Introduction to Warehouse Design and Layout

warehouse design and layout

A warehouse is the core of the logistics and supply chain. They receive materials, store products, and fulfil orders. Warehouse design and internal and external layout are super important. They affect how well businesses work and succeed. In this article, we’ll talk about warehouse design and different layouts. We’ll also give you some helpful tips to make your warehouse work better.

Efficient warehouse design and layout are pivotal for a variety of reasons. Warehouse design isn’t about setting up shelves and racks. It’s about organizing space, processes, and resources for a smooth flow of materials and products. Every layout has its benefits and is best for certain business needs. We’ll help you choose the right one for your operation. 

After reading this article, you’ll know how to set up your warehouse for success.


Types of Warehouse Design and Layout

When planning a warehouse, you can choose from different layouts, each with benefits for specific tasks. Choosing the right warehouse design is essential for maximising your storage space and improving efficiency. Let’s delve deeper into the various types of warehouse layout designs:

U-Shaped Design


u shaped design warehouse

(Source: Bigrentz)


The U-shaped warehouse design looks like a U or horseshoe inside the building. This layout is great for businesses that want materials to move. Some key features of U-shaped designs include:

  • Efficient Flow: The U-shaped layout makes it shorter for materials to move around, which reduces congestion and traffic jams in the warehouse. This is especially valuable for operations with high volumes of goods moving in and out.
  • Streamlined Processes: With a U-shaped layout, you make a clear path for goods, making picking, packing, and shipping easier and more efficient. This design promotes a logical sequence of operations.
  • Optimized Space: The design allows for efficient use of available space. The central area within the U can be used for various purposes, such as staging and sorting, making the most of the square footage.

I-Shaped Design


i shaped design warehouse

(Source: Bigrentz)


In contrast to the U-shaped layout, the I-shaped warehouse design is linear, featuring a single corridor with storage on either side. This layout best suits businesses that focus on simplicity and straightforward navigation. Key aspects of I-shaped layouts include:

  • Straightforward Layout: The I-shaped design works well for long and narrow warehouses. It’s also good when a single corridor is enough for operations. It simplifies navigation and is easy to understand for both staff and visitors.
  • Clear Aisles: Ensure the aisle space is well-organized and easy to access, with storage on both sides of the central corridor. Proper racking and shelving systems are key to maximizing the limited space.
  • Efficient Flow: An I-shaped layout promotes a linear flow of goods, making it suitable for businesses with continuous and consistent inventory movement.

L-Shaped Design


l shaped design warehouse

(Source: Bigrentz)


The L-shaped efficient warehouse layout design consists of two adjacent corridors intersecting at a right angle, forming an L shape within the facility. This layout is versatile and offers good visibility and accessibility. Some characteristics of L-shaped layouts include:

  • Versatility: L-shaped designs are adaptable to various building shapes and sizes. This versatility makes them popular for larger warehouses with diverse storage needs.
  • Visibility: The right-angle intersection of the corridors provides excellent visibility, which can help manage inventory, locate items, and ensure safety in the warehouse.
  • Efficient Zoning: The L-shaped layout allows for effective zoning, which means you can dedicate specific areas to different functions like storage, packing, and order picking. This separation can improve the flow and organization of operations.


Five Tips for Effective Warehouse Design and Layout


effective warehouse design and layout


Space Out the Loading and Unloading Area

Efficiently managing the loading and unloading area is vital for your warehouse’s flow of materials. Here are some warehouse layout considerations:

  • Location Matters: Place the loading and unloading zones near the shipping and receiving doors. This minimizes the distance goods need to travel and reduces the chances of congestion.
  • Well-defined zones: Mark loading and unloading areas with floor markings and signage. Choose specific areas for different types of shipments (inbound, outbound, etc.), and ensure employees are aware of these zones.
  • Efficient Handling Equipment: Invest in appropriate material handling equipment such as forklifts, pallet jacks, pallet racks, and conveyors to hurry the movement of goods. Maintain and service this equipment to prevent breakdowns and delays.
  • Safety Measures: Put in place safety measures, including safety barriers, proper lighting, and training for employees working in these areas. Safety is paramount, and a safe working environment prevents accidents and ensures a smoother workflow.

