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Logistics centers, warehouses and distribution systems – functional design

Correct planning and design start with a needs assessment: collection and analysis of data on the current situation, mapping the activities of different departments, understanding the work processes and specific characteristics of the organization. The second stage includes mapping the relevant technological alternatives and conducting an operational economic analysis of each of them, then comparing between alternatives and selecting the most suitable one.


A typical project includes:


Stage 1 – Design in Principle:


  • A survey of needs, the collection and analysis of data on the current situation:

    • Touring the company's warehouses and collecting data

    • Conducting field observations and studying the current processes, material flow, and the linkage between different activities

    • Analyzing stock variety and distribution (the variety of products, pallet dimensions and weights, storage volumes of items stored)

    • Examining the storages of external clients (if any)

    • Analyzing the receiving area activity (unloading containers and trucks, extent and volumes of incoming movement, and waiting times on the dock and in the yard)

    • Analyzing the picking activity (picking lines, volume and movement of outgoing pallets and cartons by order, followed by movement and distribution along the workday, etc.)

    • Analyzing the concentration area of pallets ready for shipment (no. of concurrent pallets, by distribution lines)

    • Examining the extent of vehicle traffic in the yard (containers, trucks and pickup trucks)

Data from the computer system will be provided by you based on a list of requirements you will receive


  • Preparing a Dada Summary Report, which will form the basis for planning and design – this will be presented to you for your approval


  • Examining alternatives for the logistics center's internal layout:

    • Means of storage and handling

      • Reach trucks, turret trucks, articulated forklifts, etc.

      • Pallet racks, drive-in, pushback, mobile racks, radio shuttle, etc.

      • Pallet-storage automated systems

      • Small item picking automated systems

    • Operating surfaces (receiving, storage, picking, checks and packaging, added value, concentration of ready shipments, etc.)

    • Manpower

    • Layout drawings of all the alternatives

    • Estimate of establishment and operation costs (storage and handling equipment, construction, manpower cost and additional operating costs)

    • Preparing an economic, qualitative, operational comparison among the alternatives and recommending an alternative


  • Preparing a summary presentation, including the recommended alternative


Stage 2 – Detailed Design

and functional characterization of the building:


  • Detailed design of the logistic center's layout, based on the selected alternative

  • Presenting the detailed design to you, introducing amendments, until a "layout locking" decision is made

  • Preparing a functional specification (Program) of the building and its related systems (storage height, floor specification, openings, dock leveler, rollup doors, docks, power points, communication points, lighting, etc.)


The functional characterization includes a supply plan (electricity, communication).

This document will form the basis for the architectural design and that of the other planners.


  • Presenting the functional characterization to the team of project consultants.

  • Participating in design-coordination meetings.


Stage 3 – Assistance in storage and handling equipment procurement:


  • Preparing technical specifications for the storage and handling equipment, for the purpose of obtaining RFPs

  • Delivering the specifications to suppliers and responding to their inquiries and questions

  • Examining and comparing the proposals (technically and financially)

  • Meeting with suppliers and assisting in the negotiation

  • Touring the premises of clients, to get an impression of the equipment of different suppliers

  • Making a mutual decision on the suppliers to be selected from each field

  • Preparing order specifications for the storage and handling equipment (assistance in drawing up the agreements with suppliers)

  • Stage completion – issuing purchase orders for the storage and handling equipment


Stage 4 – Escort and supervision – storage and handling equipment:


  • Ongoing technical contact with suppliers of the storage and handling equipment

  • Examination and functional confirmation of the suppliers' plans prior to actual production

  • Briefing the shelving-installation team at the site – both at the beginning and during the installation

  • Conducting a final acceptance test of the equipment

  • Approving the payments to suppliers based on the agreed-upon payment terms

  • Assistance in planning the project of transition to the new site


Stage 5 – Escort and supervision – building:


  • Participating in design-coordination meetings of the building design team (if required)

  • Maintaining contact with the architect, the supervisor and the other design team members

  • Studying the plans of the relevant planners to ensure compatibility with the layout and the equipment (plans for sprinklers, electricity and lighting, openings, dock levelers, etc.)

  • Updating the layout designs according to need

  • Assisting in coordination between suppliers of the building systems and the storage systems

  • Field supervision, to ensure that the functional requirements of the building, according to the Program, are complied with (results of floor leveling, opening dimensions, dock height, dock-leveler pits, etc.)

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