A warehouse for unit loads must be design in a certain way whether it is above ground or underground. The main functional design factors are discussed in this paper.


The distribution system includes all transportations, handling operations and storage activities from supplier to customer. When analyzing the system following elements must be included: Cost factors -: Transportation Cost Warehousing Cost Handling and Transfer Cost Inventory Carrying Cost Administration Cost Other Cost Delivery Service Availability of the Products Delivery Time Figure 1 shows some typical examples of distribution systems. In all of them the number of warehouses, the location of the warehouses and the size and efficiency of the warehouses are of primary importance. In order to minimize freight costs a warehouse should be located on the logical path between supplier and customer. This usually means that the different warehouses in the system should be close to the supplier, close to the customers or close to harbors and other traffic centers where the cost of land is high.


Figure 2 shows the two major functions in a warehouse: The Holding or Storage function The Storage area is used to store goods. The size of the Storage area depends on the capacity(tons to be stored)needed and on the storage method used. THE RECEIVING AND SHIPPING ACTIVITIES The incoming and outgoing traffic is in most cases by rail or road. In either case the receiving and shipping activities occupy a lot of space, particularly if the rate of turnover in the warehouse is high. The rail sidings, the traffic area and the loading and unloading docks may be located in the open or underground together with the storage area. The later solution calls for extensive excavation, increases the fire hazard and creates a ventilation problem due to exhaust from the over-the-road trucks and the diesel engines. Underground receiving and shipping activities should therefore be avoided unless local conditions are in the favor of this solution (down-town, very hilly site etc) • If the loading and unloading docks are situated in the open outside the underground warehouse a handling device is needed for the movement of goods between the two locations. A number of choices are available and Table 1 lists the main alternatives.


A number of methods are available for handling and storing palletloads. Which one to choose depends on the product-mix, the stability of the load, the rate of turnover and the cost of equipment and labor. The three basic methods are (fig. 3):

Floor-stacking and fork-lift-truck

May be used when the pallet loads can be stacked on top of each other and when we have a great quantity of each commodity. An ordinary fork-lift-truck is used for handling the pallet loads.

Pallet racks and reach truck

If the pallet loads can't be stacked on top of each other, or if we few pallet loads of each commodity, then pallet racks must be used. an aisle is needed between each pair of racks and in order to save truck should be used instead of an ordinary fork-lift-truck.

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