Warehouse capacity is a complex aspect of the supply chain that can be expressed in several different ways. It is therefore important to understand first what capacity is before determining how much available capacity you have and when it might be exceeded.
One crucial distinction is that between static (storage) capacity and dynamic (throughput) capacity, as outlined below:
‘Static capacity’ refers to the amount of storage available for goods at a standstill. A critical type of static storage is the forward pick or fast pick area, where the critical capacity measure is the number of stock keeping units (SKU’s) that may be stored there and be available for picking. This is supported by the reserve stock area, which must have the required capacity available to replenish the forward picking area.
Overall, there must be enough capacity for stock in the facility to meet required customer service levels. The amount of product required will normally be determined by inventory planning and replenishment software, which will calculate two types of stock requirement:
Another key consideration is the type of static storage required for each type of product. Examples include:
Parking space for freight vehicles is also a form of static capacity, and must be calculated across daily and weekly cycles. The needs of Freight vehicle parking mean that operations should be considered by time slot, types of activity, trunk timetables and shift patterns across the relevant periods. Yard space can easily prove to be the factor that most limits the capacity of a facility.
The most important point is that products must be clearly grouped by the type of storage required. This will allow you to determine the right combination of static storage requirements within a warehouse. LogiMap’s powerful management tools help simplify this process, allowing warehouse capacity to be modelled and optimised with ease.
‘Dynamic capacity’ refers to the amount of throughput that a facility can handle, which includes shipment lines, picks and cases. Both dynamic and static capacity is driven by the collective demand from customers and the downstream warehouses that the facility serves. The type of dynamic capacity you need is therefore dependent on the mix of work required by this demand.
For example, total demand could be determined by the number of cases demanded on each day of the week over a typical period. Yet each of those cases could represent a very different amount of work:
The overall picking process may also involve more than one approach, as in the case of bulk pick and secondary order assembly versus direct order picking. On top of this, processes can vary according to the particular profile of orders from customers and warehouses.
Managing dynamic capacity can clearly be a complex business. That’s why many clients see our LogiMap software as an invaluable tool. By combining deep understanding of network dynamics and product mix, LogiMap can generate dynamic workload and capacity plans for major supply chain facilities.
For a more detailed discussion of LogiMap’s potential impact on your warehouse capacity management, visit the Warehouse Scheduling page.