Separate the Reception Area

The reception area is where incoming shipments are processed. Keeping it separate from the main storage and picking zones is essential for efficient warehouse operations:

  • Incoming Inspection: Ensure a dedicated space for inspecting and verifying incoming goods. This area should be equipped with tools and technology for checking the quality and quantity of received items.
  • Temporary Storage: If there are delays in processing incoming goods, have a designated temporary storage area. This prevents incoming shipments from blocking the path of outbound shipments and maintains a smooth workflow.
  • Paperwork and Documentation: Set up a workstation for paperwork and documentation. Having a specific area for this task helps in keeping records organized and prevents paperwork from cluttering other workstations.

Organize the Storage Areas

An organized storage area is essential for maximizing sufficient space and ensuring easy product access. Here’s how to achieve this:

  • Efficient Racking Systems: Invest in the right type of racking systems that optimize vertical space and allow for efficient use of cubic storage. Consider adjustable racks that can adapt to your evolving storage capacity needs.
  • Aisle Space: Maintain clear, wide aisles for easy navigation. Adequate ample space is essential for the safe movement of employees and equipment and quick product access.
  • Product Grouping: Group similar products to create zones for specific product categories. This not only streamlines the picking process but also helps in inventory management and stock rotation.
  • Inventory Management Systems: Implement an advanced warehouse management system to track stock levels, manage replenishments, and optimize storage and space utilization. Real-time data and analytics can help in making informed decisions about storage allocation.

Create a Separate Picking Area

Efficient order picking is crucial for timely and accurate order fulfilment. Here’s how to create an effective picking area:

  • Logical Shelving and Racks: Arrange shelves and racks logically, placing frequently picked items at easily accessible heights. Use bins, totes, or carton flow systems to facilitate efficient picking.
  • Pick Paths: Designate clear pick paths and use signage to guide pickers. Minimize the distance and steps involved in picking items, and organize the layout to reduce the chances of congestion or bottlenecks.
  • Technology Integration: Consider implementing barcode scanners or RFID systems for accurate and efficient picking. These technologies reduce errors and improve order accuracy.
  • Batch Picking: If applicable, use batch-picking strategies to consolidate orders and reduce the number of trips pickers must make through the warehouse. This improves productivity and reduces labour costs.

Adjust the Shipping and Packing Area

The shipping and packing area is where the final stages of order processing occur. To make this area more efficient:

  • Optimize Packing Stations: Create well-organized packing stations with all the necessary materials and equipment. Ensure that packing stations are ergonomically designed to reduce packing times and prevent errors.
  • Quality Control: Implement quality control measures in the packing area to catch discrepancies or errors before products are shipped to customers. This includes checking items for accuracy, condition, and proper packaging.
  • Shipping Schedule: Establish a regular shipping schedule to maintain a predictable workflow. Coordination with carriers or transport services is essential to ensure timely pickups and deliveries.
  • Packaging Materials: Maintain a stock of various packaging materials, including boxes, padding, and labels. Having a well-stocked inventory of these materials prevents last-minute delays due to shortages.



Warehouse design and layout are fundamental to optimizing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. By choosing the right design type for your rack system warehouse and following these five tips, you can create an organized and efficient warehouse space that will contribute to the success of your business. Get in touch with EMTS Group today, and let’s begin the exciting journey of transforming your warehouse into a high-performing space that maximizes efficiency and productivity. Remember that the specific design and layout should align with your unique business needs and goals, so always tailor your warehouse setup.

