Let Your Material Handling System Define Your Building

Written By: Bastian Solutions

Building Plan DevelopersI want to challenge anyone involved in the leasing, acquisition, or development of industrial real estate to incorporate your company’s material handling solution into your building design and/or specifications.  Looking first at the processes inside a building and then establishing building parameters will lead to increased efficiencies and more cost-effective solutions.

Incorporating your material handling system into your building design will take more time on the front end of your project then the typical “windshield tour,” that is too often how facility decisions are made, and it will also require that you begin your building analysis earlier in most cases.  However, the increased man hours and lead times can produce significant results for years to come.

If you consider that most tenants commit to a lease term of five years on existing space and 10 years on new development, the costs associated with choosing the wrong building can be significant.  By first addressing your planned material handling system (pmhs), you have a better understanding of the facility needed to properly house it. This in turn allows you to save money and optimize building space. Below are some key facility issues that could be better defined by first understanding your pmhs.

  • Building Size – Increasing or decreasing the amount of automation Industrial Warehouse, Facility Design - Bastian Developmentused in your material handling system will impact the amount of building space required.  Will you need to build out, build up, or look at a smaller building than expected?
  • Structural Components – The amount of system automation will also affect structural loads, concrete specs, lighting, power, and column spacing.
  • Clear Heights – Minimum and optimum building clear heights will be driven by the size and scope of your material handling system.
  • Loading Doors – The placement and number of loading doors will also be impacted by the layout of your system.

A great (almost extreme) example of integrating your material handling system with your building, comes in the form of rack-supported building ASRS.  In these structures, the entire rack storage system provides the building’s structural support.

These types of buildings are becoming more and more popular among companies who need high density storage in small spaces.  The entire building can be used to store large amounts of SKUs, while optimizing available land space.  You can build up several stories, instead of building out.

By no means is this the only way to incorporate your building and material handling system, but it is a great example of how the two can be effectively and efficiently intertwined.  Whether you are looking at existing buildings or new development, integrating your material handling system and building specifications into one process is critical to improving and optimizing your future operations.

Does your warehouse or industrial facility work well with the material handling system it houses?  Why or why not?  Feel free to share your comments below.

Bastian Solutions is an independent system integrator dedicated to helping our customers increase their productivity through proven automation, information systems, and sound operating procedures.

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  1. Material handling is one of the most important issue to tackle in any warehouse. The key factors mentioned here when kept in mind will always give better results and maximize productivity.

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