Warehouse Zones

All warehouse design requires a decision concerning how to store stock. Some items can be placed in racks, some can be stored on pallets, and other items can require specialized storage bins. Small items can be stored using a rotating basket or bin. Some materials require segregated storage due to a volatile nature or specific temperature requirements.The special storage needs of these stock items result in zoned storage.

The zoned storage method is based on a variation of fixed bin storage. By storing items in the same location, the staff will know where to find a particular item. By using zoned storage, the items are stored in a specific zone based on the special characteristics of the stock.

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The following are common types of warehouse zones:

Refrigerated Zone

A business may use food or perishable items in its course of operations. As a result, many businesses have a refrigerated and an ambient temperature zonein the same warehouse. These refrigerated zones are kept above freezing but cooler than the regular warehouse temperature. Special frozen zones might be necessary to accommodate items that require subzero temperatures. Storing items at the required temperature will result in less waste.

Dry Storage

Dry storage is necessary as many items can be damaged by moisture. For these items, a dedicated dry zone can be used. Dry zones are also temperature controlled to reduce humidity and to control insect problems that can occur at a higher temperatures. A mix of air conditioning and heating is required to keep dry storage temperatures within acceptable product limits.

Flammable materials and liquids

Due to safety concerns and insurance riders, flammable items are required to be segregated and stored in its own zone. Many companies use combustible chemicals and materials in their manufacturing operations. Some chemicals require approved specialty storage cabinets. Additionally, specialty firefighting equipment might be required for the zone.

Corrosive Materials

Acids and other corrosives must be stored in specialty cabinets. This zone should not be located where the corrosive materials will come in contact with other materials that could cause a fire orexplosion.

Gas Cylinder Storage

Another common storage zone in most warehouses. This designated area is usually equipped with chains or straps to secure the cylinders to the wall. These cylinders require a cart with safety chains to allow the cylinders to be moved throughout the warehouse.

Oversized and Irregular Storage

Large bulky items and irregularly sized items will not fit in standard warehouse bins. Zoning for these odd items will help improve the use of storage space.

High Security Area

Some companies will have high value items that will need extra precautions. A security cage with a locking gate and video surveillance will help to keep these valuable items secure. The items can range from electronic devices to pharmacy supplies.

Having a properly zoned warehouse will improve an organization’s ability to reduce costs of wasted stock. Additionally, proper zoning for dangerous items will reduce injuries and improve warehouse safety. The proper use of zones will also achieve maximum storage capacity and reduce wasted space.