How to Increase Warehouse Storage Capacity

increase warehouse storage

In the fast-paced realm of business and logistics, the difference between thriving and surviving often boils down to one critical factor: space. A warehouse is the heart of your operations, and its capacity to accommodate inventory growth can either propel your business to new heights or hold it back.

Picture this: a warehouse that not only stores your products but does so efficiently, effortlessly, and cost-effectively. Imagine having the space to expand your product lines, scale your operations, and meet the ever-growing demands of your customers.

In this article, we’re here to show you why expanding your warehouse storage capacity is crucial and convince you that it’s not just an option – it’s a necessity. We’ll take you on a journey through the art of space optimization, revealing how strategic storage solutions can help you achieve new heights of efficiency and profitability.

If you’re eager to witness the transformation of your storage space into a powerful asset, stay with us. We’re about to unveil a world of possibilities where your warehouse isn’t just a storage facility; it’s the cornerstone of your competitive advantage. Get ready to embark on a journey towards unlocking the full potential of your warehouse and redefining the way you do business.


7 Tips To Maximize Warehouse Space Utilization

Running out of warehouse storage space is a common challenge for businesses as they grow and evolve. Fortunately, several effective strategies exist to increase your warehouse’s storage capacity. 

warehouse management system

1. Implement Warehouse Management Systems

Directed put-away, facilitated by a warehouse management system, optimizes warehouse space. Instead of placing pallets wherever convenient, directed put-away guides pallets to the most suitable locations, making the most of available space.

vertical space

2. Utilize Vertical Space

Extending your racks vertically is often the easiest and most immediate way to create additional warehouse storage space. In most modern buildings with ESFR (Early Suppression Fast Response) fire suppression systems, you can store inventory within 18 inches of the ceiling. However, ensuring that your rack uprights and base plates are appropriately sized is essential. Consulting with a structural engineer and a Professional Engineer (PE) can help confirm the viability of rack extensions.

narrow aisle

3. Narrow Aisle Layout

Reducing aisle width in the racking area can save substantial space. Wide aisles typically range from 10 to 12 feet, but narrowing them to five to eight feet can save up to 20% of your warehouse’s area. However, this strategy requires carefully evaluating your lift equipment’s compatibility with narrower aisles and may involve additional expenses, such as wire guidance for navigation.

mezzanine floor

4. Install Mezzanine Floors

Installing a mezzanine above floor-level processes, such as shipping or receiving areas, can effectively double your floor space. While mezzanines offer significant benefits, ensuring that your floor loading capacity can support them is crucial. Additionally, consider the potential presence of columns and base plates that may impact processes below the mezzanine.

double deep storage medium

5. Change Storage Medium

Switching to higher-density storage racking for warehouses can increase storage capacity, such as double-deep racking systems, push-back racks, or drive-in storage racks. These options are excellent for adding storage but may affect the accessibility of first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory.

storage packaging

6. Change Packaging

Review your packaging and storage media to minimize the space each item occupies. Smaller packaging or platform solutions can save space, while more significant mediums may be more space-efficient for full-pallet quantities.

automation for warehouse

7. Consider Automation

While expensive to implement, automation technologies can significantly optimize warehouse storage capacity. Automated systems, such as mechanical picking systems, require less space for people and forklifts to move around. This enables warehouses to place storage solutions closer, increasing storage capacity and efficiency.


Why is it Crucial to Optimize Your Warehouse Space?

Efficiently managing your warehouse space isn’t just a matter of convenience; it’s a strategic move that can significantly impact your bottom line. Now, let’s delve deeper into the compelling reasons and solid evidence that emphasize the importance of optimizing your warehouse space.

Reduce Costs

Warehouse space comes at a premium and every square foot matters. By using your space efficiently, you can trim down substantial costs associated with rent, utilities, and other overhead expenses. This financial relief can be reinvested into other critical aspects of your business, helping it thrive and grow.

