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Guidelines for Warehousing

Health Commodities

The authors’ views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the United States Government.
The USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, Task Order 4, is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
under contract number GPO-I-00-06-00007-00, order number AID-OAA-TO-10-00064, beginning September 30, 2010.
Task Order 4 is implemented by John Snow, Inc., in collaboration with PATH; Crown Agents Consultancy, Inc.; Eastern
and Southern African Management Institute; FHI360; Futures Institute for Development, LLC; LLamasoft, Inc; The
Manoff Group, Inc.; Pharmaceutical Healthcare Distributers (PHD); PRISMA; and VillageReach. The project improves
essential health commodity supply chains by strengthening logistics management information systems, streamlining
distribution systems, identifying financial resources for procurement and supply chain operation, and enhancing forecasting
and procurement planning. The project encourages policymakers and donors to support logistics as a critical factor in
the overall success of their healthcare mandates.

Recommended Citation
USAID | DELIVER PROJECT,Task Order 4. 2014. Guidelines for Warehousing Health Commodities. Arlington, Va.:
USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, Task Order 4. Second edition (First edition 2005)

These guidelines were written for anyone trying to meet and solve the challenges of operating a warehouse today. They
are an important reference tool for managers and staff, whether they are constructing a new warehouse, implementing
a new warehouse system, or redesigning their current system.
Guidelines for Warehousing Health Commodities is for use by supply chain managers, logistics advisors, and warehouse
managers who want to improve and increase efficiency in their current health commodity warehouse. It is designed to
be interactive, with each specific topic accessible as-needed.
The remaining sections of the guide discuss each of the topics of warehousing contained in the self-assessment; they
offer more detail on ideal warehouse attributes, practical advice on how to improve warehouse operations, and specific
information on available warehouse equipment and technology.
Case studies are also provided in the guide giving real-life examples that illustrate the importance of improving
warehouse operations.
Guidelines for Warehousing Health Commodities provides up-to-date information on all aspects of warehousing.


John Snow, Inc.
1616 Fort Myer Drive, 16th Floor
Arlington, VA 22209 USA
Phone: 703-528-7474
Fax: 703-528-7480
Email: askdeliver@jsi.com
Internet: deliver.jsi.com


Getting Started: Assessing Your Warehouse......................................................................3

Warehouse Guidelines.....................................................................................................................5
Section A: Warehouse Infrastructure Planning..............................................................5
Section B: Layout Planning and Operations Efficiency..............................................7
Section C: Warehouse Equipment....................................................................................19
Section D: Special Storage Requirements.....................................................................23
Section E: Inventory Management......................................................................................24
Section F: Security and Safety...............................................................................................31
Section G: Human Resources...............................................................................................33
Additional Tools for Warehouse Managers.................................................................37
Case Studies........................................................................................................................................39
Examples of Layout and Organization Improvement, Ethiopia.........................39
Examples of Layout and Organization Improvement, Harari.............................41
Example of Warehouse Equipment Improvement..................................................42
Example of Automated Data Collection........................................................................43

Appendix 1: Warehouse Self-Assessment Tool..............................................................47

Appendix 2: Pallet Stacking, Shelving, and Pallet Racks................................................53

Appendix 3: Material Handling Equipment........................................................................57

Appendix 4: Warehouse Performance Metrics ..............................................................61

1. Typical Layout for Receiving/Shipping Activities......................................................8
2. Sample Layout Using Selective Pallet Racks and Bin Shelving......................15
3. Sample Layout Using Pallet Stacking and Bin Shelving......................................15
4. Bin Card.......................................................................................................................................24
5. Inventory Control Card......................................................................................................25
6. Stores Ledger............................................................................................................................26
7. Suggested Management/Supervisory Structure for
Warehouse Personnel..............................................................................................................33

G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S   | v
8. Standard Wood Pallet (1.22 by 1.02 meters)........................................................53
9. Tipping Pallet Due to Un-level Floor..........................................................................53
10. Bonded Stacking vs. Unbonded Stacking...............................................................54
11. Example of Crushed Boxes Due to High Stacking...........................................54
12. Properly Stacked Pallet.....................................................................................................54
13. Shelving Rack..........................................................................................................................55
14. One Row of Connecting Racks (Two Bays) with
Three Multi-Shelves....................................................................................................................55
15. Common Rack Beam Sections (Rolled-formed Left, Structural Right).....55
16. Common Rack Column Sections...............................................................................56
17. Right-Angle Turning Radii ..............................................................................................58
18. Manual Low-Lift Pallet Jack ...........................................................................................58
19. Electric Low-Lift Truck......................................................................................................58
20. Walkie Straddle Stacker...................................................................................................59
21. Walkie Reach Stacker.......................................................................................................59
22. Counterbalance Lift Truck..............................................................................................59
23. Narrow-Aisle Reach Truck............................................................................................60
24. Warehouse Rolling Ladder............................................................................................60
1. Sample Worksheet for Estimating Shipment Receiving and
Staging Space Requirements: Complete Data Method.........................................10
2. Sample Worksheet for Estimating Shipment Receiving and
Staging Space Requirements: Complete Data Method.........................................11
3. Estimation of Staging Space Requirements..............................................................12
4. Storage Methods by Commodity Type.....................................................................13
5. Sample Worksheet for Estimating Bulk Storage
Space Requirements Based on Complete Data........................................................14
6. To Estimate Space Requirements.................................................................................14
7. Warehouse Management System Reports..............................................................27
8. Sample Time Requirements for the Receiving Activity....................................36
9. Lifting Height & Aisle Width............................................................................................57
10. Trucks Types and Their Capabilities.........................................................................57

vi |   G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
1D one-dimensional

2D two-dimensional

ADC automated data collection

CCD charged-coupled device

CO2 carbon dioxide

PPE personal protective equipment

SDP service delivery point

SKU stock keeping unit

RF radio frequency

RFID radio frequency identification

UPC Universal Product Code

UPS United Parcel Service

U.S. United States

WMS warehouse management system

AC RO N Y M S   | vii
he warehouse is a key compo- and the training of staff within the The remaining sections of the guide
nent of the supply chain for warehouse, as well as considering discuss each of the topics of ware-
health commodities. This is the implementation of a broader housing contained in the self-assess-
especially true in resource poor en- information system, including a ment; they offer more detail on ideal
vironments where they act as buffers warehouse management system that warehouse attributes, practical advice
against uncertainties and breakdowns can link information to other points on how to improve warehouse opera-
within the supply chain. When in the supply chain. In addition, tions, and specific information on
properly managed and appropriately establishing a system of meaningful available warehouse equipment and
stocked, the warehouse provides a and measurable metrics can enhance technology. You can read the chapters
consistent supply of products as they performance. in any order; they provide informa-
are needed. tion in an accessible format to help
It is important for public health you make informed warehousing
For many years, the private sector has warehouse management to have an decisions. You may not need all the
taken a professional, systematic approach overall plan for professional, reliable tools and information, but we recom-
to warehousing; recognizing its commodity handling and storage. mend that you review all the topics.
importance to overall cost, customer They need to take a holistic view of their
satisfaction, and performance of the facilities, incorporating technologies The case studies in the guide are
business. In turn, organizations where needed, and when appropriate. real-life examples that illustrate the
involved in public health in the Not every technology, however, is importance of improving warehouse
developing world have started to focus appropriate or cost effective for specific operations.
more attention on commodity local conditions. This guide will
warehousing, realizing its role as a critical help you meet these challenges and
resource for improving public health. requirements.

The professional and systematic The Guidelines for Warehousing Health

approach used by the private sector is Commodities is for use by supply chain
directly applicable to the challenges managers, logistics advisors, and
public health warehousing face in warehouse managers who want to
countries around the world. Challenges, improve and increase efficiency in
such as the increase in variety of their current health commodity ware-
products in the public health system, house. It is designed to be interactive,
or stockkeeping units (SKUs), and with each specific topic accessible
the demand for reduced processing as-needed.
time, can be addressed by improving
inventory management; and, in some The guide begins with a warehouse
cases, using technologies, such as self-assessment, which will help you
automated data collection tools. understand the essential elements of
The demand for increased customer warehouse structure and operations, and
service requirements—cost and the present condition of the existing
value—and the call for improved warehouse. Complete this assessment first,
product and information flows can and then use the guide to focus on areas
be addressed by focusing management where improvements are most needed.

I N T RO D U C T I O N   | 1
2 |   G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Getting Started:
Assessing Your Warehouse
health commodities ware- The warehouse self-assessment tool
house is much more than a covers seven categories:
building that provides a space
“You will improve
for storage. It must be designed to
receive, store, and organize products
A. Infrastructure the efficiency of
efficiently and must provide effective B. Layout & Operations Capacity the warehouse
distribution for life-saving commodi-
ties. This requires adequate shipping/ C. Warehouse Equipment and lower
receiving docks, storage in appropri-
ate conditions for the commodities, D. Special Storage overall operating
and adequate work space to access
and compile onward shipments for E. Inventory Management expenses if you
products going to regional or district
warehouses or service delivery points F. Security & Safety
carefully plan
(SDPs). You will improve the ef- for the needed
ficiency of the warehouse and lower G. Human Resources
overall operating expenses if you care- conditions”
fully plan for the needed conditions The tool questions several aspects of
for all of these functions. each category and assigns a score.
This enables the user to establish
To begin, go to appendix 1 and take an overall score for each category in
the Warehouse Self-Assessment; you order to help set priorities for further
will be able to identify any exist- review and action.
ing gaps and learn where to focus
the warehouse improvements. This
assessment is not an exhaustive tool;
however, it will detail key issues to
consider when you develop a com-
prehensive warehouse plan.

G E T T I N G S TA RT E D : A S S E S S I N G Y O U R W A R E H O U S E   | 3
4 |   G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Warehouse Guidelines
SECTION A: Building • lift equipment aisle-width require-
Warehouse ments
Infrastructure Plan the dimensions of the doors to • loading and floor stacking of material
Planning ensure they are wide enough to allow
for the free and easy movement of • overall length of rack rows: possible
Following are several areas of warehouse product and handling equipment. effects on floor surface.
infrastructure and the attributes of a The overall building dimensions
well planned and successful warehouse should be the same as, or have the
that you should consider, whether capacity for, the specific equipment and
you are building a new warehouse or
renovating an existing one.
other space needed for the required
warehouse operations. Large facilities,
“If the main source
such as those at the central level, of electricity is
often use forklifts and other handling
Location equipment. Ensure doors are strong not reliable, install
The warehouse must be accessible and reinforced for adequate security.
to all the health facilities or units Fit them with two strong locks, and a solar panel
to be served. Ideally, to enhance install metal grills for extra protection.
security and minimize human and Limit the number of people with generator or
automobile congestion, a medical
store should be located by itself on
keys to the doors.
alternative supply
a separate plot of land. Road access WAREHOUSE FLOORS of electricity for
must be adequate for the largest vehicle Warehouse floors must meet stress
that may need to come into the store; and strength requirements; otherwise, cold rooms and
if possible, avoid locating the warehouse they may fail because of pressure from
on routinely congested roads. loaded racks. If warehouse floors do refrigerators.”
not meet stress specifications, damage
TREES can also result from day-to-day
Although, ideally, shade trees on material handling traffic (forklift and
the site will help reduce internal others). A qualified engineer can help
warehouse temperatures, you should determine what is needed.
regu¬larly check their condition. Cut
down any weak trees to prevent them Some key requirements to review
from falling on the building during include—
inclement weather and trim others
to avoid falling branches. Ensure • floor surface, including surface
that tree roots are not damaging the material, depth of material, sub-
building’s foundation. surface material, etc.

DRAINAGE • door openings, including surface

Build the warehouse on a raised material around loading/unloading
foundation to allow rainwater to dock doors, warehouse exit doors,
drain away from the store. If possible, etc.
locate the warehouse on higher
ground that is not prone to flooding • loading dock and vehicle tailgate
or drainage problems. heights

• building column locations

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S   | 5
If rack equipment will be configured WINDOWS
on the existing floors, a qualified To reduce the need for air-condition-
engineer must thoroughly inspect ing, place windows high and wide
the existing cement or floor surface enough for adequate ventila¬tion.
material, as well as the material and The height of the windows should en-
supporting structures beneath the sure that shelves will not block them;
surface. For many reasons, an existing install wire mesh and grating to keep
warehouse floor may not meet weight out insects and to deter burglars.
and overall durability requirements.
Warehouse floors, for example, that
do not meet stress and strength Lighting
requirements may fail due to pressure To reduce either florescent or incan-
from the rack base plate or diagonal descent bulb lighting, plan the store-
tension. If the warehouse floors do room with as much natural light—
not meet stress specifications, damage indirect sunlight—during the day,
can also result from day-to-day mate- as possible. Florescent lighting emits
rial handling traffic (forklift, etc.). ultraviolet rays, which can harm cer-
Some general ways a floor may fail tain products. Incan¬descent bulbs
include compression of the concrete, emit heat. At the same time, ensure
shear or tension, and sub-base failure. that the products themselves are not
in direct sunlight.
Consider the slope of the roof and
the placement of roof support col- Power
umns, and their impact on height If the main source of electricity is not
clearances for rack configuration and reliable, install a solar panel generator
other warehouse operations. or alternative supply of electricity for
cold rooms and refrigerators. If the
Avoid using non-insulated galvanized generator is not solar-powered, main-
steel metal sheeting for the roofing tain a stock of fuel to run the genera-
because it will get very hot. If un- tor for at least a few days—see the
avoidable, create as much airflow as section in this guide for storing flam-
possible by using ventilation fans and mables (section D). Run the generator
tiered roof sections. regularly—at least once a month—to
ensure the system is working properly.
For optimal use of space and protec- Larger facilities may want to contract
tion from heat, the best choice is a out the maintenance of the generator
building without an internal ceiling. and electrical system.
Insulated roofing panels are highly
recommended; for example, galva-
nized steel sheeting with a polyure-
thane insulation, which is available
in 40 millimeter (mm)–100 mm
widths; for the best performance, it
should have a reflective powder-coat-
ed white paint or light gray. This is
more efficient than an internal ceiling
because it blocks the heat before it
can enter any part of the building.

6 |   G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
SECTION B: 3. Develop a realistic layout by rec- them to the shipping area where
Layout Planning and onciling space requirements with
existing constraints.
they can be processed for shipment
to customers.
Operations Efficiency
The layout should also include a plan
Step 1: Identify for storing unusable commodities—
Importance of Warehouse Activities separating unusable from usable
Layout Planning stock—and moving the unusable
In a standard warehouse or storage stock to a pre-defined location within
The most critical factor in planning a facility, two main activities require the store where it will remain until it
warehousing is space. How materials space or layout planning: can be evaluated and removed from
are stored and how workflows are de- the warehouse for proper disposal.
signed have a profound effect on the • receiving/shipping Unusable stock is usually defined as
efficiency of the personnel and their commodities that have either expired
ability to improve service delivery for • storing/retrieval. or have been damaged and cannot
their customers. be safely consumed by customers.
Because the shipping and receiving Unusable stock may include items
Layout planning is the discipline of tasks are often done in the same gen- that were rejected during receiving/
assessing the space requirements of eral location within the warehouse, quality control inspection, or expired
a warehouse or other storage facility they are often analyzed together. or damaged items in stock. Unus-
and specifying how that space should able stock can also include anything
be organized to facilitate identifiable • Receiving includes the tasks related that the warehouse cannot use—e.g.,
warehouse activities. to accepting usable commodities broken furniture/equipment, broken
from outside suppliers and prepar- pallets, and non-reusable packing
The main objectives of layout plan- ing those commodities for storage materials.
ning are to— in the warehouse.
When a layout plan is being devel-
• Use space efficiently. • Shipping includes the tasks that oped, the storage of unusable com-
help prepare usable commodities modities is often overlooked, but it
• Promote the efficient handling of for shipment to customers and the may be just as important as receiving/
commodities. placement of those commodities shipping and storing/picking. This
on vehicles for transport to the is especially true in dysfunctional
• Provide economical storage. customers. warehouses where commodities
often expire or become unusable. In
• Provide flexibility to meet chang- Storing/retrieval are activities associ- warehouses where space has not been
ing warehousing requirements. ated with the actual (semi-perma- specifically allocated for storing items
nent) storage of usable commodities that can no longer be used; to accom-
The following section presents a meth- in the warehouse, usually on pallets, modate these items, it is often neces-
odology for general steps in layout shelves, and/or racks. sary to use space that was dedicated
and space requirement planning in an for other activities.
existing warehouse or storage facility. • Storing is the task of moving
usable commodities from the Note: In some warehouses, space
The following three general steps receiving area and placing them in must be allocated for house admin-
should be considered when planning pre-defined locations within the istration functions: e.g., reception,
the layout for a warehouse: warehouse—either on the floor, finance, procurement, and others.
shelf, or rack—until they are ready For this guide, it is assumed that a
1. Identify warehouse activities that to leave the warehouse. separate space to facilitate adminis-
require layout planning. trative functions is available, includ-
• Retrieval is moving usable com- ing space to conduct meetings.
2. Determine the space requirements modities from one or more
and ideal layout for each ware- locations—for example, the floor,
house activity. shelves, or racks—and transporting

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 7
Step 2: Determine Space warehouse or vice versa. If a leveling times (×) the length of the designated
device is used, each device is usually shipping/receiving area.
Requirements 3 meters deep × 3 meters wide.
When planning the space requirements Figure 1 represents the layout for the
for shipping and receiving, you Whether or not you use a leveling device, receiving/shipping activities of a typical
should know that the activities will a certain amount of space will always warehouse. It depicts a warehouse
require more space than is usually be required to move the commodities where trucks dock at a 90° angle;
thought necessary. When analyzing from the truck to the receiving staging it has four separate dock levelers.
space for shipping and receiving, area. The required space for this area The diagram also shows an area for
consider the following: ultimately depends on the type of maneuvering commodities (shown
material handling equipment used outside the storage facility) and two
• truck docking to move commodities from truck to staging areas (discussed in section C).
floor and floor to truck. If manual There is one staging area on either
• shipment receiving maneuvering material handling equipment is being side of the warehouse; the two areas
used to move items from the truck to are separated by an access aisle.
• shipment receiving. the floor (and vice versa), reserve at
least 2.5 meters times (×) the length of DETERMINE SHIPMENT
TRUCK DOCKING REQUIREMENTS the designated shipping/receiving area AND RECEIVING STAGING
Space requirements for docking trucks, (usually the length of the warehouse) REQUIREMENTS
within or adjacent to the warehouse, for this activity. If, however, you are Sometimes, warehouse managers allocate
are usually predefined. Normally, using powered material handling a specific space to process receipts
trucks are docked in one of two ways: equipment, reserve at least 3.5 meters and a separate specific space to stage
Figure 1. Typical Layout for Receiving/Shipping Activities
• at a 90° angle to the dock

• at less than a 90° (usually a 45°)

angle to the dock.

