification.
  • Obstructions such as partitions, poles, staircases should be as far as possible eliminated or reduced.
  • The storage space must be adequately protected against waste, damage, deterioration and pilferage.
  • A place for storing the material should be decided depending on the material characteristics.
  • Store layout that allows for efficient operations, it makes use of modern material handling equipment such as forklift, truck, conveyers etc.
  • Store lay out should be such that the store keeper is not compelled to put the newly arrived material on the top of the old. As a roll, all the old stock be concerned first before using the new one.
  • Due space (20-25%) must be left in each section of store room to allow for expansion.
  • The stores racking should not prevent the normal movement of air and temperature. The height of the rooms should be such as to give a reasonable air space.
  • In vertical stacking, the load should not touch the ceiling; otherwise it becomes a hindrance to firefighting.
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