Improve Efficiency and Productivity

An organized and efficient warehouse doesn’t just save you money; it also boosts your workforce’s efficiency and productivity. When your employees spend less time searching for products and more time fulfilling orders, you’ll see a noticeable uptick in output. Reduced labour costs and faster order fulfilment can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Enhance Inventory Accuracy

Proper warehouse optimization goes hand in hand with improved inventory accuracy. With a well-defined system for storing and tracking inventory, you’ll minimize the chances of stockouts or overstocking. This prevents customer frustration and reduces the costs associated with managing inventory. Improved inventory accuracy can increase sales and profits by lowering stockouts and overstocking and ensuring that customers receive the correct products in the right quantities. To illustrate the point, consider a study by the American Society of Transportation and Logistics, which found that warehouses optimized for space efficiency experienced a staggering 90% reduction in stockout rates. 

Reduce Shipping Errors

Efficiency in your warehouse setup also translates to fewer shipping errors. When your warehouse is well-organized and streamlined, the likelihood of shipping incorrect products or quantities diminishes significantly. Reduced shipping errors can improve customer reviews and repeat business by ensuring customers receive their orders promptly and accurately. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also cuts down on costs related to returns and refunds.

Enhance Safety

A tidy, well-organized warehouse is a safer one. Clear aisles, walkways, and secure product storage reduce the risk of accidents. This safeguards employees and helps avoid costly workers’ compensation claims and legal hassles. Improved safety can minimize employee turnover and absenteeism by creating a safer and more comfortable work environment. In line with this, a study by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed that warehouses optimized for space efficiency witnessed a remarkable 50% reduction in workplace accidents.


What Really Goes Down When Your Distribution Center Crosses the 85% Limit?

Crossing the 85% limit in your distribution centre might seem like a minor issue, but it can trigger a cascade of problems that affect your operations, efficiency, and safety.

Congestion is the primary issue when a distribution centre crosses the 85% limit. Think of it as navigating through a traffic jam during rush hour. When your warehouse bursts at the seams, it becomes increasingly challenging for your workers and equipment to move around freely.

Congestion creates a domino effect of challenges. One of the immediate consequences is the need for additional work. Existing items often need to be shuffled around to accommodate new products, akin to a never-ending game of Tetris. This extra work not only consumes time but also poses a risk to the integrity of your inventory.

You might resort to less-than-optimal solutions as you inch closer to that 85% limit. Storing products in aisles or commandeering staging spaces for new arrivals becomes standard practice. While these measures may provide a reprieve, they severely compromise efficiency and safety. A warehouse that’s so full it spills into its walkways and staging areas is akin to a three-car garage packed with cars, leaving no room for anything else.

Given these challenges, it becomes abundantly clear why companies should strive to stay below the 85% limit in their distribution centres. It’s not merely a matter of convenience; it’s about safeguarding your efficiency, reducing errors, and ensuring the safety of your most valuable asset—your workers.


Wrapping It Up: Unleash Your Warehouse Potential

In the ever-evolving world of logistics, where warehouse storage space utilization is at a premium, maximizing your warehouse storage is a game-changer. From tackling the challenges of increased inventory to adapting to seasonal fluctuations, the strategies we’ve explored open up a world of possibilities within your warehouse walls.

With vertical rack extensions, mezzanines, aisle optimizations, and more, you have a toolkit to revolutionize storage capacity. However, the key lies not only in implementing these solutions but in doing so strategically and efficiently.

And that’s where EMTS Group, your trusted partner in warehouse racking systems, comes into play.

EMTS Group provides cutting-edge warehouse racking systems to maximize space, efficiency, and safety. Our experienced team understands the intricacies of warehouse storage and can tailor solutions to suit your unique needs.

Don’t let space constraints hold your business back. Take the next step toward unlocking your warehouse’s full potential by partnering with EMTS Group. Contact us today, and let’s embark on a journey to transform your warehouse into a space-efficient powerhouse. Together, we’ll ensure that your storage challenges are a thing of the past, allowing your business to thrive and expand without limitations.