When docking at a 90°angle, no space

is required. In an unusual case, when
the angle is less than 90°, the space
requirement is proportional to the
angle of delivery. If the angle is 45°,
the amount of space required for each
docking space is a triangular space ap-
proximately 4.25 meters (at entrance
to warehouse) × 3 meters × 3 meters.

The maneuvering space required for
shipping and receiving is the space
necessary to enter and exit the truck
and to move commodities between
the truck and the shipment staging
area or vice versa. The amount of
space in the warehouse needed to
exit and enter the truck depends on
whether or not a leveling device is
used, which lowers or raises the floor
of the warehouse to facilitate the
smooth movement of commodities
from the truck to the floor of the

8 |   G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
outgoing issues. Past experience is inspection of the commodities must commodities received/issued; (3) vol-
often used to determine the required be completed quickly. It also assumes ume (width × length × height) of the
staging size needed for these areas. that the shipments being staged for packaging used (e.g., carton, bundle,
delivery to customers must be staged wooden crate); (4) contents of each
Public-sector warehouses in develop- or delivered on that day. package (items per package); and (5)
ing country settings, especially medi- number of packages in the shipment.
cal stores, are usually very different.
In these settings, shipments are issued Step 3: Estimate Shipping 1. When using this method, first
to customers much more frequently and Receiving Staging gather all shipment lists for the
than supplies are received. Likewise, Requirements past year (or two years, if avail-
the size of the average receipt from a able). Review the receipts to iden-
supplier is often many times greater Three methods are used to estimate tify the date on which the ware-
than the size of the average shipment the space requirements for staging: house received the largest shipment
issued to a customer. Because of the or shipments, by volume. After
disparity between receipts and issues, 1. Complete data estimation method- checking the receipts, review the
there should be interchangeable ship- ology: Based on complete data on issues to identify the date on which
ment and receiving staging areas: i.e., receipts and issues being available the warehouse issued the largest
there should only be one combined for at least the past year (prefer- shipment/shipments, based on
shipment/receiving staging area. Do ably more). The data must include volume. Use the combination of
not separate shipping and receiving enough information on each ship- the largest receipt(s) and largest
areas on separate sides of a warehouse. ment received or issued to com- issue(s) to simulate the largest
pletely identify the commodities surge the warehouse can expect.
Determining the size of the receiving/ received or issued, the number of
shipment staging area can be the most cartons received or issued, and the Note: If the size of the largest ship-
difficult part of planning the layout volume of these cartons. ment and/or largest receipt is expect-
of a warehouse. It is important to ed to grow significantly in the near
be as accurate as possible when you 2. Partial data estimation method- future, incorporate this information
estimate the size of the area. If you ology: When complete data on when estimating the needs for the
allocate too little space, stock from receipts/issues are not available, surge period.
arriving shipments will probably fill but data on overall amounts issued
storage aisles before it can be put or received during the year are, or 2. For the second step, use the data
away. If you allocate too much space, can be, readily estimated for all from step one to calculate the
you may not have enough room on medium-to high turnover items. total volume of the receipts/issues
the available racks to store all the To use this method, estimate the expected during the surge period.
commodities that require storage. dimensions for most of the cartons Table 1 shows how to calculate the
and the approximate number of total volume if you only have one
To develop an accurate estimate of individual receipts and issues that receipt with three commodities and
space requirements for the staging took place during the year. one issue with two commodities
area, the estimation process should during the surge period. An actual
take place during a surge period. 3. Data-less estimation methodology: exercise would probably include
For these guidelines, a surge period When you must guess the space one—or perhaps two—receipts that
occurs when the largest known or needs because you have little or no contain numerous commodities and
expected carrier arrival is received on information available to make a several issues, with each containing
the same day as the largest known or decision. many commodities.
expected shipments are being staged
for customers. COMPLETE DATA ESTIMATION 3. After you determine the total
METHODOLOGY volume in cubic meters of ship-
It is assumed that during the surge When data are complete or nearly ments received/issued during the
period, the commodities received complete on shipments received and surge period, you can estimate
from a supplier must enter the shipments issued, you can accurately the number of pallets that will be
warehouse—they cannot remain at estimate the staging space require- required to hold the commodities,
customs or elsewhere on the ware- ments. The information includes the simultaneously, in the staging area.
house grounds—and any required (1) date of receipt/issue; (2) identity of The number of pallets will be equal

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 9
Table 1. Sample Worksheet for Estimating Shipment Receiving and
Staging Space Requirements: Complete Data Method
Type of Date of Commodity Total Amount Number of Size of Cartons per Number of
Transaction Transaction Amount per Carton Cartons Carton One Cubic One Cubic
Meter Meter Pallets

Receipt 4 October 2004 Amitriptyline 2,000,000 20,000 100 .5 m x 32 4

Tablet, 25 mg .25 m x
.25 m

Receipt 4 October 2004 Erythromycin, 5,000,000 25,000 200 .5 m x 16 13

Tablet, 250 m .5 m x
.25 m

Receipt 4 October 2004 Chloramphenicol, 10,000,000 25,000 400 .5 m x 16 25

Vial, 1 gm .5 m x
.25 m

Issue 4 October 2004 Amitriptyline, 200,000 20,000 10 .5 m x 8 2

Tablet, 25 mg .5 m x
.5 m

Issue 4 October 2004 Erythromycin, 1,000,000 25,000 40 .5 m x 16 3

Tablet, 250 mg .5 m x
.25 m

Total 4 October 2004 47

Note: Number of one-meter pallets required must be rounded up to next highest number.

to the number of cubic meters, • Total numbers—given in tablets, estimate the average number per
because each pallet typically holds pieces, vials, etc.—received and workday or workweek and extrapo-
about one cubic meter of goods. issued during the past year (or two, late to one work year.
Thus, the area required to stage if possible) for most or all com-
these commodities is equal to the modities kept in the warehouse Based on the previously mentioned data,
number of pallets (given in square during this period. It is especially it is possible to estimate the volume of
meters). It would be prudent to important to include high-turnover each commodity in the average receipt
add a few extra square meters items. You can probably ignore and issue. These volumes can be aggre-
to the overall estimate of space very low-inventory items. gated to produce the overall volume that
required for staging; because not all would have to be staged on an average
pallets are exactly one square meter • Capacity and dimensions of the issuing day that happens to fall on the
in size, and some space must be left standard packaging for each of same day that an average-sized ship-
between the pallets. these items—e.g., 50,000 tablets ment is received. Table 2 shows how
in a carton .5 meters × .5 meters × the overall volume was calculated in a
USING PARTIAL DATA .25 meters. These numbers are on case where the average receipt contained
ESTIMATION METHODOLOGY the current packaging used in the three commodities; and the average
You can estimate, with reasonable warehouse. number of issues, on a given day,
accuracy, the space requirements for was one issue with two commodities.
staging if detailed information on • Estimate of the total number of An actual exercise would probably
receipt and issue shipment contents shipments received and the total include one (or perhaps two) receipt(s)
is not available, but overall amounts number of shipments issued dur- containing numerous commodities
of each (or most) commodity received ing the appropriate workdays. and several issues, each holding many
and issued is known or can Warehouse staff should be able to commodities.
be estimated. provide this information. Receipts
should be infrequent enough that After calculating the total volume in
This method requires the following the total number during the past cubic meters, you can estimate the
information: year can be quickly estimated. number of pallets that will be required
For issues, it might be easier to to hold the commodities, simultane-

10 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Table 2. Sample Worksheet for Estimating Shipment Receiving and
Staging Space Requirements: Complete Data Method
Type of Commodity Total Yearly Aver age Average Amount Number of Size of Cartons per Number of
Transaction Amount Number of Amount per Carton Cartons Carton One Cubic One Cubic
Received / Receipts / in a Meter Meter Pallets
Issued II ss ss uueess Receipt/
Receipt / Required
ppere r YeaYe arr Issue
Receipt Amitriptyline 10,000,000 5 2,000,000 20,000 100 .5 m x 32 4
Tablet, 25 mg .25 m x
.25 m

Receipt Erythromycin, 25,000,000 5 5,000,000 25,000 200 .5 m x 16 13

Tablet, 250 m .5 m x
.25 m

Receipt Chloramphenicol, 30,000,000 3 10,000,000 25,000 400 .5 m x 16 25

Vial, 1 gm .5 m x
.25 m

Issue Amitriptyline, 8,000,000 40 200,000 20,000 10 .5 m x 8 2

.5 m x
.5 m

Issue Erythromycin, 20,000,000 20 1,000,000 25,000 40 .5 m x 16 3

Tablet, 250 mg .5 m x
.25 m

Total 47

Note: Number of one-meter pallets required must be rounded up to next highest number.

ously, in the staging area. The number increased—a 50 percent increase may within the shipment and receiving
of pallets will be equal to the number be reasonable. staging area. This space provides ac-
of cubic meters, because each pallet cess from the dock to other parts of
usually holds about one cubic meter USING DATA-LESS the warehouse—most important, the
of goods. Thus, the area required to ESTIMATION METHODOLOGY storage area. The width of this aisle
stage these commodities will be equal In cases where the warehouse is a new depends on whether traffic will be
to the number of pallets—given in facility and/or data on receipts/issues unidirectional (one way) or bidirec-
square meters. It may be prudent to are not available, it will be necessary tional (two way). Because commodi-
add a few extra square meters to the to use a rule-of-thumb to determine ties should be placed in the staging
overall estimate of space required for how much of the warehouse to area from one end and removed from
staging, because not all pallets can allocate to staging. In general, the the opposite end, a unidirectional
be stacked perfectly or placed exactly warehouse staging area should take aisle should be sufficient. The width
adjacent to one another. up at least 10 percent of the ware- of this aisle should be about 2.5
house’s total space, but never more meters, if you use manual material
In most cases, the partial data meth- than 40 percent. handling equipment; and at least 3.5
od will produce a reasonable estimate meters, if you use motorized material
of the space requirements for staging. Estimating the amount of space to handling equipment.
Because the issue and receipt staging allocate in these situations will de-
areas are interchangeable, most or pend on how much control you have CONSIDER OTHER SPACE
all, of the allocated space can accom- over the carrier arrivals: i.e., to what REQUIREMENTS ASSOCIATED
modate an unusually large receipt degree can the warehouse specify ex- WITH SHIPPING AND RECEIVING
and vice versa. Occasionally, however, actly when a truck carrying incoming The shipping and receiving ac-
an unusually large receipt will arrive commodities can deliver its load? In tivities—and most other warehouse
on the same day that unusually large these cases, use the guidelines in table activities—need a dispatching area
issues are being staged. If for this 3 to estimate space requirements. for processing information and for
situation, it is likely to occur several dispatching personnel to fulfill vari-
times per year, the estimated space Note: It is important to maintain, at ous tasks; e.g., to unload, put, pick,
requirements for staging should be all times, an aisle space somewhere or load items. This area usually has a

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 11
Table 3. Estimation of Staging Space Requirements Although cross-docking is not
Degree of Control of Arrivals Percentage of Warehouse for Staging (%) evaluated in this manual, in some
Complete control 10 to 20
warehouses, it is a major part of the
receiving/issuing activity. If cross-
Some control 20 to 30 docking is likely to become part of
No control 30 to 40 your requirements, you may need to
estimate its space requirements and
establish a separate area in the store
number of tables set aside for micro- In addition to the dispatching for this purpose.
computers and associated equipment. area, you may need to allocate a
Sometimes, the dispatching area is set amount of space to hold empty
located in a walled office, although pallets. The number of empty pal- Step 4: Determine Space
more often it is located in an open lets should only slightly exceed the Requirements for an Ideal
area within the receiving/shipping number of empty rack locations. Layout for Storage and
section of the warehouse. Consequently, to hold empty pallets,
you should allocate a minimum area
The dispatching section of the receiv- of 2.5 meters × 1.25 meters of the The most difficult task in layout
ing/shipping area should require a receiving/shipping area. planning is estimating the space
minimum area of approximately 2.5 requirements and layout for storage
meters × 3.5 meters. and retrieval; to do this, you must
complete a number of separate

The following summarizes the expected space requirements for shipping stored.
and receiving:
n Truck docking. If trucks dock at 90° angle, no space is required. Other-
• Establish a material storage
wise, a triangular area measuring 4.25 meters wide (at the entrance method for each commodity.
to the warehouse) × 3 meters × 3 meters will be required for each
docking space. • Estimate the total volumetric
n Leveling for loading/unloading. If leveling devices are used, each device
requirements for each commodity.
will require an area approximately 3 meters deep × 3 meters wide.
• Identify physical warehouse
n Maneuvering for loading/unloading. If manual material handling equipment
is used, an area 2.5 meters deep by the width of the designated receiving/
shipping area is required. If motorized material handling equipment is
used, an area 3.5 meters deep by the width of the receiving/shipping • Generate an ideal layout using
area is required. selective pallet racks and bin shelving.
n Staging. The space required for staging can be anywhere from 10 to
40 percent of the entire warehouse. Section B provides methods for • Determine when and how to con-
estimating staging space requirements. sider alternative layouts.
n Dispatching. If the warehouse does not have a dedicated walled
office to house the dispatcher and dispatching computer(s), an area
• Develop methodologies for storing
2.5 meters × 3.5 meters is usually required. commodities in a given layout.
n Storage for empty pallets. An area 2.5 meters × 1.25 meters is
usually required.
See figure 2 for a layout of shipping and receiving activities in a fictional With layout planning for storage/
warehouse. In this example, there are four 90° docks; level, motorized retrieval, the easiest task may be defining
material handling equipment is used on each dock. There are two staging
the commodities to be stored. You
areas (one for shipping and one for receiving); the dispatching area is located
within the receiving/shipment staging area; and the maximum space re- have a complete list of commodities
quirement for the staging area is about 30 percent of the warehouse. that are either already in the warehouse
or will be procured in the future. In

