There are normally four distinct areas of a distribution centre – static storage, dynamic storage, receiving and shipping. How all these areas are organised will greatly depend on the size of the space available, the type of equipment available and what products are being moved.

What is dynamic storage?

Otherwise called forward pick, this is the busy zone where orders are constantly being fulfilled. Here you’ll find lots of different types of storage equipment, such as pallets and racking which should be organised in such a way that goods can be picked quickly and efficiently.

What is static storage?

This is an area of storage that isn’t used for immediate product picking but is instead used for overflow goods, normally stored on pallets, for example. This is the area used for the replenishment of the dynamic area when stock gets low. The choice of storage is important in this zone, as it must favour space efficiency and density over selectivity. Find out more about Shelving Ireland at a site like Rackzone.

The type of racking that is used in a warehouse will depend a lot on the product flow. The two main types of racking set-ups are known as first-in, first-out and last-in, first-out systems.

First-in, first-out

FIFO is a form of managing an inventory that means the first items to be placed onto a rack are the first to come out again. This kind of set-up is perfect for operations that need a quick rotation of stock, have a high stock turnover or products with expiry dates. This type of system is often used by food storage facilities, for example.

Last-in, first-out

This inventory management system means that those items placed onto the racking last will be the first to be taken out. This set-up is useful for those who store goods with a long shelf life and hold stock in large amounts, for example.

Despite there being distinct zones inside a distribution centre, all must work seamlessly together. When planning the space for efficiency, consider the layout, what your inventory consists of and what sort of material handling equipment is going to be used.

There will be different solutions available depending on your budget, as well as the time you have available to get everything up and running. You will also need to factor in adherence to health and safety regulations and local building codes.

The key aims of a warehouse are speed of goods movement, minimising contact with goods, proper use of equipment and workforce, protection of stock and best use of space. This can be achieved with the right storage and some thorough pre-planning to make the best use of the available space.