Logistics is often overlooked, although it’s a common belief. The logistics of moving products from A to B is often overlooked by regulators, businesses, and the general public.
Pharmaceutical companies and their logistic managers are left with little to no control when it comes to designing and implementing a pharmaceutical warehouse. They must follow best practices in pharmaceutical handling and design warehouses that safely store and deliver pharmaceuticals. Logistics managers are often forced to work with outdated equipment and facilities that aren’t up-to-the task. There are strong arguments to ensure that your warehouse is well-designed, automated, and equipped with the most current technology.
Planning a Efficient Pharmaceutical Warehouse Layout
It is crucial to optimize warehouse operation. Pharmaceutical corporations have unique challenges when designing warehouses or distribution centers layouts due to the nature and products they sell. Pharmaceuticals can be affected by temperature changes and bacteria. Sometimes, lighting can cause damage to pharmaceuticals. Also, pharmaceuticals should be stored in a way that allows for easy access to a first-in/first-out system. This will ensure that these valuable and costly products are safe from theft and intentional contamination. This unique requirement means that there are many things to consider when setting up a warehouse of pharmaceutical storage.
There are basically two types of warehouse workflow patterns. The “through” pattern directs the incoming pharmaceutical inventories to one side of the warehouse, and out the other side. A circular or “U shape” warehouse pattern allows traffic to flow around the storage areas at the center. Input and output are done through the same entrance/exit. Both patterns place high-demand items closer to the loading docks, while lower-demand items are further away. High-demand items in a “through” warehouse are placed near the exit and entrance, while lower demand items are close to the exterior walls. High-demand items in a warehouse with a U-pattern are located close to loading bays. Items placed further away from doors is the case when their frequency decreases. The back wall is where the lowest-demand items will be placed. Each layout has its advantages and disadvantages.
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Linear Design Because products travel only in one direction, it is easier to make sure a first-in/first out shipping schedule is followed.
Multiple Channels -Warehouse throughput may be divided into multiple channels that all flow in the same direction, making it less likely to pick the wrong item.
Discrete Temperature Areas: Different lines of throughput can be designated as temperature-controlled areas or cold storage areas without overlapping with each other.
Circular Warehouse Advantages
Combinated Trips: A forklift can be used to retrieve inventory and put away a load in one trip, since it will return to the same place.
Cross Docking: Products can be shipped immediately from the loading dock without having to put them away or detail a fork truck to make an extra trip in case of a rush.
Enhanced Control of Space: Because there is only one entrance and exit to the warehouse the security and the atmosphere can be better maintained.
A through warehouse will be the best choice for warehouses that deal with pharmaceuticals. It is required that first-in/first out shipping be done. The linear product flow facilitates organization and precise picking. Through-type warehouses are not common. These warehouses require access roads at both the output and input ends. Most warehouses have one entry point. However, some storage and retrieval methods can provide linear throughput within the warehouse regardless the external form.
Pharmaceutical Warehouse Requirements and Equipment.
Pallet Racks can make your warehouse layout more efficient. Pallet racks increase the product storage capacity of your warehouse by increasing cube utilization. These racks can be combined with a pallet mole, also known as a pallet shuttle, to eliminate aisles in pharmaceutical warehouses. This automation is simple and cheap, and operates on a linear basis.
A pallet mole, a simple device that runs on a track, lifts pallets from below and then runs them along the rack to the next slot. The pallet is then placed there and returned to its input position. A pallet mole system means that the first load to be shipped out is the one placed on the racks. This means that pallet moles can be used to create a warehouse that is “through”, regardless of its external layout. This system also offers many advantages over the other major warehouse layouts, including:
Every row on a pallet rack can serve a designated pharmaceutical. This allows for multichannel warehouses with little cross-purpose work.
Each temperature zone can have a pallet rack or a shuttle system. This allows for maximum volumes and efficient linear flow in all areas of the warehouse.
A forklift may be used to load product into a storage system on one side, and then pick up product from the other side in a U-shaped arrangement.
This configuration allows for linear movement to be restricted to storage and retrieval areas. The warehouse also has one loading and unloading point. It is possible to maintain greater warehouse security and cross-docking capabilities. A pallet rack and pallet mole combination brings together the best aspects of both warehouse layouts.
However, it does have one major disadvantage. It can be expensive and time-consuming to take out all products from affected channels and clear the issue. Getting the most from supply chain automation requires that you only use reliable and strong equipment.
Plastic pallets are required for warehouse automation. Plastic shipping platforms are stronger than wood and have the same weight, dimensions, strength, and weight as wood. Plastic’s reliability is crucial to keep automation running smoothly, without interruptions and product damage. Plastic pallets can be cleaned and disinfected before they are used. This helps to protect pharmaceuticals and supply chain equipment (like pallet moles and racks- ) from contamination. Although pharmaceutical companies may determine the requirements for their warehouses, plastic pallets can help them set a high standard.