12 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
some cases, predicting the types of each stockkeeping unit (SKU) is ESTIMATE THE TOTAL
products to be procured in the future always stored in a specific location. VOLUMETRIC REQUIREMENTS
may be a problem; however, most No other SKU is stored in that loca- FOR EACH COMMODITY
mature health programs know what tion even if the location is empty. In After each commodity has been clas-
items are or will be needed. fluid-location storage, any SKU can sified by storage area and method—
be assigned to any free location. fixed versus fluid—you can estimate
Each commodity to be stored must the total volumetric storage require-
be defined as follows: It is possible to have both fixed and ments for each commodity.
fluid systems operating in a ware-
1. description of the commodity—the house simultaneously. In fact, this For each item to be stored on shelves
name should be unique to pre- arrangement is sometimes preferable in a fixed-location, it is usually appro-
vent confusion with other com- when a warehouse contains different priate to assign either one-half of one
modities; it is also necessary to types of storage systems. A typical ar- shelf or one shelf to store each item.
define a stockkeeping unit: e.g., rangement would call for most bulk Most warehouses will label the shelf
paracetamol 500 mg, bottle of supplies to be stored on pallets and according to the item or items stored
1,000 tablets loose items to be stored on shelves. on it. High turnover items should be
Use a fixed-location system for items assigned one entire shelf, while low
2. number of stockkeeping units per stored on shelves; use a fluid-location turnover items should be assigned
standard packing unit: e.g., 25 bottles system for the pallets stored on the 50 percent of one shelf. In some
per box pallet racks. unusual cases, it may be necessary to
assign more than one shelf because
3. volumetric dimensions of standard The volume of the inventory of of a combination of high turnover
packing unit: length × width × height each item would dictate the storage and large order size, otherwise too
method for that item. See table 4 to much time will be spent replenish-
4. number of standard packing units determine the storage method for a ing the shelves with stock from bulk
per one cubic meter pallet. given commodity. storage. To estimate the total number
of shelves required, add the total
For items that will only be stored on Other storage arrangements are also number of shelves needed for each
shelves—because the average level of possible. For example, high-volume commodity.
stock is too small to require storage items that turn over quickly and have
on pallet racks—you only need to an issue pack size too large to fit on a Estimating the total number of pallets
describe the product (2, 3, and 4 are shelf—e.g., Ringer’s lactate and other required for bulk storage requires
not needed). IV solutions—can be kept entirely in additional information. If data are
bulk storage on pallets using a fluid available on average monthly issues
ESTABLISH A MATERIAL STORAGE system of storage. In any event, it is and the average inventory level for
METHOD FOR EACH COMMODITY important to identify the items to each commodity is either known
All commodities being stored in the be stored on pallets—using a fluid- or has been set by some authority,
warehouse should be categorized in location system—versus those to be you can divide the average inventory
one of two general methods—fixed stored on shelves—using a fixed- level—given in cartons—by the number
and fluid. In fixed-location storage, location system. of cartons that can be stored on a

Table 4. Storage Methods by Commodity Type

Type of Commodity Stor age Method Example Items
Low inventory items stored and Fixed Specialized medicines
issued in smaller packs (entire stock kept on shelves)
Bulky items stored and issued in Fluid Equipment
complete pallets (entire stock kept on pallets)
Items contained in large cartons Fixed (stock to be issued kept on Essential drugs that are issued
stored on pallets but issued in shelves) and fluid (bulk stock by bottles or small packs;
smaller packs kept on pallets) condoms

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 13
Table 5. Sample Worksheet for Estimating Bulk Storage
Space Requirements Based on Complete Data
Commodity Average Average or Average Number of Size of Cartons per Number of
Monthly Desired or Desired Cartons Carton One Cubic One Cubic
Issues Inventory Inventory Meter Meter
(includes expected Level Level Pallets
increase) (in months of stock) Required

Amitriptyline 1,500,000 6 9,000,000 450 .5 m x 32 15

Tablet, 25 mg .25 m x
.25 m

Erythromycin, 2,500,000 3 7,500,000 300 .5 m x 16 19

Tablet, 250 mg .5 m x
.25 m

Chloramphenicol, 3,000,000 5 15,000,000 600 .5 m x 16 38

Vial, 1 gm .5 m x
.25 m

Total 72

Note: Number of one-meter pallets required must be rounded up to next highest number.

single cubic meter pallet to estimate these cases. The warehouse storage GENERATE AN IDEAL LAYOUT
the number of pallets required for area can be from 60 to 90 percent of USING SELECTIVE PALLET RACKS
each commodity. This number can the warehouse’s total space. AND BIN SHELVING
then be added to determine the total After determining the amount of shelving
number of pallets to be stored in the IDENTIFY PHYSICAL WAREHOUSE and number of racks required to store
warehouse. If desired, this total value CONSTRAINTS TO ACTUALIZING, the warehouse commodities, you can
can be multiplied by some factor COMPLETING, AND FINALIZING prepare a tentative layout based on
representing the expected increase in STORAGE/RETRIEVAL LAYOUT available floor space for storage and
volume due to increased warehouse Some warehouses have fixed obstacles any existing constraints. It is advisable
issues, over some period of time in the that constrain the placement of pallet to begin the storage layout planning
future. See table 5 for an example of a racks and shelves, such as building phase by drafting a layout of selective
warehouse that holds only three items. support columns, stairwells, elevator or standard pallet racks and bin
shafts, sprinkler system apparatus, shelving. Selective pallet racks provide
If average inventory levels cannot heating and air-conditioning equip- the greatest flexibility and are accept-
be determined because the monthly ment. These objects can affect the able storage for fluid locator systems.
issues data are not available, you may successful use of material handling Bin shelving can be used to implement
need to estimate how much of the equipment. It is, therefore, important a fixed locator system.
warehouse to allocate for storage, based to map the location of all fixed ob-
on the size of the desired inventory stacles prior to completing a layout of Some, or all, of the bin shelving is
level. The higher the desired inventory racks and shelves for storing/retriev- usually placed closest to the staging
level, the more space will be required. ing commodities. area. This allows personnel to quickly
Use the following guidelines in table pick items to be packaged in the stag-
6 to estimate space requirements in ing area. Because most of the stock
on the bin shelves will be routinely
replenished from stock kept on pallets
Table 6. To Estimate Space Requirements in the selective pallet racking system,
Desired Inventory Level Percentage of Total Warehouse Space ideally, both sides of the bin shelving
Dedicated for Storage (%)
should have easy access—one side for
Low 60 to 70 picking and one side for replenishing.
Medium 70 to 80
It is advisable to separate the bin
High 80 to 90
shelving into two sections, with an

14 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
aisle between the shelving. The aisle Figure 2. Sample Layout Using
Selective Pallet Racks and Bin Shelving
will have more direct access to the
pallet racks from the staging area.
Figure 2 shows a typical layout for
bin shelving and pallet racks.

The placement of the selective

pallet racks depends on the
following factors:

• total number of pallet racks required

to store the desired inventory

• ceiling height of the warehouse

• aisle space required by the

material handling equipment.

The total number of selective pallet

racks required is dictated by the average
number of pallets to be stored. The
aisles between the pallet racks must
be wide enough to accommodate the apply as with pallet racks, aisles must
selected material handling equipment. be wide enough to accommodate the
See appendix 3—Material Handling selected material handling equip-
Equipment—for typical aisle widths ment. With pallet stacking, aisle
for each type of handling equipment). width can usually be much narrower,
The racks are normally placed in therefore allowing more space in the
rows, with each row running from warehouse to be utilized for storage.
the front to the back of the ware- More information on pallet stacking
house. Cross aisles are often inserted is described in appendix 2.
in each row at 15-meter intervals.

If, after laying out the racks, signifi-

cant free space is left in the storage Figure 3. Sample Layout Using Pallet
area, that space should remain Stacking and Bin Shelving
unstructured. This will enable ware-
house management to easily install
additional racks if they are required
at a future date. When the volume
of inventory and, consequently, the
number of pallets, is not precisely
known, purchase selective pallet racks
to fill the area of the warehouse set
aside for storage.

If pallet racks are not available to use

or your warehouse is too small or
ceiling is too low to accommodate
pallet racks, Figure 3 shows a sample
layout using pallet stacking and bin
shelving. Again the same principles

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 15
Step 5: Establish a Realistic losses; only consider this if other ABC METHODOLOGY
methods fail to free up adequate In most warehouses, a large percent-
Layout by Reconciling space. age of throughput is attributable to
Space Requirements with a small percentage of commodities.
Existing Constraints • Reduce space allocated for receiv- In most cases, about 75 percent of
ing/shipping. This methodology, throughput is attributable to 15 per-
As stated before, the amount of described earlier in this section, cent of items (often called A items),
space available and how the space is does not consider the possibility another 15 percent of throughput is
arranged are critical to creating an of storing pallets one on top of attributable to 15 percent of items
efficient warehouse. However, many another. Though this is not ideal, (often called B items), and the
existing warehouse facilities are faced in many cases, it is possible to remaining 10 percent of throughput
with constraints that make warehouse store light-weight pallets on top is attributable to 70 percent of items
space and layout design a challenge. of heavy-weight pallets without (often called C items). ABC method-
Step 5 suggests ways to overcome damaging the contents of the lower ology states that A items should be
existing warehousing constraints: pallet. As much as half of all pallets located in an area of the warehouse
can be stored one on top of the with the most productive material
• when and how to consider other, if necessary. handling; A items should be placed
alternative layouts as close as possible to the staging area
Note: It is not advisable to store me- and should be easily accessible. All C
• methodologies for storing dium- or heavy-weight pallets on top items should be placed in the back of
commodities. of each other. the store or in two-deep pallet racks,
if they are available.
DETERMINE WHEN AND HOW TO • Use different material handling
CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE LAYOUTS equipment. Some material handling One word of caution when using the
It is possible that the warehouse will equipment requires a larger turning ABC methodology: although A items
not be able to accommodate the radius than others. For example, an should be placed closest to the stag-
ideal layout because of warehouse electric lift truck (sit-down) usually ing area, they should not be placed so
size limitations. In these cases, you requires more aisle space to maneu- close together that congestion from
must consider alternative layouts. ver than an electric lift truck (stand- picking results. Space all items as
You can manage this situation in up). Switching from one type of evenly as possible.
many ways, without installing a new material handling equipment to
racking scheme. another may reduce aisle space SIMILARITY METHODOLOGY
requirements. For more details on In some cases, items that are com-
A few methods include— the turning radius of forklifts, see monly shipped together should be
the Racking and Material Handling stored near each other. For family
• Change the desired inventory level. Equipment section. planning programs, this might mean
The average inventory level used that contraceptives should be stored
to determine the volume require- After you use the previously mentioned in a similar location within the ware-
ments to store the commodities methods to free up space, and there is house. Any other group of items that
is based on a desired buffer stock. still not enough room to accommodate are shipped together should also be
It may be possible to reduce the the expected inventory, you may need stored close together.
desired buffer stock without jeop- to consider expanding the existing
ardizing the warehouse’s ability to space or look for warehousing space at SIZE METHODOLOGY
fill orders. Lowering the desired an alternative location. The size methodology states that
inventory level can dramatically heavy and bulky items, which might
affect the space requirements. CONSIDER METHODOLOGIES include heavy furniture and equip-
FOR STORING COMMODITIES IN A ment, should be stored close to the
• Eliminate unnecessary aisle space. GIVEN LAYOUT point of shipping to minimize the ef-
If cross aisles were included in After a layout has been adopted, it is fort and cost of handling them. It also
the ideal layout, you may be able advisable to adopt a plan for stor- suggests that these items should be
to eliminate some or all of them. ing commodities on the racks and stored as close to the floor as possible.
Eliminating all cross aisles may shelves. Many methodologies can be
result in unacceptable productivity used to store commodities.

16 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
PRODUCT CHARACTERISTIC Estimating space requirements for possible to use this as the basis for
METHODOLOGY items that are not usable is directly the maximum volume. Note that
Some commodities have certain related to the wastage rate at the this assumes that any commodities
characteristics that dictate how warehousing facility. Wastage can occur found expired or damaged during
and where they should be stored from expiration or damage—any action the physical inventory were removed
within the warehouse. Temperature that results in commodities unsafe to from the warehouse before the next
is one of the most important of consume. Data on wastage is normally physical inventory account. If this
these characteristics. In tropical maintained in the losses/adjustments is not true, use the estimates of how
environments, certain medicines column of stock records or, if automaton much of the wasted stock remains in
degrade under hot conditions. For is used, in a table that contains losses the warehouse and how long it has
this reason, these medicines should and adjustments information. been there.
be placed in either a cold room or
temperature-controlled area of the If accurate data on wastage is available, In some warehouses, you may also
warehouse. Each commodity should it is possible to determine when com- need to make special arrangements to
be analyzed closely to determine modities were wasted and temporar- hold the following items if they can-
its appropriate placement, given its ily stored at the warehouse during the not be stored offsite:
temperature requirements. past year or two. If information on
removal of the unusable items is also • trash, including empty cartons,
It may also be desirable to place available, you may be able to deter- binding materials, broken pallets,
either high-value or controlled sub- mine the length of time these items and packing materials
stances in the same location within remained in the warehouse before re-
the warehouse so that they can be moval. It is then possible to construct • broken or unusable equipment and
secured or put in isolated storage. a simple table with five columns: furniture.
name of commodity, amount, esti-
In summary, any number of the stor- mated volume, date of wastage, and You must consider space requirements
age methodologies can and should be date of removal. for trash; otherwise, trash can result
combined to improve the productiv- in congestion and loss of productivity.
ity of the warehouse. It is important From this data, you can determine The most significant, and, in many
to give serious thought to selecting the maximum volume of unusable cases, the only significant trash is
the optimal combination for the items kept in the warehouse at any corrugated box material. For these
greatest warehouse efficiency. one time by sorting the table on date guidelines, it is assumed that all but
of wastage and then plotting each the largest corrugated boxes received
row of the table—batch of unusable from suppliers are reused to package
Step 6: Determine Space Re- items—on a chart similar to a Gantt shipments to customers, and they are
quirements and Ideal Layout chart. The chart should clearly show used at roughly the same rate as they
for Storing Unusable Items the batches of unusable items that are received. However, it is possible that
were in the warehouse at the same large corrugated boxes will accumulate
When planning the space require- time. The sum of the volumes of and take up a significant amount space;
ments for storing unusable commod- these batches represents the maxi- it is unlikely that they will be used for
ities, remember that you may have mum volume of unusable items that repackaging. However, in most cases,
more unusable commodities than can be expected to be stored in the a 1 meter × 1 meter section should be
you expect. The amount of space warehouse at any given time. large enough to hold a large number
depends on the policy for removal/ of broken-down corrugated boxes.
disposal and whether unusable items If you do not have data on losses/
can be safely kept outside the ware- adjustments and removal of unusable A NOTE FOR NEW
house. For this manual, it is assumed items, or if the data are unreliable, WAREHOUSE DESIGN
that all unusable pharmaceutical or you will need to rely on the memory When designing a new warehouse it
medical supplies must be kept in of warehouse staff to estimate the is important to build and lay out the
a special section of the warehouse maximum volume of unusable items space in the most efficient way possible.
until you can determine their final at any one time. If warehouse staff As shown in figure 1, the main ware-
disposition; therefore, you need to explain that the only significant house space should have the receiving
designate this type of section for the wastage data is available during and shipping area, as well as the main
warehouse. physical inventory counts, it may be storage area.

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 17
Space and areas that serve the follow-
ing functions usually do not require
the high ceilings normally found in a
warehouse and should not usually be
included in the main warehouse.

• office space

• flammable storage—should always

be away from main building

• cold storage

• restrooms.

By locating these areas off to the side

of the main warehouse, storage space
in the main warehouse will increase,
and the material flow throughout the
warehouse will also increase.

18 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Section C: • ability to adjust if the warehouse scale storage facility. Steel shelving
Warehouse needs to expand. consists of basic sections that can
be accessed from the floor and
Equipment used to store a variety of products.
Storage Systems
3. Stacking, the most basic form of a
Overview The main justification for storage storage system, consists of placing
systems—pallet racks, shelving/bins, boxes one on top of another in an
Warehouse managers are responsible etc.—is to make optimum use of organized way. Preferably, com-
for all aspects of materials manage- the building space. Whatever type modities stored with this method
ment, including a total systems of measurement is used, incorrectly are placed on top of a pallet to
approach to plan, acquire, store, calculated storage space requirements keep them off the ground and
move, and control the inventory of can contribute to poor utilization away from water and dust.
materials. To complete these essential and result in space shortages and
warehouse operations, materials must increased warehousing costs. Con- To learn more about storage systems
be well-organized, including equip- versely, creating a more compact area equipment characteristics, options
ment, such as racking systems and for warehouse operations usually and appropriate use, please see ap-
material handling tools. reduces picking and traveling time, as pendix 2—Pallet Stacking, Shelving,
well as energy costs related to lighting and Pallet Racking.
The following criteria are typically and climate control.
used to select warehouse equipment:
In addition to making optimum Storage System Planning
• type of warehouse building, use of space, racking and shelving Considerations
including size, design, and desired systems also provide simplicity and
physical movement of products organization of materials and ware- Any major investment related to a
house operations. warehouse facility should be accom-
• type and variety of products and panied by a long-range strategic plan.
load sizes—largest and smallest— In general, there are three common Before presenting information on
stored in the facility types of storage systems used in pub- the different types of storage systems,
lic health warehouses: pallet racks, managers should review a number
• total volume—inventory levels—to shelving, and simple pallet stacking. of important considerations and
be handled by the facility parameters.
1. Pallet racks are strong and can handle
• unique handling requirements: large products, as well as small, Issues to consider before purchasing
barrels, single units, flammable lightweight products, such as storage equipment include—
most essential drugs and HIV and
• degree of equipment flexibility AIDS products—antiretroviral • volume: size and weight of loads
needed for different uses drugs, HIV test kits, etc.—and
reproductive health commodities. • variability in pallets/containers:
• human resources using the equip- Today, pallet racks can be used in type, condition, dimensions, and
ment, including the number of storage systems for single-level or weight
employees, skill level, training multi-level structures; they can
needs, and language constraints also be used to store single items • equipment clearance: standard
or palletized loads and other types height of equipment and height
• equipment maintenance and servicing of containers. Additionally, rack of equipment extensions, such as
availability in facility location, in- structures provide access for order- forklifts and load heights
cluding new, used, and spare parts; picking case lots or individual
availability of trained mechanics pallets. • building dimensions

• equipment cost, including new, 2. Shelving is usually easy to assemble • warehouse floor conditions
used, and replacement equipment and simple to use; they are the
foundation of any small- and large- • required accessibility to commodities.

