Designing an On-Demand Warehouse

An on-demand warehouse provides space to companies who do not want or need a full-sized warehouse of their own. With the steep increase in e-commerce sales, the need for short-term, immediate warehouse space has risen in recent years. From choosing the best pallet racking to optimizing your processing speed, designing an on-demand warehouse requires careful consideration from start to finish.

Variety of storage options

The type of storage you require will depend on the clients who use your service. Optimizing your storage is important to make the best use of your space.

The standard unit to rent at an on-demand warehouse is a pallet. However, if your clients ship much smaller products, you may want to provide units of smaller industrial shelving.

If you plan to offer your services to companies selling perishable items, you will need wire shelving, as well as temperature-controlled rooms. Make sure you have all these elements in place before advertising your on-demand service.

Standard pallet allocations

Many on-demand warehouse companies set a minimum for their pallet rentals. For example, the minimum you offer might be 50 pallets. Your customers can then rent 50, 100, 150, and so on. Some companies may set a minimum as high as several hundred pallets; others might set it at one.

Use the standard allocation when setting up your pallet racks, and make sure to measure the racks for your space. The racks should hold multiples of your minimum number of pallets. This helps prevent the expense of wasted pallet space.

WMS and signage

While a Warehouse Management System is a requirement for any modern warehouse, it is of particular importance for an on-demand warehouse. You must be able to track inventories from each separate client, accounting for every item within the warehouse.

In terms of effective design, this means clear separation and signage. Once you have divided the warehouse into zones and aisles, make sure the directing signs are easily visible. As well as ensuring better inventory management, this will allow employees to move quickly when picking from multiple locations.

First in, first out

On-demand warehousing needs to prioritize speed and flow as much as possible. Your clients are using your space for high-demand items, and your throughput must be as high as possible. The first-in, first-out strategy is important.

You can allow for this in your design by installing features such as carton flow racks. These allow you to load from one end and pick from another. The gravity-fed design rolls a new carton into the empty front space.

Prioritize popular items

Often, on-demand warehousing will be used for very popular products, perhaps those that see a seasonal sales spike. Even so, there may be some products that are more popular than others.

If possible, ascertain which of your clients’ products are likely to see the most movement. This can help you determine optimal slotting for each client’s units.

When allocating positions within the warehouse, bear in mind the relative popularity of your clients. If you know a client’s stock will have a high flow rate, you can place their units near to the docking area.

Extended staging and packing

If you are dealing with multiple client orders at once, it is important to take care when fulfilling the orders. Make sure there is adequate space for your staging or packing area. Different containers or bags should be easy to access and clearly labelled so that employees can reach them quickly.

Returns

On-demand warehousing is particularly popular with companies that operate exclusively through e-commerce. This means that if a customer wishes to return something, there is no store address. Make sure to set up a system for receiving and handling returns on behalf of your clients if necessary.

Docks

In the fast-paced environment of an on-demand warehouse, your docks have the potential to become crowded. Your clients will require deliveries to be made on their schedules, and you may need to deal with multiple deliveries at once.

Make sure your receiving and shipping bays have plenty of room. It is tempting to use less space for these, especially if you want additional floor space for pallet racking or shelving. However, the confusion that this can cause is not worth it.

Contact us

Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc can help you design your on-demand warehouse space, so it is fully optimized and meets the needs of your customers. We can also install your storage equipment, ensuring it meets all OSHA requirements and fire codes, so you can focus on running your business. Please call 800-589-7225 (RACK) or complete our online contact form to speak with a member of our team.

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