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Somewhere between the strategic decisions regarding its character and a warehouse’s actual start-up, there’s a whole world of operational decisions that have to be made. Entirely too many warehouses are built without that operational input.

While historically a warehouse has been a large box used to store surplus inventory for long periods of time, tomorrow’s warehouse facilities are becoming “distribution activity hubs” that add value by processing goods, not storing them.

Such value-added services are, by definition, very labor-intensive. This change speaks volumes for the need to focus attention on productivity and operational efficiency.

While a warehouse in fact is a large box, the input of experienced operational people, like managers, supervisors and operations managers, can drastically improve the productivity and efficiency of the material handling as well as the use of storage space. Architectural design, construction techniques and warehouse operational know-how are easily compatible if they work together through the initial planning stages.

Here is a checklist of operational issues that must be considered when making your plans:


  • Loading Dock Requirements
  • Location and ventilation for battery charging areas
  • Building support columns configured for optimal aisle layout
  • Adequate doors to handle volume
  • Offices and break area locations
  • Adequate lighting throughout the facility
  • Obstacles that impede the smooth flow of traffic
  • Minimal travel distances from receiving docks to storage areas and shipping docks
  • Sprinkler requirements, which include high pressure pumps, reservoirs, in rack sprinklers, high density systems
  • Aerosol and or explosion proof rooms
  • Adequate foundation drainage
  • Knockout expansion walls
  • Roof design that minimizes maintenance
  • Building insulation
  • Heat rotation systems
  • Heavy duty landing wheel pads
  • Computer station hook up locations
  • Empty pallet storage areas
  • Waste disposal staging locations
  • Security issues, which include a parking area that is not contiguous to building

Considerations that will accommodate future plans for expansion, automation, or a change in product offerings