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 19
VOLUME metal pallets, fiberglass, cardboard • Do doorways and loading/unload-
You should first consider inventory cartons with wooden pallets attached? ing ramps pose needless dangers to
volume before purchasing a storage people, equipment, and products?
system. For many warehouse facilities • What other types of pallets or
and their products, inventory levels cartons will be used in day-to-day WAREHOUSE FLOORS
are constantly changing. Products may warehouse operations? In most situations, floors were in
be added or subtracted from the prod- place long before anyone thought
uct mix; product sizes and weights No matter what type of pallet or about putting in a racking system. As
may change. Fluctuating invento- carton a facility is using, you should, mentioned earlier under the infra-
ries or the inventory mix can create at least, have a relatively clear idea of structure category, if rack equipment
many challenges for the warehouse the largest dimensions and weights is to be configured on existing floors,
manager. A recent change in policy, of the pallets, cartons, or boxes that the existing cement or floor surface
for example, may require a facility will be stored before purchasing the material—as well as the material and
to carry new products (for example, racking equipment. supporting structures beneath the sur-
HIV and AIDS commodities), which face—must be thoroughly inspected. A
can suddenly affect product mix and EQUIPMENT AND BUILDING qualified engineer must check the floor
inventory volume levels. Additionally, CLEARANCE (DIMENSIONS) or slab design and the load (weight) of
seasonal changes may also have an You need to review the load and the rack post on the floor. A thorough
impact on warehouse products and its equipment clearance requirements floor analysis can prevent sustained
operations; for example, malaria inter- thoroughly. Load and equipment floor damage from occurring, as well as
vention products, which are needed clearances should address or reference protect people and products.
more during the rainy season. height and width for aisles, doors,
loading docks, ceilings, and any ACCESSIBILITY TO COMMODITIES
The facility’s products and volume external areas that equipment and The type of storage system is governed
will help guide and determine the products will need to pass through, by the need to access commodities.
type of racks and/or shelves needed. both inside and outside the facil- In general, public health warehousing
To prevent overloading, select racks ity. Again, throughout the planning has a large variety of SKUs, with batch
based on the specifications of the process, you need to ask and review numbers and expiration requirements.
heaviest load; which can cause fundamental equipment questions, For this reason having access to each
injuries to warehouse staff, fracture which include the following: pallet or box is usually preferred.
structural racks, and damage the
products. Human safety and product • When considering the clearance
safety are the highest priority dur- needed for fire protection—sprin- Material Handling
ing and after the planning process. klers, etc.—are there mandatory Equipment
Facility managers are responsible for legal fire protocols that must be
regularly conducting facility safety followed—height from ceiling, Today, with improved technology,
reviews and safety reviews for internal number of sprinklers/per cubic modern material handling equipment
equipment. foot, and placement and number has become more complex. But not
of fire extinguishers? Extinguishers every warehouse needs the most so-
PALLETS/CARTONS placed on facility support columns phisticated and modern equipment,
Another consideration before pur- could reduce aisle or floor space. which will require greater initial
chasing storage equipment is the costs, higher maintenance, and train-
pallet or type of carton or box that • Have all the various pieces of ing. Extensive research and analysis
the facility will use for its products equipment used within the facility is needed before the final equipment
and warehouse operations. Relevant area—inside and outside—been selection is made, based on what is
questions include— checked for dimensions and the actually required in the warehouse.
data collected for analysis?
• Does the facility use wooden pallets As discussed earlier, to ensure that
and, if so, what is the range of • What issues, if any, do building the warehouse design will work
dimensions encountered/used? columns present, and do doorways together as a whole, look at storage
have the necessary clearance re- systems and material handling equip-
• Does the facility receive a variety quirements for safe passage of both ment in parallel with all aspects of
of different types of pallets: wood, equipment and people? the planning stages. A functional and

20 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
well-run warehouse system should be • What are the different degrees • Will the equipment be used out-
treated like a carefully designed and of physical abilities and depth side the facility; if so, what is the
properly integrated unit. Warehouse perception that certain high-lifts type of surface and landscape, and
systems need to operate together so and some larger equipment may what other challenges might the
the overall performance is smooth, ef- require? operator of the equipment encounter?
ficient, and safe. This section includes
more information about the planning • What is the severity of fatigue • What is the condition of the facil-
process, and also presents the char- caused by operating the equipment? ity’s floors; do the floors have load
acteristics of the material handling limits?
mechanisms of a warehouse system. MECHANICAL VARIABLES
• Travel distance—If looking at an • How effective is the ventilation
The planning process can be de- electric truck, determine the ability inside the facility? Which lift truck
manding, but time spent in planning of the battery to sustain an eight- is best—gas or electric?
can educate all concerned about hour shift.
the challenges to be faced, and can • What is the overhead clearance
provide direction and a vision for a • Physical characteristics of the (ceiling/roof ) of the facility—min-
facility’s operation that will produce equipment—Determine the maxi- imum and maximum?
long-term benefits by ensuring that mum lift capacity, stocking heights
your facility has the right equipment. of certain equipment, speed, op- • What is the height of the doorway
erator comfort, turning radius, etc. or other passages that the equip-
ment needs to pass through?
General Selection Criteria to • Required maintenance schedules—
Determine Material Handling Determine the amount of time the • What is the height of the vehicle?
Equipment Needs equipment will be unavailable be-
cause of routine service maintenance. • Are the existing racking system,
With the variety of complex equip- as well as other storage systems—
ment on the market today, it is not a • What are the safety features of the bins, shelving, etc.—compatible
simple assignment to select a forklift equipment? Do they meet specific with the material handling equip-
or any other type of material han- needs of the warehouse? ment?
dling equipment. The average user
or warehouse management team OPERATIONAL VARIABLES • What aisle width is required?
can easily be overwhelmed. A good • Traffic patterns of equipment and
starting point in specifying material staff—What is the anticipated vol- • If the lift will enter a truck, what
handling equipment is to review and ume of product, human congestion, are the dimensions of the truck?
examine the following criteria: and width of aisle and loading docks.
• Where is the nearest dealer located?
• Human—Who are the personnel • Type of surface or floors—What
that will be using the equipment? is the impact of the size of equip- • Will spare and new parts be avail-
ment, type of tires, and impact of able and at a reasonable cost?
• Mechanical—Which equipment the power plant capacity.
best fit the inventory and the ware- • Will the dealer be able to provide
house? • Operating hours—Is equipment on-site technical assistance and
necessary during picking or replen- training?
• Operational—What are the oper- ishment, or both?
ating conditions in the warehouse? • What is the cost of the equipment?
• What is the load—including the
Major variables within each of these physical properties of the product • What is the availability of fuel for
criteria include the following: to be handled—height, weight, internal combustion or electricity
overall dimensions? for battery-powered vehicles?
• What degree of skill is required to • What is the type and condition of • How many hours will the equip-
operate a forklift or other material the physical structure—building— ment be used per day/week?
handling equipment? where the equipment will be used?

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 21
While this list is not complete, it does
address some key variables that impact
the equipment selection process.

In addition to the selection criteria

listed, an appropriate operator train-
ing and certification program must
be incorporated into the planning
process. One of the most important
components in the selection process
is to consider all safety features and
training strategies before making
a purchase. A safe speed for a fork
truck is much more important than
the maximum speed. To maximize
return on investment, lift truck op-
erators must be trained in the correct
use of the equipment. If a lift truck
and other material handling equip-
ment are not used in a safe, efficient
way, workers can be seriously injured;
and product, equipment, and facility
structures can be damaged. Training
will prevent most of these situa-
tions. Most of the major lift truck
manufactures offer driver’s training
programs—included in the purchase
package—that can be tailored to
specific models of lift equipment.

To learn more about the different

types of material handling equipment,
such as pallet lift trucks and their op-
tions and features, see appendix 3—
Material Handling Equipment.

22 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Section D: for better material handling It is not necessary to store flam-
Special Storage flow in the main warehouse. mables below their flash point, but it
is very important to store them in the
Requirements coolest location possible and never
Secure Storage in direct sunlight. It is important
to control the evaporation rate and
Cold Storage All medical warehouses should have avoid the build-up of pressure.
a secure stor¬age area for products
Most public health warehouses that are likely to be stolen or abused,
need to have cold storage for certain or that need to be quarantined.
products. If the warehouse already has Commodities that are designated as
stand-alone or walk-in refrigerators or controlled substances, or high-value
cold rooms, or if cold storage will be items, such as ARV’s, should be
installed, ask the following questions: marked as such and kept in a secure
area. A locked cabinet or cupboard
• Is the size of the cold store facilities may be sufficient for some facilities,
adequate for the inventory? while other facilities may require a
larger vault or cage.
• Does the equipment have a
maintenance schedule? Is it being
followed? Are the refrigerators or Flammable Storage
cold rooms properly maintained?
Some flammable liquids commonly
- Long-term, setting up regularly found in public health warehousing
scheduled maintenance visits could include acetone, anesthetic ether, alco-
save money from costly repairs. hols (before dilution), and kerosene.

• Does the electricity shut off regularly? Store large supplies of flammables
in a separate location away from the
- Investigate obtaining solar main storage area, preferably outside
panels to either power the cold the building but on the premises,
storage full time or as a supple- and not less than 20 meters away
ment when the main electric from the other buildings. Never store
source is down. large supplies of flammables in the
same areas as medicines. Firefighting
- If solar isn’t an option, make equipment should be easily available.
sure a diesel or gas generator
with adequate capacity can Flammable liquids each have a flash
sustain the refrigerators/cold point, which is the minimum temperature
rooms. Budget for extra fuel at which the liquid gives off vapor in
for the generator. sufficient concentration to form an
ignitable mixture with the air near the
• Are the refrigerators/cold rooms surface of the liquid. The flash point
dispensing too much heat into the indicates the susceptibility to ignition.
warehouse? Are they taking up too
much room and are they interfer- • Acetone and anesthetic ether have
ing with the other storage? a flash point of –18°C.

- Consider relocating refrigerators/ • Undiluted alcohols have a flash

cold rooms to auxiliary rooms point of 18° to 23°C.
off the main warehouse, this
will remove the heat from the • Kerosene has a flash point of 23° to
larger storage area and allow 61°C.

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 23
Section E: Inventory Figure 4. Bin Card

Warehouses, clinics, and any facility
that stores products—including your
food pantry at home—need to have
an inventory management system to
determine when to order products,
how much to order, and how to
maintain an appropriate stock level
for all products to avoid shortages
and oversupply.

In general, there are two ways to

manage inventory in a warehouse:
manually or an automated system.

Manual Inventory
Public health warehouses commonly
use manual inventory systems, which
are hand-written stockkeeping
records, such as ledgers, stock cards,
and bin cards.

A manual system is organized accord-

ing to date and transaction reference,
which is the unique number of the BIN CARD Keep one inventory control card for each
corresponding transaction record for A bin card is an individual stock- product. The inventory control card
a receipt or issue, and/or the name of keeping record that contains infor- can summarize many bin cards for a
the facility from which products are mation about a single product, by particular product. For example, one
received and issued. They record re- lot or batch number (see figure 4). inventory control card could hold
ceipts; issues, losses, and adjustments; Every item in that lot has the same information about all the paracetamol
balance on hand; and, sometimes, expiration date. For example, one bin in a storage facility. It should note the
batch or lot numbers and expiry card could have information about a total stock on hand of paracetamol in
dates. They also record the date and single lot of paracetamol at a stor- the warehouse, as well as the record
results of physical inventories; i.e., age facility. The card should note the of losses and adjustments, without
when items are counted to verify the stock on hand for that lot only, as regard to lot number or where the
quantity in storage. well as any losses and adjustments product is located in the warehouse.
for that lot. Bin cards are usually See figure 5 for an example of an
Manual inventory management displayed on or at the bins—or shelf inventory control card. To ensure
methods are a low-cost, effective way or pallet position where the lot is that each lot is managed correctly, in
to manage inventory for a limited located. larger warehouses, which may have
number of SKUs, if the volume many lots of each product stored in
doesn’t reach an overwhelming INVENTORY CONTROL CARD different places, it is usually advisable
amount. An inventory control card is an indi- to maintain both inventory control
vidual stockkeeping record that holds cards and bin cards. In smaller store-
Primary elements of a manual inven- information about all the lots of a rooms, a single stockkeeping record,
tory system are— single product. such as a stock card or inventory
control card, would be sufficient.

24 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Figure 5. Inventory Control Card DO I REALLY NEED A WMS?
Not every warehouse needs a WMS.
Although most warehouses could bene-
fit from a computerized process, a cost/
benefit analysis would help managers
decide whether the benefits are enough
to justify the initial and ongoing costs.
Usually, the number of stockkeeping
units (SKUs) your facility or program
handles will be the deciding factor.
The larger the number of SKUs, or the
larger your order quantities, the more
likely it is that you need a WMS.


A WMS is primarily used to help
manage materials within a facility
and aids in processing the associated
transactions. When set up correctly, a
WMS should direct picking, replen-
ishment, and put-aways.


The tasks commonly supported by a
WMS include—

• Receiving: Receipt of products into

the warehouse, quality assurance
STORES LEDGER commodities are considered assets of for some products, and staging of
A stores ledger is a stockkeeping record the government and must be accounted products for put-away.
that contains the same information as for carefully. See figure 6.
the inventory control card. However, • Put-away: Placing products into
unlike inventory control cards, a storage locations after they have
stores ledger is bound like a book. In Automated Inventory been delivered to the warehouse.
some countries, government policy Management
requires the use of stores ledgers. • Replenishment: Moving products
As the quantity and volume of from secondary storage to primary
Managers may believe that ledgers products increase—either stored in or storage locations to facilitate picking.
increase accountability, because miss- moved through a warehouse—more
ing pages are obvious. However, the and more warehouse managers are • Picking/packing: Gathering the
ledger format is less desirable than turning to computerized warehouse products listed in a customer order
individual cards, because it is easy management systems (WMS) to keep and packaging them for shipment.
to run out of space for an individual track of inventory. These systems can
product and it is also difficult to add be a stand-alone software product, • Shipping: Loading packages onto
new products. Individual inventory or a module within an Enterprise transport for distribution to customers.
control cards can be alphabetically Resource Planning (ERP) system that
organized as new cards are added. includes the entire supply chain. • Management reporting: Compiling
In many countries, the Ministry of and presenting data on inventory
Finance determines the format of Before purchasing and implementing levels and locations, inventory aging,
stockkeeping records; all government a WMS, it is important to ask the customer orders, order fulfillment
units use the same format because following questions: rates, and purchase orders.

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 25
Figure 6. Stores Ledger training and system maintenance; this
(cover, table of contents, product page)
could be more than the labor saved
on the warehouse floor. As demands
increases, however, additional tools
could well offset the cost of hiring
additional staff to maintain the existing
levels of service.

Increase storage capacity. While a WMS

provides the tools to optimize what
and how goods are stored, which could
result in increased storage capacity;
this improvement will depend on
how disorganized the processes were
before the WMS.


