Redesigning a warehouse for the short, medium and long term In warehouse design, as in life in general, change needs to be accommodated as a natural part of the process. It isn't enough simply to implement a warehouse and then leave it to operate, as a constant redesign process must also be incorporated so that it is always optimised in line with the current state of customer demand. Such flexibility and preparation is crucial for consistently successful e-commerce fulfilment. When you are embedding warehouse redesign into your operational processes, you will first need to define and separate the necessary short, medium and long term changes. An example of a short term change may be pick face profiling, which can occur on a daily or weekly basis, while a medium term change might be the adjustment of location sizes, which could be necessary every quarter or in the event of another significant change. Finally, there are certain long term changes to bear in mind, such as the addition of equipment or the relocation of racking, which might not take place on a periodic basis, instead only when there is another major change in the business. But referring back to the short term, pick face re-profiling simply involves ensuring that each SKU is located in the best position, as well as that it is supported by the right amount of backup stock. The most effective warehouses see the daily moving or re-slotting of a number of SKUs, with this process being carried out automatically in some warehouses. Movement 'little and often' is recommended to ensure the most manageable process. A similar process applies to both medium and long term changes, which may be prompted by such other major changes in the business as a new product range or important customer. E-commerce fulfilment has gained in importance as a factor in warehouse redesign, given how profoundly online sales can affect a warehouse's profile of activities. This has led to some organisations sub-contracting e-commerce fulfilment, even if their operations are otherwise largely based in-house. Redesigning a warehouse process successfully depends on the application of certain principles. A model can be used in which to load fresh SKU and order history to determine the number of each type of location that is necessary. A development road map may also be devised and maintained to plan warehouse changes in line with predicted changes in the business over time. By considering the results of analysis as well as wisdom gained from experience with regard to what works well and what doesn't, organisations can make the right decisions about warehouse redesign that will help to ensure an optimum-performing operation for some time to come.