Warehouse Opening Guide: Step-by-Step Support for eCommerce and Fulfillment

2020 set a unique trend in the warehouse industry: a surge of warehouse openings. With the likes of Amazon having more than 110 active warehouses in the US—75 of them opening last year alone—to say that warehouse demand is on the rise is an understatement. It’s crucial to understand the essential elements that go into a warehouse opening to modernize and improve your operations. Here are the key items to prioritize when opening a warehouse, fulfillment center, or DC.

Ask the Right Questions

The backend research that goes into your warehouse considerations is essential for your overall success. Here are some questions to keep in mind when it comes to determine the needs of your new warehouse opening:

What are your storage requirements?

Every warehouse requires a different layout; the level of activity expected in the facility will influence everything from shelving selection and automation solutions to the number of bay doors. Whether you’re a low or high-velocity warehouse, ensure the infrastructure you put in place will support your goals.

Where can you automate?

With a new warehouse opening, you’ll have the flexibility to design and structure the warehouse to take advantage of new technologies. This should include leveraging material handling and automation technology as much as possible. Carefully consider the details of a wireless LAN infrastructure, conveyors, robotic picking systems, and more. Take advantage of advancements in technology including rugged handheld computers and scanners, mobile printing and more to make sure you are operating at maximum efficiency.

How can you optimize?

While automation can help optimize operations, it’s all for naught if your employees waste time walking the length of the new warehouse searching for inventory. Optimize the picking process by putting your fastest moving items in the closest shipping locations, and continually monitor item velocity.

Warehouse Design Checklist

The layout and overall design of your warehouse will weigh heavily on the reasoning for your warehouse opening. How you set up your layout will be directly reflected in your productivity, employee performance, inventory, safety, and more. Here is a checklist to help you with your warehouse design:
  • Warehouse Strategy: What are the objectives of your warehouse and how will you execute them?
  • Operational Data: How can you maximize your receiving, inventory, and production with real-time data you’ve collected?
  • Building Requirements: What do you need from your warehouse space? Anything your landlord would disapprove of?
  • Equipment Needs: Any storage and warehouse equipment “must-haves” for your warehouse layout?
  • Warehouse Measurements: Be careful to measure your warehouse dimensions exactly, including ceiling clear height
  • Identify Obstructions: Make note of building columns, sprinkler systems, heaters, fans, offices, and more.

Invest in the Best Solutions

Exemplary customer support results in greater ROI and outstanding value for your business. It’s important to partner with a provider who has in-depth, industry knowledge, and can provide all the support, resources, and services you need to be successful. Here are some of the warehouse management needs to consider to become more competitive in the marketplace:
  • Receiving
  • Put-away
  • Replenishment
  • Stocking
  • Inventory
  • Yard operations
  • Piece, case, and pallet picking
  • Basic, batch, zone, and wave picking
  • Flow through
  • Cross dock
  • Pack/audit
  • Loading

Plan and Test Workflow

Making sure your traffic flow is agile and simple is paramount for a successful warehouse opening plan. Here are somethings to consider when planning the workflow of your location:
  • Aisle Layout: Consider the mobile equipment necessary like pallet jacks, forklifts, carts that will need to maneuver within your space.
  • Traffic Flow: Depending on aisle layout, this may affect the flow of equipment and employees working in the space. Are there any one-way aisles? Are there specific zones for employees to keep everything moving seamlessly?
  • Warehouse Storage: Don’t overlook where to store your fulfillment center, warehouse or DC solutions. From rolling ladders to carts and forklifts—you need adequate space for all internal needs plus the space for your incoming inventory.
Choosing the best solutions and services provider can make all the difference to make the process efficient and simplified. Once you have your configuration set up for your warehouse opening, test out the process with your team. This will help work out any bottlenecks within the day-to-day operations. It’s best to catch these in advance, so you can make tweaks to streamline your worker’s day. Don’t forget to check that all safety requirements are up to OSHA standards. You don’t want to bring in millions of products without knowing your warehouse meets all safety measures.

Warehouse Opening Success Begins with Peak

Unlike other segments of the economy, you can expect record-breaking demand for warehouse, DC, and fulfillment center openings. For the most successful warehouse opening, it’s essential to consider the research, questions, and action steps to take for your enterprise. When you collaborate with an industry-leader in the warehouse space, this makes the process easier.

Peak Technologies understands your business processes in the supply chain, mobile workforce, and how they interrelate. We work with you to understand and define your needs and then develop a tailored solution to present the greatest return on investment. Our expert team members can propose warehouse management solutions that promote a competitive advantage for your enterprise in the market. Contact us today to learn how we can support your upcoming warehouse opening.

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Peak Technologies

The last few months have been incredibly exciting for our organization.  In early April, we changed ownership to Sole Source Capital, an experienced private equity company focused on the industrial services market and committed to our growth. With Sole Source’s support, we have added tremendous capabilities, resources, and industry expertise to the Peak portfolio through the acquisition of three companies in the last 60 days. 

Along with these exciting developments comes a renewed sense of commitment and purpose. To celebrate this exciting new chapter, we wanted to use this opportunity to reflect on our past, while looking forward to the future.  We are extremely pleased to announce that we have changed our company name to Peak Technologies, Inc. 

For many of our long-time customers, this is a return to the company name that had been in place since our founding in 1981.  When we merged with Ryzex in 2011, we combined our names to symbolize the union of two industry leaders.  But over the last few years, we have become ONE Peak, added additional capabilities, battled through a pandemic together, and feel that the time is now to re-brand the company as we look forward to the future. 

For additional information on the company name change, click here.