Reduce your inventory. If you improve
the accuracy and efficiency in the
receiving process, you may reduce the
level of safety stock required, but the
impact will probably be negligible
compared to the overall inventory
• Cycle counting: Doing physical of all products in inventory; review levels. When you are extremely over-
inventories on a rotating basis, consumption rates per product and stocked, or have significant quantities
usually according to the value and per customer; identify commodities of expired products, the WMS can
throughput of each product or nearing expiry; and see the forecasted help you see your inventory and assist
physical location. demand, based on the current con- you with your inventory manage-
sumption of each product. ment. But, after operations return to
A WMS WILL— normal, it is unlikely that the WMS
Increase inventory accuracy. If set up Optimize space utilization. Many WMSs will help reduce your inventory. The
and used correctly, a WMS should be can inform warehouse personnel main factors that control inventory
able to specify where and how much about where to put away products levels are lot sizing, lead times, and
of each product you have in your in particular locations, based on the demand variability, which a WMS
facility. known dimensions of both the product will not impact.
and the available storage space, or a
Increase labor productivity. A WMS product’s previous location. WMS REPORTS
can increase labor productivity by WMS systems are able to generate
directing the tasks of warehouse per- Improve customer service. By increasing many different types of reports.
sonnel. It can also enable warehouse inventory accuracy and using direct Some, such as picking lists and
managers to plan for highs and lows picking, it should be possible to packing slips, are an essential part of
in warehouse labor, based on expect- respond to clients’ orders faster and routine warehouse operations. Other
ed tasks for a given time period. more accurately. reports enable warehouse managers
to monitor performance and identify
Reduce reporting time. By reducing A WMS COULD — potential inventory problems before
information errors, a WMS reduces Reduce labor costs. A WMS can improve they occur. Table 7 lists essential
the time and effort needed to gather labor efficiencies by significantly reducing WMS reports.
and compile data on inventory and the time spent on unproductive
customer orders; and report to officials, activities, such as looking for lost WHAT SHOULD YOU
donors, and other stakeholders. With products or shutting down opera- LOOK FOR IN A WMS?
the push of a button, warehouse man- tions to conduct physical inventories. At a minimum, a WMS should adapt
agers can view the current quantities However, a WMS requires more to your requirements. It should—

26 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Table 7. Warehouse Management System Reports amount of initial setup, need system
resources to run; and, in more complex
Report Description
systems, interact with external data
from the accounting, procurement,
Picking list Lists storage locations for each product in a
and shipping departments.
customer order. Storage locations are listed
according to first-to-expire, first-out.
Warehouse personnel can use this report to Set up can be quite extensive. The system
assemble a customer order for shipping. needs to capture the characteristics of
Inventory by storage location Lists product quantities and expiration dates each item, such as the exact dimensions
at each storage location. Warehouse storage and weight of each item, including each
location personnel use this report to verify
unit of measure in which the item is
reported inventory quantities against physical
counts. stocked. To store specific items in
Inventory by expiration date (aging) Lists products at each storage location
different ways, for example, in cases
according to expiration date. This report and pallets, this level of detail is necessary.
identifies products that will expire within a The location of each item must be
specified time frame, and enables warehouse maintained, either at the detail level or
personnel to reallocate or remove products
by grouping similar items and locations
about to expire.
into categories. Based on your setup,
Closed customer orders Lists product quantities shipped for each
customer order that has been completely
the WMS will be able to determine
shipped. the storage location of your product—
Open customer orders Lists product quantities ordered for each where the product will fit and at what
customer order submitted to the warehouse, location, as well as the sequence for
but not completely shipped (includes put-away (stocking) and the sequence
customer orders that have been partially for picking (filling the order).
Closed purchase orders Lists product quantities ordered for each
purchase order that has been completely
Lists product quantities ordered for each
Someone will need to manage both the
Open purchase orders
purchase order that has been submitted to software and the hardware for the WMS;
the vendor, but not completely received if the system is extensive and complex,
(includes purchase orders that have been you may need a team with the sole
partially received).
responsibility for managing the WMS.
Inventory velocity reports List products according to attributes—date,
volume, high/low throughput.
As new products, in new sizes and
new quantities, come into your
• have a flexible location system that following data elements: facility, to both locate the space for
allows you to determine where to put-away and locate your product
stock and where to pick • item—including attributes, such as when you need to fill an order, the
unit of measure, batch/lot, expiry system must be continually updated.
• has user-defined parameters to date, etc. Depending on the environment, this
direct warehouse tasks and uses live can be highly automated or manually
documents to execute these tasks • location processed. Entering known data
about new products after a tender
• have some built-in level integration • quantity is awarded, but before products are
with data collection devices, such delivered, can help streamline the
as barcode readers. • order information. receiving process.

One software application could be WHEN INSTALLING A WMS? WHEN SETTING UP A WMS
significantly different from another Warehouse management systems are The selection of automated data
application; but, in all cases, the basic large, complex, and data collection collection (ADC) hardware, such as
logic will use a combination of the intensive. They require a substantial barcode scanners, must be integrated

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 27
with WMS software selection. Automatic Data Collection: ficient amount of data for manage-
Higher-priced WMS packages may ment purposes.
be less expensive in the long-term, Barcoding and Radio
because they may have a higher level Frequency Identification Depending on the circumstance, sup-
of support for the types of ADC ply chain partners may decide to cre-
hardware that may be used in the The previous section discussed ate a symbology through a standard-
future. If the WMS selected does not the WMS and the challenges and ized label program; to ensure that all
have the specific ADC functionality benefits of adopting this technology. partners are able to read the barcoded
presently in use or planned, initial ADC can be a practical complement information, all must comply.
programming estimates can easily go to computerized warehouse manage-
over budget. Also, to increase effi- ment systems. The following is a brief In other cases, individual entities in
ciency, you should consider integrat- description of ADC options and how the supply chain are not bound by
ing automated handling equipment they work. this requirement; they determine their
and advanced shipment notifications own symbology and print their own
with the WMS. It is also important to Barcoding is probably the best labels for the products they manage.
examine how the WMS will link with known of the ADC technologies;
other institutional operations, such as others, similar to ADC, are voice There is an international movement
procurement, finance, and sales. systems, radio frequency identifica- to standardize the use of barcodes.
tion (RFID), pick-to-light, laser This was spearheaded by GS1, which
BOTTOM LINE scanners, charged-coupled device is a non-profit organization dedicated
A WMS can greatly improve processes, (CCD) scanners, handheld batch to the design and implementation
but you must take care to ensure, before and radio frequency (RF) terminals, of global standards and solutions to
purchase, that you have identified vehicle-mounted computers, and improve efficiency and visibility in
the most appropriate tool for present wearable computers. The following supply-and-demand chains, glob-
and future needs. It is important to section describes the most commonly ally and across sectors (www.gs1.
systematically review existing processes used technologies in a warehouse org). When considering the use of
and make decisions regarding optimiz- setting; discusses advantages, as well barcoding, it is advisable to review
ing the present system by eliminating as implementation challenges; and the global standards and determine
dysfunctional or non-value added briefly discusses their use in interna- if they are a good fit for your ware-
processes. As with many software tional public health settings. house. Complying with already-in-
solutions, WMSs have evolved place global standards usually makes
over time to include a broad range BARCODE CATEGORIES operations easier in the long run.
of functionalities. Today, they can Before discussing the actual devices,
include transportation management, it is important to understand the two BARCODE SCANNERS
supply chain planning, distribution different categories of barcodes: one- Laser or CCD
requirements planning, and a variety dimensional (1D) and two-dimen- Most barcoding equipment uses either
of other tasks. The multiple choices sional (2D) matrix. One of the most laser scanners or CCD scanners. Laser
can lead to confusion and create familiar examples of 1D barcodes is scanners use a laser beam, which
overlap with other software func- the Universal Product Code (UPC) moves back and forth across the bar-
tionalities. It is important to deter- code seen on many products, such code to read the label; CCD scanners
mine what the specific process-based as those purchased at a grocery store; take digital images of the barcode,
functional requirements are and the but many other varieties of symbol- which are then decoded. Although
level of sophistication of IT systems ogy use the same idea. they cost less than laser scanners,
the present capacities are able to sup- CCD scanners have more limited use
port; then compare these functional Two-D barcode matrices, such as the because they need to be a few inches
and system requirements against the Aztec Code or UPS’s MaxiCode, can away from the barcode. Laser scan-
range of WMS solutions. Choos- store more data than 1D bar codes; ners are more common in warehouses
ing the best fit between warehouse however, they require special scan- because they can scan barcodes at
requirements and WMS functionality ners to read them. Most warehouses significant distances.
will enhance selection of the right and smaller stores continue to use 1D
combination of software and hard- barcodes because the technology is There are many types of barcode
ware for warehouse needs. less expensive and it still stores a suf- scanners, including handheld, that

28 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
enable workers to carry the device warehouse vehicle or distribution ve- ing any cases. Tags are read so quickly,
with them; and fixed position scan- hicle, they are more difficult to drop it seems instantaneous. In addition,
ners, where the product is moved in or lose, or forget to charge them. It is the more expensive read/write tags
front of the scanner. Choosing the more likely that they can easily inte- can change or add data as they pass
best type depends on the function re- grate with existing programs designed through different operations, adding
quired. For warehouse use, handheld for desktop computers, because these information to the tags at each step of
scanners usually are more practical, systems probably have a Microsoft the supply chain. RFID tags also are
especially with hands-free stands that Windows interface or something more durable against harsh conditions
allow the worker to use both hands; similar. Their use is constrained by than most barcodes, avoiding lost or
while fixed-position scanners are use- the range of the vehicle to which they unreadable information because of
ful in a conveyer packing line. are attached. tears, spills, or rain. As this technology
decreases in size and cost, it will be
Portable Computers Wearable Systems more and more attractive.
Portable computers, such as laptops These systems are gaining popularity
or tablets, are suitable for use in because they offer greater mobility However, RFIDs have some draw-
warehouses to scan barcodes and than the handheld devices or the vehicle backs—the most significant at this
relay information either (1) to batch mounted systems. They usually strap time is the cost of both the technol-
terminals, where data is collected into to the wrist or forearm and use a ogy and the tags. While a barcode
files and then connected to a com- small ring-type laser scanner for reading sticker may cost less than one cent
puter for downloading the informa- bar codes. Some also have voice tech- (U.S.$0.01), the least expensive RFID
tion; or (2) they use RF terminals, nology, which is explained below. tag is $0.50 per tag, which represents a
where RF waves send live data to the significant burden for individual prod-
host system or network. Voice Technology ucts, or even to individual shipments.
Voice technology includes both More expensive rewritable tags cost as
Handheld Devices voice-directed and speech recogni- much as $40.00 and can be recycled
Small and nimble, handheld devices tion. These systems have a headset for multiple shipments, but the cost
include keyboard-wedge scanners with a microphone and a wearable may still be prohibitive. In addition,
that connect between a computer computer. There are many advantages the tags may hold more information
keyboard and a computer and can to voice technology, the most obvious than what is needed for most ware-
be used successfully in a warehouse being greater mobility for the ware- houses and distribution centers.
setting, especially for cycle counting. house worker. Studies have shown
However, they do have drawbacks: that voice technology has not only PICK-TO-LIGHT SYSTEMS
holding a handheld device implies increased efficiency significantly— Pick-to-light systems use lights and
that you can no longer use that not looking at the computer screen LED displays for each pick location.
hand to handle materials or equip- saves picking time—but it also has The software lights up the next loca-
ment, decreasing ease of use. Using decreased the number of accidents. tion to pick and displays the quantity
the pistol-grip models, which allow to pick. This is expensive software
workers to more quickly holster the RFID but has proven to not only increase
device between scans and use both RFID are devices attached to an accuracy but also productivity. It is
hands, will improve worker mobility. object that transmits data to an RFID most useful when there are a very
However, the small screen and key- receiver. This technology is getting a high number of picks per SKU.
pads also make it difficult to operate. lot of attention in the supply chain
Before deciding on implementing management world because of its ADVANTAGES AND CHALLENGES
this type of device, consider whether potential to store large amounts of OF ADC/BARCODING
it appropriate for the activities work- data on the device. Another advan- Several advantages and challenges are
ers will be performing. tage is that an RFID tag can be read involved in implementing ADCs.
through other materials, although not
Vehicle-Mounted Systems all materials. Theoretically, this means An ADC system/barcoding—
These systems have larger screens that an RFID reader could read all
than handheld devices and the key- of the tags of a mix of products on • human errors are less likely
pads are similar to true keyboards; a palletized load without physically
because they are mounted on either a moving any of the materials or open- • scanners are easy to use

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 29
• data captured is uniform and stan- ADC and the scope of the work is
dardized defined, management should consult
with multiple vendors that specialize
• feedback is usually more timely in this type of equipment to review
the options available before making a
• many activities improve streamline final decision.
workflows, increasing productivity
and efficiency, and can save money
in the long term

• different settings are appropri-

ate: manufacturing, warehousing,
shipping and receiving, retail, and

But, ADC, or barcoding, has chal-

lenges—the two greatest being the
cost of hardware, but more impor-
tant, the cost of integrating the ADC
within the facility, including any
existing WMS. And, as mentioned
earlier, the cost of changing systems,
training staff, and maintaining/ser-
vicing barcode printers and scanners
must be carefully considered.


In summary, many public health
facilities share the same challenges
as large commercial warehouses and
distribution centers; they can benefit
from the ADC systems developed by
them. Options range from low-cost
options for recording receipts and
issues data in a warehouse to more
comprehensive systems that can track
commodities from shipment arrival,
through storage, to final distribu-
tion; and can help track lost or stolen
products, prevent counterfeits, and
follow tracer products data. These of-
ten are used as indicators to measure
the effectiveness of the supply chain.

As with all IT systems, however, be-

fore deciding to invest, a significant
amount of work needs to be done
in terms of defining the scope of the
work to be automated and an assess-
ment of the different options.

After the decision is made to pursue

30 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Section F:
Dry chemical extinguishers have an extinguishing agent, such as potassium
bicarbonate—similar to baking soda—and use a compressed gas as a propellant.
Safety They are effective for multiple types of fire, including combustible solids,
like wood or paper; combustible liquids, like gaso¬line or grease; and
FIRE electrical fires.
To prevent damage to products from
Water extinguishers have water and compressed gas; use them only
fire, do the following: on ordinary combustibles, such as paper and wood. Never use water on
fires caused by liquids—such as gasoline or kerosene—or electrical fires.
• Install a sprinkler system, if possible.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are most effective for fires
caused by liquids—such as gasoline or kerosene—and electrical fires; but
• Keep standard fire extinguishers not on fires caused by combus¬tibles—paper, cardboard, or lumber. The
available in every storage facility, gas disperses quickly and does not leave harmful residue.
following national regulations—see
Halon extinguishers are often used in areas with computer equipment
the various types of extinguishers or other machinery because they leave no residue. They can be used on
in the text box to determine which common combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical fires. However, halon
are appropriate. is dangerous to inhale and harmful to the environment. They are most
effective in confined spaces, but remember that the area must be venti-
• Visually inspect fire extinguishers lated before it can be occupied again.
every 2–3 months to ensure that
pressure is maintained and the
extinguisher is ready for use.
• Ensure that medical store staff are Typical PPE used in warehousing
• Service fire extinguishers at least trained in how to use the specific situations are—
every 12 months. fire extinguisher or other equip-
ment available at your warehouse. • steel-toe shoes or work boots
• Place smoke detectors throughout
the storage facil¬ity; check them FIRST AID • hard hats
every 2–3 months to ensure they • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit for
are working properly. employees or visitors. • gloves.

• Strictly prohibit smoking in the store. • Place the kit in a central location The Occupational Safety and Health
that is easily accessible to all em- Administration (OSHA) of the
• Conduct fire drills for personnel ployees. Ensure it is clearly marked United States Government, publishes
every six months. and that all employees know its and enforces worker safety standards
location and contents. in the United States. They have numer-
• Clearly mark emergency exits and ous publications and information on
check regularly to be sure they are • Provide first aid training to selected how to conduct job hazard assess-
not blocked or inaccessible. employees. ments. Below is a link to a publication
directly focused on worker safety
• Display fire precaution signs in PERSONAL PROTECTION in warehouses. This publication has
appropriate places in the storage EQUIPMENT helpful ideas on how to protect workers
facility, especially locations where Personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to make a warehouse a safer
flam¬mables are stored. protects workers from workplace more productive work environment.
injuries. Warehouse operations
• Use sand to extinguish fires if there present a wide variety of hazards for https://www.osha.gov/Publica-
are no fire extinguishers or sprin- the worker and proper precautions tions/3220_Warehouse.pdf
kler system. Place buckets of sand should be taken.
near the door.

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 31
Limiting access into the warehouse
compound and the warehouse itself
is the first step to ensure a secure
environment for the commodities.
Fencing, or a perimeter wall topped
with wire, is often used to surround
the compound. Security guards at the
entrances are also advisable. Having a
guest/visitor registration book will also
help track who is coming and going.

Try to avoid hiring day-laborers or

temporary workers. The more people
who have had or have access and have
seen the warehouse, the more likely
the chances are of a break-in.

Ensure the entrance to the warehouse

building has a sturdy door, with at
least one lock. If the situation allows,
install two locks with keys and give
the keys to two different people; this
is the best way to ensure that one
person never goes into the warehouse
alone. Outfit all windows and other
ventilation openings with metal bars.

Within the warehouse, keep valuable

(high cost or high demand) commodi-
ties in a locked cage, room, or cabinet.

