Why you should not do without logistics consulting
There is hardly any other subject where people overestimate as often as in construction. This also applies to warehouses and other logistics buildings. Sometimes the amount of space required is incorrectly estimated, sometimes the quality of the soil is skimped on, or the fire protection regulations cause problems later on. Logistics construction projects can involve numerous pitfalls. Achieving optimal space utilization of the new warehouse while accommodating logistics functions so that all work processes run smoothly is a complex undertaking. But if you know the 7 biggest hurdles and stumbling blocks that can occur in construction projects, and take our tips to heart, you can start to take a more relaxed approach to your new building or expansion. So what are the pitfalls?
In contrast to other industrial buildings, the dimensions of logistics buildings vary enormously. Just take the building height for a high-bay warehouse: Depending on the permissible height, the entire warehouse must be planned correspondingly higher than for a standard industrial hall. In addition, the height of the loading gates should be adapted to all types of vehicles arriving and departing. Depending on the logistics technology used and the required storage capacity, the space requirements must be calculated.
Incorrect arrangements can also occur inside the building. Conflicts are caused, for example, by column grids that obstruct an optimal logistics design or conveyor systems and racks that block important access points or building functions. The solution is close coordination of the architectural and logistical requirements by the planners involved (architects, technical building equipment and logistics planners) throughout the entire project.
If you consider that unplanned changes to finished logistics buildings are among the biggest cost items, you can factor in expansion or conversion at the start of construction. It is true that companies can rarely predict where they will be in the next 10 to 15 years. But a flexible phased concept, or long-term development concept and a modular design of the building, creates the basis for expanding each area step by step as needed up to the maximum expansion. In this way, building regulations and the property's condition can be checked in good time. Becoming a forward thinker therefore pays off! In this way, later investments can be reduced.
Building facades and intralogistics should form a unit, but are often considered and planned separately. Conflict sources are, for example, building openings blocked from the inside or gates whose dimensions have to be adjusted subsequently. Here, calculations by architect:in and logistics planner:in are required to avoid this. And here, too, the options for possible structural openings must be planned accordingly if one wants to keep open the possibility of expanding the warehouse at a later date. Ideally, logistics planners and construction planners work hand in hand and are well coordinated.
It is always better to tackle the interior design of a building first. This is because the greatest potential for added value is to be found inside the building. If a new logistics building is planned "from the outside in" and the "shell" is built first, this is often at the expense of functionality and cost-effectiveness. Before the building shell is built, the "core" with its "inside" processes, material flows, its functions and the areas should be designed first. Otherwise, investments and operating costs can increase due to a lack of expansion options as well as unsuitable racking equipment, storage technology and processes.
The investment in a resilient, load-bearing floor is often underestimated. After all, the floor of a warehouse has to withstand something. Just think of conveyor technology and stage systems (e.g. under a stage support), which can weigh several tens of tons. To ensure a smooth and gentle ride for industrial trucks, the floor must be level enough. The resistance should be sufficient to keep tire friction low and to dissipate static charges from the vehicles. Satisfactory bending stiffness of the floor slab is necessary, especially for automatic warehouses.
Increasingly complex fire safety regulations quickly drive up the overall cost of new plant construction. How can this be avoided? By logistics planners, architects and fire protection managers taking advantage of the planning leeway when creating the building concept: Starting points include the type of extinguishing system, the height and width of the cube, the design of fire compartments, the type of furnishing technology, compensation measures and much more. Here, too, it is important to contact the planners and fire protection officers involved at an early stage of logistics planning.
Misplanning when it comes to lighting also takes its toll. In the course of logistics planning, the facility and work processes should be taken into account when planning lighting - in other words, even before the lighting installation. As a general rule, too much light for little-used areas and too little lighting in frequently used warehouse areas can turn out to be cost guzzlers. Who would want to work without daylight, or in poorly lit areas at all, when there are other ways to do it? For example, motion detectors can be used to provide cost-saving lighting for less frequented building or packing areas. And skylight windows in the right places also provide a friendlier indoor climate than LED lighting alone.
Depending on the level of mechanization of the logistics building, large amounts of electricity are needed for industrial trucks, workstations and other technology (stacker cranes, shuttles, conveyor systems, etc.). In addition, thought must be given to spaces for infrastructure such as transformer stations, centralized and decentralized charging stations. Here, too, logistics planning can offset some of the electricity costs for energy consumption by means of a well thought-out energy concept. Potential savings are offered, for example, by energy-optimized logistics technology operations and special battery charging concepts. But energy recovery (e.g., in storage and retrieval units) or the use of photovoltaics are also extremely important aspects, especially in times of high energy prices.
When constructing a new logistics building, one is not entirely immune to stumbling blocks. To ensure that the "shell" and the "core" form a single unit, the architectural and logistical requirements must be sufficiently taken into account and the full scope of planning must be exhausted. To avoid mistakes in advance, planning simulations are also recommended (animated versions of real, planned warehouses) to ensure in-house performance before construction. Learn more about this topic in the blog post "Planning simulation as a component of logistics planning".
Architect:in, technical building equipment and logistics planner:in should consider a later expansion or possible conversions right from the start in order to not only be able to react to current requirements and reduce investments at a later point in time.
For more information on logistics planning and planning/warehouse simulation, click here.