32 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Section G: may not need all the job functions interpersonal communications, and
Human Resources listed below. Each job function is
described below with the typical
planning that are relevant to
this position.
number of personnel for each func-
While space and equipment are im- tion, job requirements, and related Inventory control clerk: Typically
portant, having well-trained people training requirements. one. This clerk can also do shipping
with the appropriate supervision and and receiving activities, if time require-
accountability is the most essential The total number of floor personnel ments are acceptable.
factor in determining whether your will depend on the person-power
warehouse is productive and successful needed for each activity. How to Job requirements: The clerk’s primary
or not. In addition, hiring too few determine the number of people responsibility is to maintain and
people can be as detrimental as hiring needed for each activity is described update inventory records, usually
too many—too few staff can result in in the next section. through an automated system. They
unacceptable order turnaround times also create inventory management
and customer dissatisfaction. Too General Manager: Typically one procedures, when necessary, and
many staff can result in poor produc- coordinate the annual physical inven-
tivity and increased cost. Finding the Job requirements: The manager is tory. The clerk responds to informa-
correct mix is critical, particularly responsible and accountable for the tion enquires from others, when
when there are unpredictable highs overall performance of the warehouse, necessary; and develop the necessary
and lows in the workload. including customer service, warehouse reports and documentation to facili-
operations, and information systems. tate accurate inventory control.
The manager must also liaise with the
Personnel Required for a procurement and transport sections Training requirements: Must be
Typical Warehouse of the organization—assuming these trained in the inventory management
activities are managed elsewhere in methods being used at the warehouse.
A typical warehouse comprises the organization. This person manages If the warehouse is automated, they
supervisors, records clerks, and floor and directs all activities related to the must also be trained to use all, or
personnel. Figure 7 is a suggested warehouse, including planning and most, parts of the system. Because the
management/supervisory structure scheduling all distribution services. clerk must respond to information
of personnel needed to operate a queries from management and staff,
typical warehouse, with moderate to Training requirements: If the manager they must be trained in good inter-
high output. Having a management does not have significant experience personal and communications skills.
structure displayed in your warehouse in any area of warehouse management
will help establish and ensure that and/or warehouse operations, they Shipping and receiving clerk: Typically
everyone knows who is responsible must be trained in the deficient ar- one, unless inventory control clerk
and accountable to whom. Depending eas. They must also be trained in all assumes responsibility for shipping
on the size of your warehouse, you aspects of supervision, motivation, and receiving activities.

Figure 7. Suggested Management/Supervisory Structure for Warehouse Personnel

General Manager

Inventory Warehouse Receiving/shipping Pharmacist

control clerk operations supervisor clerk (if required) (if required)

Forklift operator/ Order filler/picker(s) Checker(s) Loader/unloader(s) Equipment maintenance

storage person(s) person (if required)

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 33
Job requirements: This clerk ensures and theft, and promoting productiv- be trained to count products in stock
that all shipping and receiving docu- ity. If the warehouse is automated, for physical inventories and to com-
ments and functions are complete. the warehouse operations supervisor plete appropriate paperwork. If they
They also coordinate with customers must be trained to use the system to will assist in packaging and assem-
and transport, as required. locate empty storage locations, locate bling orders, they should be trained
stored items, and generate picking to properly package an order and sort
Training requirements: Must be lists. If not already knowledgeable, orders by customer or carrier.
trained in the shipping and receiving the warehouse operations supervi-
methods being used at the warehouse. sor should be trained to perform all Checker: Number depends on esti-
If the warehouse is automated, the functions done by the warehouse mated time requirements for check-
clerk must also be trained to use the floor staff. ing picked orders.
system to enter and retrieve supplier
and customer orders and information. Forklift operator/Storage person: Job requirements: They count all prod-
Because the clerk must respond to in- Number depends on estimated time ucts for both inbound and outbound
formation queries from management requirements for storing/retrieving freight; and check the quantity, qual-
and customers/suppliers, they must materials to/from pallet racks ity, labeling, and addressing of orders.
be trained in good interpersonal and Checkers may also package and
communications skills. Job Requirements: They operate a assemble orders for shipment.
forklift to move, relocate, and stack
Pharmacist: One, possibly materials. They do minor mainte- Training requirements: Must be trained
nance for the forklift and other re- to count orders correctly and complete
Job requirements: If medications and lated equipment, and may also assist pick-order paperwork. If checkers will
other medical supplies will be stored in filling orders, if needed. assist in packaging and assembling
in the warehouse, a pharmacist may orders, they should be trained to prop-
be needed to ensure the quality of Training requirements: Must complete erly package an order and sort orders,
products received, stored, and issued. a forklift training program where by customer or carrier.
they learn how to handle materials,
Warehouse operations correctly operate the forklift, and per- Loader/Unloader: Number depends
supervisor: One form routine maintenance. They must on estimated time requirements for
also understand the warehouse locator loading and unloading materials.
Job requirements: This manager has system. If they will assist in filling or-
general managerial responsibility for ders, they should be given appropriate Job requirements: They move materi-
all routine warehousing activities training in picking/filling orders. als from vehicles to receiving area,
and for all floor personnel, including and from shipping area to vehicles
forklift operators, order-fillers and Order-filler and Order-picker: and may also assist in packaging,
order-pickers, checkers, loaders/un- Number depends on estimated time repairing pallets, cleaning, and other
loaders, and equipment maintenance requirements for picking orders janitorial tasks.
and repair staff. Typically, this person
sits within the warehouse and is di- Job requirements: They fill customer Training Requirements: Must be
rectly accountable for the day-to-day orders and deliver the items to a stag- trained to load and unload vehicles
floor personnel and activities. This ing area or delivery platform. They correctly. They must also be taught
person maintains the product locator also conduct physical inventories, as how to use materials handling equip-
system and coordinates the picking directed. They may also prepare pack- ment—e.g., hand trolleys. If they will
and put-away operations, and all aging/assembling orders for shipment. assist in packaging and assembling
routine physical inventories. orders, they should be trained to
Training requirements: Must under- properly package an order and sort
Training Requirements: Must be stand the warehouse locator system orders, by customer or carrier.
trained in all aspects of supervision, and the labeling on each product
including, but not limited to, setting stored in the warehouse. They must Equipment maintenance and repair
targets, assigning and directing staff be trained to pick the correct amount person: One, if warranted
to perform tasks, developing good of each item on a pick-order and
staff relations, motivating and/or dis- complete pick-order paperwork or use Job requirements: They keep equip-
ciplining staff, preventing accidents relevant technology. They must also ment in good working order; includ-

34 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
ing, but not limited to, building IDENTIFY BASIC WAREHOUSING Storage: Move incoming supplies
generator, lighting, and materials ACTIVITIES AND ACTIVITY TASKS to special picking location—if one
handling equipment. There are usually 10 types of basic exists—and/or storage location;
warehousing activities: confirm movement of supplies with
inventory control.
Estimating Number of 1. receiving/unloading
Personnel Required Replenishment (assumes there is a
2. inspection special picking location): Move sup-
The warehouse planner’s single most plies from storage location to special
important activity is to determine the 3. inventory control picking location; confirm movement
type and number of people needed to of supplies with inventory control.
operate the warehouse. As stated pre- 4. storage
viously, the number of floor personnel Order picking: Select items from
will depend on the person-power 5. replenishment (possibly) special picking location or storage,
needed for each activity. based on the pick list; confirm selec-
6. order-picking tion of items with inventory control;
Estimating the human resource perform physical inventories.
requirements to run a warehouse can 7. checking
be determined by— Checking: Check picked orders for ac-
8. packing curacy of item, quantity, and condi-
1. Identifying the basic warehouse tion; to ensure compliance, compare
activities: receiving, storage, order- 9. staging (possibly) quantity, quality, labeling, and ad-
picking, etc. dress with customer’s order.
10. shipping/loading.
2. Dividing each activity into com- Packaging: Package orders for cus-
ponent tasks: receiving tasks might Each activity has one or more tasks. tomers; mark or label containers that
include starting the lift-truck, Although the number of times the hold customer orders.
unloading a pallet from the truck, tasks are performed will vary, all
filling out forms, etc. warehouses have a common set of Staging: Arrange orders according
tasks, including— to customer and/or carrier that will
3. Identifying the typical types of per- transport products.
sonnel that work in a warehouse, Receiving: Unload supplier vehicles;
and associating these individuals move materials to inspection area. Shipping: Load outbound carrier,
with particular activities/tasks; complete necessary paperwork, and
determine if they have the requisite Inspection: Draw sample from shipment report to inventory control.
competencies and skills to accom- and inspect—or arrange for inspec-
plish the work effectively. tion—to ensure compliance with ESTIMATING TIME REQUIREMENTS
specifications on purchase orders; FOR ACTIVITIES AND TASKS
4. After completing these activities, report on status of inspection to pur- To estimate the number of staff
identify a time requirement for chasing and inventory control; count required to operate a warehouse, you
each task: for example, it takes an material and check against shipping must establish the time requirements
average of 15 minutes each day to invoice; report on status of count to or standards for all tasks related to
start the lift-truck. inventory control. Note any discrep- each activity. Generally, two ways are
ancies. used to determine time requirements:
5. Determine how much time is (1) observe how long it takes the staff
required to perform each task and Inventory control: Operate manual or to do each task, or (2) use a predeter-
who should perform the task. automated inventory control sys- mined time standard.
tem; provide directions for moving
6. Using this information, calculate supplies to/from storage; give infor- Estimating the time requirements for
the number of personnel needed mation to management on receipts, activities/tasks can be difficult. Table
for all activities. issues, and stock balances; reconcile 8 displays the weekly time require-
inventories to book or automated re- ments, for a fictional warehouse,
cords; coordinate physical inventories. for all tasks related to the activity

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 35
Table 8. Sample Time Requirements for the Receiving Activity

Task (type of task) Formula for Calculating Weekly Time Responsible Staff
Time Requirement Requirement
Unload materials from Unload 1,000 boxes 50 hours Loader/unloader
vehicles (repetitive). (1 cubic meter each) to
pallet @ 3 minutes a box.
Move materials to receiving Move 1,000 pallets to receiving 25 hours Loader/unloader
or inspection area (repetitive). area @ 1.5 minute a pallet.
Take receiving documentation Task takes approximately 3 hours Loader/unloader
to shipping/receiving clerk 30 minutes per day.
and fill out necessary
paperwork (repetitive).
Obtain new pallets and Task is usually done quarterly 2 hours Loader/unloader
other operating supplies @ 2 days each time.
Maintain/repair materials Task is usually done twice 2 hours Equipment maintenance
handling equipment yearly @ one week each time. person

of receiving. Note that the example work, per person. Although the time
includes both repetitive and non- requirements would remain the same
repetitive tasks. In this example, in the previous example, the staff
the warehouse used a stopwatch to requirements would change as follows:
determine how much time it took
to complete a typical repetitive task;
then, they multiplied the resulting
Total time requirements for receiving activity:
number by the number of times the Loader/unloader: 80 hours required per week
task was repeated each week. For Equipment main, person: 2 hours required per week
Total time requirements for receiving activity:
non-repetitive tasks, the warehouse Total staff requirements80for
Loader/unloader: receiving
hours requiredactivity:
per week
estimated how much time was re- Loader/unloader:
Equipment main, person: 280hours
weekly workload/40
per week hours per week per person -
2 loaders/unloaders required.
quired for these tasks, per week. Equipment
Total staff requirements for receiving activity:
maintenance person:
Loader/unloader: 2 hours
80 hoursweekly
person- -
It should be mentioned that time 20.05 equipment maintenance
loaders/unloaders required. persons required.
requirements calculated this way do (Note: this assumes
maintenance person: a 40-hour work
2 hours week.)
weekly workload/40 hours per week per person -
not include allowances for personnel 0.05 equipment maintenance persons required.
fatigue and routine delays/breaks. (Note: this assumes a 40-hour work week.)
You must make adjustments to the Total staff requirements for receiving activity:
Loader/unloader: 80 hours weekly workload/36 hours per week per person -
total time requirements to account 2.22 loaders/unloaders required.
for restroom breaks, coffee or tea Equipment
Total staff requirements for receiving activity:
maintenance person:
Loader/unloader: 2 hours
80 hoursweekly
person- -
breaks, personnel visits, machine 0.055loaders/unloaders
2.22 equipment maintenance
required.persons required.
malfunctions, etc. The warehouse Equipment
may know what these adjustment maintenance person: 2 hours weekly workload/36 hours per week per person -
0.055 equipment maintenance persons required.
factors are, or they may use standard
factors, such as 5 percent for light
work and 15 percent for heavy work.

If, in the previous example, an adjust-

ment of 10 percent was assumed for
personnel fatigue and delay, then only
36 hours per week (40– (.1 × 40))
would be available for productive

36 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Additional Tools for performance, the warehouse planner See Guide to Key Performance
Warehouse Managers needs to establish realistic performance
standards and develop a foundation
Indicators for Public Health Manag-
and infrastructure for continuous Task Order 1 2011). The metrics are
improvement of the whole warehouse divided into four categories; quality,
Performance Measurement
function. response time, cost, and productiv-
To help show improvement in opera- ity. For the warehousing guidelines as
tions, many consider implementing Performance measurement of ware- contained in this document, we orga-
supply chain performance indicators house operations should include nized these metrics according to the
or metrics as one of the simplest, least measures that reflect the desire to seven categories for the warehouse
expensive, and least time-consuming make these overall operations better, self-assessment.
activities. It is a well-known fact that, faster, and less expensive. Fundamen-
“people behave based on the way they tally, all measurements should be See appendix 4—Warehouse Perfor-
are measured.” Public health warehouses aligned toward customer satisfaction mance Metrics—for a list and a list
are no different; unless clear measur- and the relevant performance stan- of the metrics.
able indicators are in place, staff may dards imposed either by the customer
not completely understand what is or the managing organization—as DATA COLLECTION AND
expected of them; as a consequence, measured via the agreed-upon perfor- PRESENTATION
they may not carry out their tasks as mance indicators or metrics. Having defined what performance
well as they could. is to be measured, it is imperative to
Performance management should be SUS A BETTER OPERATING
a dynamic, continuous process, and ENVIRONMENT • data to be collected
should lead to the appropriate action There is always a trade-off between
to stimulate improvement. the operating environment and actual • source of the data
performance in that environment, as
Measuring the outcomes of processes measured by agreed-to metrics. For • how and who will collect the data
is fundamental to— example, while you may be able to
increase storage density by installing • frequency of data collection and
• understanding the current level of narrow aisle shelving, this may reduce reporting
performance productivity by making it more diffi-
cult to travel through aisles and store • data validation process
• gaining control by understanding or pick commodities.
capability and capacity • data presentation.
The organization is responsible for
• determining opportunities for recognizing conflicting strengths and You not only need to determine
improvement weaknesses between the operating what is to be reported, but also the
environment and performance met- source of the data, frequency, and
• making decisions rics and, more important, between responsibility for collection. Also,
service and cost. You should consider how the performance measurement
• using key performance indicators these two outputs of the warehous- data can be validated for accuracy to
to set performance standards. ing function the dependent variables ensure that the reported performance
in any design and implementation is useful for meaningful and timely
Regularly measuring these performance of both the warehouse infrastructure decisionmaking. To begin, try select-
standards will help maintain control and the operating systems. ing a few metrics you feel are most
and work toward continuous improve- relevant and for which the data are
ment by removing the causes of poor METRICS USED TO MEASURE WARE- available. After you establish a good
performance or non-conformity. HOUSE PERFORMANCE process with a few metrics, expand
The USAID | DELIVER PROJECT the number of metrics and begin
To manage an optimally operating developed a comprehensive set of measuring a more comprehensive
warehouse and maintain superior supply chain metrics of performance. view of your warehouse.

WA R E H O U S E G U I D E L I N E S | 37
Warehouse Budgeting
To manage and operate a successful
warehouse, it is necessary to develop
and actively track expenditures
against a comprehensive budget.
Setting up a budget will help you
understand where money is being
spent and how to most effectively
manage it.

To begin setting up a budget, look-

ing at historical information is the
best way to estimate future expenses
and areas of expense. If reliable and
complete historical information is
not available, keep a daily log of your
expenses, by category; this will help
determine most of your expenditures
and will help create budgets for the
following months or year.

Appendix 5—Warehouse Budget

Considerations—provides typical
categories and areas of potential
expense in a public health warehouse;
it can help you create a complete and
comprehensive budget tool.

38 |   G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Case Studies
Examples of Layout and Organization Improvement

Improved Warehouse Management Supports Expanding Health Programs in Ethiopia

40 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Examples of Layout and Organization Improvement

Reorganization in Harari Region Increases Storage Capacity by 120 Percent

Example of Warehouse Equipment Improvement

Heavy-Duty Shelves and Locators Dramatically Improve Warehouses in Bahir Dar

42 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Example of Automated Data Collection

Barcoding: Modernizing Warehouses to Lighten the Workload

44 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Ackerman, Kenneth. 1986. Practical Handbook of Warehousing. Washington, D.C.: The Traffic Service Corporation.
Ackerman, Kenneth, B. 1992. Words of Warehousing. Columbus, Ohio: The K. B. Ackerman Company.
Alexander Communications Group, Inc. 2002. Warehouse Management and Control Systems. New York: Alexander Communications
Group, Inc.
Allen, Mary Kay, and Ormar K. Helferich. 1990. Putting Expert Systems to Work in Logistics. Oak Brook, Ill.: Council of Logistics Management.
Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility. http://www.aimglobal.org.(accessed June 2004)
Barnes, C. 2003. Warehouse Management Systems Seminar.
Esync. 2002. Justifying Warehouse Management Systems. Toledo, Ohio: Esync.
Frazelle, Edward. 2002. World-Class Warehousing and Material Handling. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Grey, Stephen L. 1983. Warehouse Operations: A Handbook. Beaverton, Oregon: M/A Press. Health Industry Business Communi-
cations Center. http://www.hibcc.org. (accessed June 2004)
Horngren, C. T., and G. Foster. 1991. Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis. Seventh Edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Hyster. 2013. http://www.hyster.com/north-america/en-us/ (accessed December 2013)
John Snow, Inc./DELIVER. 2003. Guidelines for Implementing Computerized Logistics Management Information Systems. Arlington, Va.:
DELIVER, for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Keeney, Alexander. 1988. “Personnel Planning.” The Warehouse
Management Handbook.
James Tompkins and Jerry Smith, eds. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Kronslev, P. 2004. Experiences of Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System at the Medical Stores Department,
Tanzania. N.p.
Napolitano, Maida. 1994. The Time, Space & Cost Guide to Better Warehouse Design: A Hands-on guide to help you improve the
design and operations of your warehouse or distribution center. New York: Alexander Research & Communications, Inc. Distribution
Center Management.
Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). 2013. https://www.osha.gov/ (accessed December 2013)
Smith, Jerry, and J. Eric Peters. 1988. “Warehouse Space and Layout Planning.” The Warehouse Management Handbook. James
Tompkins and Jerry Smith, eds. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Tompkins, Fames A., and Jerry D. Smith. 1988. The Warehouse Management Handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Uniform Code Council, Inc. http://www.uc-council.org. (accessed July 2004)
The Warehousing Research Center. 1997. A Guide for Establishing Warehouse Job Descriptions. Oak Brook, Ill.: Warehousing
Education and Research Council.
Rack Manufactures Institute. 2002. Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks. Charlotte,
N.C.: Rack Manufacturers Institute.
USAID | DELIVER PROJECT. 2009. Automated Data Collection: Bar Coding and Other Scanning Options for Computerized Data
Collection. http://deliver.jsi.com.
USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, Task Order 1 2011. Guide to Key Performance Indicators for Public Health Managers. Arlington,
USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, Task Order 1. 2011. The Logistics Handbook: A Practical Guide for the Supply Chain Management of
Health Commodities. Arlington, Va.: USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, Task Order 1.
John Snow, Inc. /DELIVER in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Guidelines for the Storage of Essential Medicines
and Other Health Commodities. 2003. Arlington, Va.: John Snow, Inc. /DELIVER, for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

46 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Appendix 1
Warehouse F. Security and Safety Complete the assessment while you
are physically located within the
Self-Assessment Tool G. Human Resources warehouse.

The Warehouse Self-Assessment Each section targets a specific and im- At the end of each section, you can
Tool has seven sections: portant aspect of warehousing. While add up and calculate a score. Divide
this assessment is as comprehensive as the score by the total number of
A. Warehouse Infrastructure possible, some areas may not apply, questions in the section to calculate a
Planning such as the cold chain. The point of percentage.
this assessment is to understand what
B. Layout Planning and weaknesses are present so you can focus At the end of the assessment, you will
Operations Efficiency on improving those areas. It will also find a scoring sheet that you can use to
help you understand what areas you compile scores for each section, as well
C. Warehouse Equipment need to divert resources to or to ask as an area to summarize key strengths
for more resources. In addition, it can and weaknesses for each section.
D. Special Storage Requirements help highlight some strengths of your
warehouse to help you and others
E. Inventory Management understand what you are doing well.


A1. Is the ceiling in good condition (not warped, free of holes)?  Yes  No 1
A2. Do the ceiling or walls showing any staining indicating a leaking roof?  Yes  No 1
A3. Is the floor in good condition, level, free of dust and free of holes?  Yes  No 1
A4. Are the walls in good condition, clean and painted?  Yes  No 1
A5. Is there adequate lighting throughout without too much direct sunlight?  Yes  No 1
A6. Is the storeroom fitted with air-conditioners or ventilation /fans capable  Yes  No 1
of maintaining a temperature of <24C at midday?
A7. Is there a working thermometer and are temperature charts utilized?  Yes  No 1
A8. Is the storage area visually free from harmful insects and rodents?  Yes  No 1
A9. Are there frequent interruptions to the main electrical supply (more  Yes  No 1
than 2 times a week)? (No = 1)
A10. Does staff report breakers tripping when it rains or when the air-condi-  Yes  No 1
tioners are on full load? (No = 1)
A11. Does the warehouse have a generator?  Yes  No 1
A12. Can the generator handle the full site load?  Yes  No 1
A13. Is there an adequate budget for the purchase of generator fuel?  Yes  No 1
A14. Is there a maintenance plan on file for the generator?  Yes  No 1
TOTAL ___/14
Additional Notes

APPENDIX 1  | 47
B1. In an average week are there ever any days when orders are not  Yes  No 1
processed? (No = 1)
B2. In an average week are there ever any days when receipts are not  Yes  No 1
processed? (No = 1)
B3. Can delivery vehicles access loading/receiving bays?  Yes  No 1
B4. Are receiving and dispatch areas separated?  Yes  No 1
B5. In the receiving area is there sufficient secure space to arrange and  Yes  No 1
sort an incoming delivery?
B6. Is there a designated space for expired or damaged goods?  Yes  No 1
B7. Is there sufficient secure space to assemble outgoing deliveries?  Yes  No 1
B8. Is the existing floor space for pallet stacking, shelving or racking less  Yes  No 1
than 75% full?
B9. Are the aisles between the stacked pallets or racking clear of stored  Yes  No 1
TOTAL ___/9
Additional Notes


C1. Are there sufficient pallets available?  Yes  No 1
C2. Are there sufficient pallet jacks available?  Yes  No 1
C3. If pallet racks are present, is there an operable fork truck with  Yes  No 1
a maintenance schedule?
C4. Is there a storage system utilized (shelving, racks or pallet stacking)  Yes  No 1
and is it in good condition?
C5. Is there adequate aisle space and clearance for material handling  Yes  No 1
C6. Where commodities are stored on the floor are they stacked  Yes  No 1
less than 2.5 meters high?
C7. Are cartons in good condition, (not crushed due to mishandling or  Yes  No 1
poor stacking.)?
C8. Are cartons and products up off the floor and protected from  Yes  No 1
water and dust?
TOTAL ___/8
Additional Notes

48 |   G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
D1. Does the location store cold chain required product and does it have  Yes  No 1
designated cold chain facilities?
D2. Is there sufficient capacity for cold chain product?  Yes  No 1
D3. Are all fridges and cold rooms operational?  Yes  No 1
D4. Are temperatures monitored for each discreet storage unit?  Yes  No 1
D5. Do the refrigerators run on solar power?  Yes  No 1
D6. If the cold chain facilities run on electricity, is there a back-up source  Yes  No 1
of power? (ie. generator)
D7. Is there funding for the back-up source of power?  Yes  No 1
D8. Is there a designated area for flammable / hazardous items?  Yes  No 1
D9. Are flammable/hazardous items kept in a separate area away from  Yes  No 1
the main buildings?
D10. Are high-value commodities kept in a locked or caged area?  Yes  No 1
TOTAL ___/10
Additional Notes


E1. Are paper or electronic inventory records updated for each receipt  Yes  No 1
and issue?
E2. Are ledgers maintained and are corresponding bin cards maintained in  Yes  No 1
the storerooms?
E3. Are ledgers legibly and accurately maintained – audit a sample and  Yes  No 1
cross check the same sample on the corresponding bin card?
E4. Is there a process to investigate and resolve discrepancies on records?  Yes  No 1
E5. Is there a system of rolling stock checks in place?  Yes  No 1
E6. Are full physical inventory stock counts performed at least every  Yes  No 1
3 months?
E7. Is the write off and destruction of damaged or expired stock  Yes  No 1
processed regularly?
E8. Are products organized according to FEFO?  Yes  No 1
TOTAL ___/8
Additional Notes

F1. Is the building perimeter surrounded by a high wall or fence, with  Yes  No 1
entry guarded?
F2. Is access to the warehouse limited to only designated staff?  Yes  No 1
F3. Are windows intact and burglar proofed?  Yes  No 1
F4. Are the doors and windows solid and well secured?  Yes  No 1
F5. Is the store secured with a lock and key but accessible during normal  Yes  No 1
working hours?
F6. Is firefighting equipment available and do the labels on the firefighting  Yes  No 1
equipment indicate that it has been serviced within the last year?
F7. Are staff trained on how to use the firefighting equipment?  Yes  No 1
F8. Are there items of personal protective equipment being used?  Yes  No 1
(gloves, boots, etc?)
TOTAL ___/8
Additional Notes


G1. Does the facility have personnel responsible for warehouse  Yes  No 1
management (supervisor) and are there present and accountable?
G2. Is there an organizational structure and chart posted showing  Yes  No 1
each warehouse-related post?
G3. Is there sufficient staff capacity to run the warehouse and authority  Yes  No 1
to oversee warehouse management?
G4. Are there records of external visits or audits?  Yes  No 1
G5. Are there posted job descriptions for all positions at the warehouse?  Yes  No 1
G6. Are there up to date Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all  Yes  No 1
functions and processes posted on site?
G7. Is there active on-the-job training for staff?  Yes  No 1
G8. Is there a process for new hire orientation?  Yes  No 1
TOTAL ___/8
Additional Notes

50 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Warehouse Assessment Questionnaire Scoring Sheet Results


A. Warehouse
Infrastructure Planning

B. Layout Planning and

Operations Efficiency

C. Warehouse Equipment

D. Special Storage

E. Inventory

F. Security and Safety

G. Human Resources

52 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Appendix 2
Pallet Stacking, Product Storage Categorization: Guidelines for Pallet Stacking
Shelving, and Slow moving or low volume products Figure 8. Standard Wood
Pallet Racks – placed on shelves
Pallet (1.22 by 1.02 Meters)

Examples: scalpels, venom, etc

Storage Systems Selection
Fast moving, high volume or heavy
Types of storage systems: products– pallets on floor or racks

• pallet stacking Examples: gloves, condoms,

saline, etc.
• static shelving
Stack the product on pallets off the
• pallet racking. Pallet Stacking floor to protect the product from
Advantages dampness, dust, and pests. It also
Each storage system has advantages • low cost allows for ventilation. A standard
and disadvantages; the choice is usu- wood pallet, shown in Figure 8, is
ally based on storage capacity and the • flexible layout—can be moved commonly used.
flexibility of each system, in relation
Figure 9. Tipping Pallet Due to
to the cost of the system. • expensive floor renovations not
Un-level Floor
A thorough breakdown and analysis of
the choices will help guide managers to Disadvantages
select the most appropriate cost-effective • can become messy
storage system for their facility.
• poor use of space if ceilings are
Keep in mind, before installing a higher than 4.5 meters.
storage system, the cost must also
include other factors—required lift Done properly, pallet stacking is
equipment, as well as any refurbish- one the simplest, most cost-effective
ment needed for the existing condi- storage methods. Using this method,
tions, including the floor. boxes of products are stacked on top
of a pallet. The product, its weight,
In addition to cost factors, to select and its dimensions will determine
the storage system or combination how high the stack can be and
of storage systems to maximize your should be stacked. Always look at
storage space, you must understand the packaging to see if the manu-
the type of product that will be stored facturer has labeled the maximum Place the product and then stack it
in your warehouse and the volume height their boxes should be stacked, on level and smooth floors to prevent
of the products. If you know what as well as for any arrow indicating the product from falling over.
products you will be receiving, and the direction boxes should face. See
the distribution plan for these prod- the following general guidelines on
ucts, you can categorize them to help stacking and the maximum height
you determine what kind of storage for common products.
methods will maximize your space.
Following are some general rules of
product storage categorization.

APPENDIX 2  | 53
Figure 10. Bonded Stacking vs. Figure 12. Properly Stacked Pallet
Unbonded Stacking Static Shelving

• medium cost

• flexible layout—can move it


• expensive floor renovations not

Stack the product at least 30 centimeters
Stack the product up to the edge of from the wall and other stacks to Disadvantages
the pallets and position it in bonded allow for ventilation. (Show picture • must hand carry all product on
or interlocked stacks to increase of properly stacked pallet 2.5m high, and off shelves
stability of the product and prevent it 30cm from wall and other pallets)
from falling over. • poor use of space, if ceilings are
As a general rule, pallet racks that are higher than 4.5 meters.
Figure 11. Example of Crushed Boxes
three racks or less high require more
Due to High Stacking
square meters per pallet than bulk Static shelving systems are one of
storage areas, because of the required the oldest and most popular forms
aisle space and rack shelf clearances. If of storage equipment for products.
your ceiling height does not allow you Small static shelving is usually con-
to install pallet racks higher than three structed using light-gauge or heavy-
shelves, your return on investment gauge cold-rolled steel. Most static
may not be worthwhile—you will configurations have four vertical
spend money and not gain any addi- posts that support one or more hori-
tional space. If a pallet racking system zontal shelves. They come in a range
can be as high as four or five shelves, of depths and load capacities.
the use of the space is usually better
than storing pallets on the floor. Figure 13 shows a common small load
shelving rack. It is available in both
However, racks do allow access to light and heavy duty depending on the
a specific pallet and they help keep weight and size of product to be stored.
warehouses neater. Again, however, This type of rack system is suitable
the cost of the racking system is not for low volume and/or low quantity
Do not stack the product higher the only expenditure; a lift truck and (e.g., scalpels, venom, etc.) warehouses
than 2.5 meters to protect the a suitable floor will also be required. that have many different stockkeeping
product. This is a general rule, but units (SKUs). It is also appropriate for
if you have very heavy products, like Recommendation warehouses with many different SKUs
liquids, you may need to stack your A good first step when determining of heavy products (e.g., saline), as well
boxes lower to prevent the weight if you need to buy a storage system as lighter products that are difficult to
from crushing or splitting the boxes is to do a baseline assessment of the stack on pallets.
the bottom of the stack. In addition, storage density or available space
stacking higher than 2.5 meters is a utilization of the warehouse using
safety concern. only pallet stacking storage on the
floor, then compare it to shelving or
racking systems.

54 |   G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Figure 13. Shelving Rack without handling other pallets. This because they give the frame assembly
type of rack system has a simple con- strength and rigidity. The rack braces
struction of metal upright frames and transfer the horizontally oriented
a pair of load beams for each shelf forces between the front and rear col-
elevation (see figure 14). umn sections; the rack struts transfer
the vertically oriented forces between
Figure 14. One Row of Connecting Racks
columns. Of course, the larger the
(Two Bays) with Three Multi- Shelves
number of struts and braces on the
rack structure itself, the more overall
rack stability and long-term stability
the structure will have.
However, no matter how simple
this storage equipment appears to be, When constructing a rack system,
warehouse management must also do loads can have various heights and
the same careful planning they use widths. However, whatever height
when preparing for pallet or width the racks are designed to
storage systems. accommodate, ensure that the metal-
lurgical compounds are consistent.
It is important for warehouse managers Currently, the most common column
Pallet Racking to remember that all loads are on an materials are cold-rolled formed
aisle when they use the selective rack sections (steel) with a rectangular or
Advantages configuration. square shape.
• can be stacked very high
In addition, the pallet and the unit The horizontal metallurgical com-
• can hold heavy loads and are durable. load—including the weight and overall pounds are just as important. The
dimensions, lift equipment, and horizontal load-bearing beams are
Disadvantages building—determine the best type also constructed of cold-rolled steel
• need strong, level floor of rack design for an individual members or hot-rolled structural
facility. By establishing the storage shapes. In addition, to facilitate the
• most expensive option rack dimensions, you can correctly attachment because the beam must
design your warehouse layout. It span a bay and be attached to the
• cannot be easily reconfigured. is of primary importance that you vertical columns, each end of the
determine the type of lift truck beam has an end plate or fitting (con-
Pallet racks, perhaps the most commonly equipment that will be used for nector) welded or bolted to it.
used pallet storage equipment in the rack storage—the different types of
world, store products on pallets; they lift equipment are discussed in the For various reasons—economic,
comprise various numbers of rack following section. engineering capacity, efficiency,
bays. A rack bay can be one or more safety, etc.—rack manufactures have
shelves high; horizontal bars (beams) PALLET RACK PARTS AND MATERIALS standardized their column and beam
and vertical members (frames) suspend (METAL COMPOUNDS) section shapes. For reasons men-
the horizontal members off the ware- Most pallet racking systems are tioned earlier, and because the height
house floor. When two or more rack constructed of simple metal uprights usually determines the beam capacity,
bays are connected lengthwise, this and cross-members, which provide most roll-formed beams are box-like
represents a row of racks. immediate access to each stored load. structures, which efficiently use mate-
When a load is removed, a pallet rial (see figure 15).
Each individual pallet is accessible space is created.
Figure 15. Common Rack Beam Sections
from the aisle; to use floor space
(Rolled-formed Left, Structural Right)
more efficiently; single rows can be A rack system comprises rack frames
placed against walls. The selective with front and rear column sections,
pallet rack is one of the most flexible which are fixed firmly together by
types of racking system because pallets horizontal braces and diagonal struts.
can be stored, retrieved, or picked The struts and braces are important

Rigid beam-to-column connections 3. The height of the storage rack is When operating lift trucks, allow at
are a primary factor for ensuring only limited to the ceiling height least 0.010 meters between upright
the safety and long-term service life and the maximum lift height of any frame columns and the load, and
of a rack system. A racking sys- lift truck equipment. To allow for at least 0.010 meters between the
tem’s rigidity depends on very rigid the height of a pallet, it is impor- loads. Additionally, you should allow
beam-to-column connections. The tant for the top shelf to be at least at least 0.010 meters of operational
two common types of connections 0.15 meters less than the maximum clearance from the top of the load to
are teardrop—also called keystone- lifting height of the truck. This the underside of the upper rack shelf.
shaped keyhole (see figure 16)—and information may seem basic, or
bolted connections. Bolted connec- even intuitive, for most warehouse Several key factors determine the
tions require more time to install managers and staff; however, you number of shelves that can be used
and, to be effective, they must be must determine and apply this in- for each rack bay:
inspected periodically and the fasten- formation to provide an economi-
ers must be tightened. cal, practical, and workable storage • lifting height of the lift
rack system. equipment
Figure 16. Common Rack
Column Sections
PALLET RACKS AND LIFT TRUCKS • allowable ceiling height
It is very important for you to deter-
mine the type of lift truck equipment • weight capacity limits of the frame
that will be used in the warehouse for each rack bay.
before rack construction is started.
During the rack design process,
because each type of lift truck has
different characteristics, these must
be considered when determining the
appropriate operational clearances.
AND CLEARANCES The lifting height of the lift truck
For standard U.S. pallets, which are and the warehouse ceiling height
1.22 meters deep × 1.02 meters wide: determine the number of shelves that
can be used for each rack bay. Most
1. The standard depth of a pallet rack standard beam sections can handle
is usually 1.06 meters deep, or 0.16 two pallet loads—side-by-side—that
meters less than the pallet depth. range from 680 to 1,587 kilograms
Using these dimensions, the pallet each. Two 1-meter-wide pallets may
will have 0.08 meters of front and require a pair of 2.3-meters-long
rear overhang over the shelf beams. beams, if 0.10 meters is allowed on
Thus, a 1.22-meter deep pallet, for each side and between the pallets.
example, would require a 1.06-me-
ter deep frame. This overhang will Depending on the type of lift truck
ensure the weight of the load is used, minimum aisle widths must be
evenly distributed on the shelf. followed. General aisle requirements
are described later in the lift truck
2. The standard width of a pallet rack section. You should always consult
is 2.6 meters, which will accommodate the manufacturer of the specific lift
two pallets side-by-side allowing truck to be purchased or the truck
for ample clearance between the already on hand to determine the
pallets and the columns to move proper aisle width.
the pallets in and out safely.

56 | G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Appendix 3
Material Handling ment—often called storage and pallet practical and widely available. If you
retrieval systems—used in public- already know the requirements and
Equipment health warehousing today. constraints of your warehouse, such
as your aisle width and needed height
Table 9 lists some general categories lift, table 10 can help you decide
Pallet Lift Truck Types of pallet lift trucks, based on lifting which truck is the most suitable for
Pallets lift trucks are available in height and aisle space availability: your operation.
many variations and configurations.
However, to describe each type and Table 10 lists the typical trucks As with the aisle width and lift
classification is beyond the scope bought and used, including their height, every decision must also
of this document. In the following capabilities. These trucks were specifi- include the cost element. While buy-
section, you will learn more about a cally selected because they have all ing a narrow-aisle reach truck may
few of the more popular and practical the capabilities required for public- seem like the best option, because it
types of material handling equip- health warehousing; they are also has the most flexibility, remember the
cost of this truck is more than twice
the cost for the medium-lift height
Table 9. Lifting Height & Aisle Width equipment; and, exponentially, more
Lifting Height Aisle Width than a simple hand pallet truck. In
addition, the maintenance and up-
Low-lifts Wide-aisle trucks
keep required is more complex
• Pallet can be lifted 0.10 to 0.18-plus meters • aisles 3.5m and up
above the floor and expensive.

Medium-lifts Narrow-aisle trucks The maneuvering space needed

• Pallet can be lifted and stored on racks up to • aisles 2.5m – 3 m to operate lift trucks effectively is
three shelves high critical when planning and designing
High-lifts Very narrow–aisle truck warehouse operations. All trucks have
• Pallets can be lifted and stored on racks up • aisles 1.5m –2.5 m. two turning radii: outside and inside.
to and greater than five shelves high. The outside radius is measured by the
overall swing of the truck frame to

Table 10. Trucks Types and Their Capabilities

Pallet Jack Walkie Stacker Counterbalance Lift Truck Narrow Aisle Reach Truck
Capabilities Manual Electric Electric Only Diesel CNG Electric Electric Only
Outdoor Only Use X
Indoor Only Use X X X X X
Outdoor & Indoor Use X
High Lift Capabilities X X X X
Medium Lift Capabilities X X X X X
Low Lift Only X X
Wide Aisle X X X X X X X
Narrow Aisle X X X X
Very-Narrow Aisle X X
Average Cost Range $500 $2,000 $30,000 $30,000 $25,000 $40,000 $60,000
(in US Dollars)
*Costs are a sample, based on previous purchases. They will vary, depending on country and quantity purchased.

APPENDIX 3  | 57
the furthest point of the rear frame. ther detail. Each has an illustration, The electric-powered pallet jack,
The inside radius, or the pivot point, pros and cons, as well as sample aisle also called walkie low-lift truck, is a
is usually 0.08 to 0.10 meters outside width requirements for each type hybrid of pallet jacks. An on-board
the truck drive wheels (front wheels). of equipment. At the end are links rechargeable battery (see figure 19)
Thus, this equipment cannot pivot to manufacturer websites that can powers these trucks. The batteries
within its own footprints. provide more specific detail on these provide the power for the lifting and
pieces of equipment as well as others powering and transporting motions.
To calculate the turning radii for that have not been discussed. The speed and load capacity varies
a full right-turn angle (in metric) with each model. Average speed
with a pallet using 0.15 meters for for this type of walkie is about 6
operating clearance, do the following: Pallet Jacks kilometer per hour (kph). Again,
many different models and sizes
1. Use manufacturer listed right-turn Pallet jacks are manual or use electricity are available. The powered walkie-
angle (forklift) + length of pallet + (see figures 18 and 19). The manually type pallet jack is used in situations
operating clearance (0.15 meters) = operated low-lifts are usually called similar to the manual pallet jack.
full right-turning radius, in meters. pallet jacks or hand pallet jacks. This However, the basic difference is that
type of low-lift is flexible; it can be a the powered truck can transport
2. Example: Lift truck right-angle real workhorse for a facility. Both the heavier loads, over greater distances,
turn (2 meters) + length of pallet manual and electric model low-lifts and at faster speeds. The electric
(1.2 meters) + operating clearance operate from the floor, are self-loading, low-lift equipment provides great
(0.15 meters) = total (3.35 meters). and fit between the top and bottom maneuverability and is able to make
boards of a double-faced pallet. tight turns. Using a walkie-type, the
Figure 17. Right-Angle Turning Radii
The manual pallet jack is principally operator can see the fork tips for
used whenever loads, grades, and pallet entry; the battery swings out
distances are small enough that a for easy, quick maintenance checks.
forklift or another type of power
Figure 19. Electric Low-Lift Truck
truck–type equipment is not needed.
It has a fully sealed, cast iron block
hydraulic pump (self-contained).
The forks (approximately 0.15
meters wide) come equipped with
integral slides that offer rigidity
and easy pallet entry and exit. It
is user-friendly equipment that
requires little training; it can be used
throughout the warehouse, loading
docks, or inside all kinds of trucks. It
Every piece of equipment has different provides exceptional maneuverability
specifications. The equipment manu- and flexibility of operation, and is
facturer should always be contacted comparatively much lower in cost SAMPLE AISLE WIDTH REQUIREMENTS
to provide the exact dimensions of and maintenance expenses than any The usual required dimensions of a
the truck you are interested in and other pallet handling equipment. right-angle turn for a low-lift hand
to gather more detailed information pallet jack range from 1.5–2.1 meters
Figure 18. Manual Low-Lift Pallet Jack
about the turning radii. In general, and for low-lift electric pallet jack range
managers need to plan for right-angle from 2.0–2.5 meters. These types of
stacking and cross-aisle maneuvering trucks are in the very narrow–aisle
calculations, based on truck turning width category. Again, these required
radii, truck frame configuration, and dimensions will vary, depending on
unit load length and width. the type of pallet jack selected; it is
essential to review all the required
Below pallet jacks, walkie stacker’s, dimensions with the manufacturing
counterbalance lift trucks and narrow representative or engineer during the
aisle reach trucks are described in fur- planning and selection process.

58 |   G U I D E L I N E S F O R W A R E H O U S I N G H E A LT H C O M M O D I T I E S
Walkie Stackers Walkie Reach Stacker kilograms, counterbalance trucks
work well for dock, cross-dock, and
Walkie stackers are a walk-behind pallet Walkie reach stackers are a variation dock-to-stock applications.
truck with a mast for lifting pallets up of the straddle truck. It is more
to heights over 4.5 meters. They are maneuverable than the standard forklift Counterbalance lift trucks offer a
used when lift heights do not exceed trucks and can usually operate in smaller wide range of masts and attachments
4.5 meters and a larger, more expensive spaces. For operations that require more to handle all types of loads (see figure
forklift is not needed. They are used versatility because of different load sizes 22). Today, most lift trucks accom-
indoors on flat concrete floors, but they and challenges within the facility, the modate ergonomic driver control and
can be ordered with larger wheels that walkie reach stacker may be a better fit have relatively easy access for main-
can operate on more uneven floors. for the facility’s needs. Reach trucks tenance. Additionally, some trucks
have a scissors-reach mechanism have a full driver cab. The counter-
The two types of commonly used that moves the fork carriage forward balance lift truck, a very flexible piece
walkie stackers are the walkie straddle into the load (see figure 21). Lifting of equipment, is considered to be the
stacker and the walkie reach stacker, heights start at 2.5 meters and can go backbone of the warehouse industry.
both electrically powered by batteries. as high as 4.54 meters.
Figure 22. Counterbalance Lift Truck
Figure 21. Walkie Reach Stacker
Unlike the counterbalance truck, the
walkie straddle and walkie reach truck
work within narrow stacking aisles.
The efficiency and economy of these
types of forklifts has been shown in
actual field use for many years, under
many different conditions.


Walkie straddle stackers use straddle
legs to distribute the load weight. The
legs allow the truck to straddle the pallet.
stacking, because the straddle legs allow To complete a 90° turn within the To complete a 90° turn within the
closer pallet stacking (see figure 20). aisle, with a 1.22 meter × 1.02 meter aisle, with a 1.22-meter × 1.02-meter
When they are used in conjunction pallet, for either the standard walkie pallet, the most common counterbal-
with pallet racking, it is important to straddle stacker or walkie reach stacker, anced lift truck requires approximate-
design the racks with enough space to the right-angle stack dimension is ly 3.35 meters plus .15 meters for
allow for the wider straddle legs when 2.25 meters. If you add 0.15 meters clearance for a total of 3.5 meters.
loading pallets on and off the racks. for operating clearance, the total
Lifting heights start at 2.6 meters and is aisle width requirements start at
go up to 4.8 meters. 2.5 meters. This assumes a 90° turn Narrow-Aisle Reach Trucks
within the aisle with a load. Lift truck manufactures have devel-
Figure 20. Walkie Straddle Stacker
oped variations on lifts that can oper-
ate effectively in narrower aisles. The
Counterbalance Lift Trucks most commonly used narrow-aisle
As the name implies, a counterbalance design is called a narrow-aisle reach
lift truck uses a counterbalance near truck. Narrow-aisle reach trucks are
the back of the truck to stabilize loads always battery operated, and many
that are being transported or lifted to accept attachments to meet all types
a storage area and retrieved. Counter- of special handling requirements.
balanced lift trucks can be powered by
either an internal combustion engine— Narrow-aisle reach trucks have forks
gas, diesel, or liquefied petroleum gas that reach out beyond the stabilizing
(LP gas), or by a battery. With a legs into the racking, which allow
capacity of 1,360-plus to 2,721-plus these trucks to lift to heights greater

than 10 meters, while still working in may need other types of equipment ladders. One reason to use these ladders
very tight aisles (see figure 23). for a specific job such as— is that the ladder has the feel of a
stairway, so the workers are comfortable
While these trucks are excellent for • for loading and unloading trucks and feel safe climbing up and down
use indoors, reach trucks are not the ladder steps.
suitable for work outside because of • for outside jobs.
Figure 24. Warehouse Rolling Ladder
their low clearance and electric power
systems, which can be harmed if the
truck is regularly shaken while oper- Rolling Warehouse Ladders
ating on uneven surfaces.
Rolling warehouse ladders provide
Figure 23. Narrow-Aisle Reach Truck
a stable, transportable platform for
maintenance, stock, and order pick-
ing; and for many other warehouse
and non-warehouse functions. This
equipment has features, such as
adjustable floor levelers and anti-skid
steps (see figure 24). Rolling ware-
house ladder sizes can range from two
steps to 15 steps; and 0.508 meters
to 4.8006 meters in overall height.
Additional key features include—

• Slip-resistant perforated tread: This

surface has maximum slip resistance Some facilities can implement an
and comfort when sitting or kneeling effective rack or bin system by using
on steps only a rolling warehouse ladder. If the
SAMPLE AISLE WIDTH REQUIREMENTS size of the facility, or the expense of
To complete a 90° turn within the • First-step actuated locking system: certain material handling equipment,
aisle, with a 1.22 meter × 1.02 meter This feature locks the ladder in is a constraint and the warehouse
pallet, the narrow-aisle reach truck place when a person steps on the cannot accommodate any type of
can operate in a 2.4 meter aisle plus first step. The step-lock feature is pallet lift equipment for storage and
.15 meters for clearance for a total of standard on most models. retrieval activities, warehouse rolling
2.54 meters. This is almost 1 meter ladders (see figure 24) may be adequate
less than the aisle space required for • Heavy 1 1/16 -inch diameter tubular for actual storage and retrieval of
the counterbalance type. construction: In harsh environments, small items. The rolling ladders
the tubular construction provides can also be used for other essential
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS superior strength, as well as being warehouse requirements; managers
FOR ALL WALKIE STACKER’S both durable and long lasting. may need to keep rolling ladders in
OR REACH TRUCKS the warehouse to supplement their
Because the front wheels of the outrig- • Durable powder coated paint finish: day-to-day necessities. They are also
ger are much smaller than the other This type of finish is baked on in useful as a backup if other material
types of counterbalance equipment, colors, such as industrial gray or handling equipment is unavailable.
they are not designed for crossing safety yellow. It provides a premium
dock plates, or for jobs that require quality scratch-resistant finish that For additional information about to
traveling over rough terrain: uneven is both durable and long lasting. the equipment listed in this appendix,
cement floors, outside work with access the following web sites: http://
small stones on the surface, etc. For In addition, warehouse ladders are www.yale.com/ (Yale Materials Han-
this type of equipment to function available in steel or aluminum. They dling Cooperation) or http://www.
safely and productively, the surface are also available in various degrees hyster.com/ (Hyster Forklifts), both
for straddle trucks must be fairly (48°–56°) of stairway slope for easy with locations in several countries),
smooth and free of debris and holes. forward ascent or descent, commonly and http://www.mit-lift.com/ (Mit-
Because of these limitations, the facility known as stairway slope warehouse subishi Fork Lift Trucks).

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Appendix 4
Warehouse A. Infrastructure
Performance Metrics a. Total Warehousing Cost

The four categories of performance B. Layout & Operations Capacity

measurement include—
a. Warehouse Order Processing
• quality
b. Put-away Time
• response time
c. Put-away Accuracy
• cost
d. Picking Accuracy Rate
• productivity.
e. % of Storage Space Dedi-
In each category, we defined the metrics, cated for Handling
gave a formula, and described the pur-
pose and issues related to the metric, as C. Warehouse Equipme nt & Storage
well as the sources to obtain data for the
metric and requirements for the data. a. Storage Space Utilization

To help relate the 13 metrics back to the b. Value of Product Damaged

Warehouse Self-Assessment, they have in the Warehouse
been organized to match the categories
reviewed in the Self-Assessment. D. Special Storage
If there is a certain category from
the assessment that scores low, the E. Inventory Management
metrics listed here can be used to
show how any interventions in this a. Inventory Accuracy
area have produced improvements on
performance. F. Security & Safety

a. Warehouse Accident Rate

b. Defined Security Measures

G. Human Resources

a. Units Moved Per Person

Per Hour

APPENDIX 4  | 61

A. Inventory Accuracy Rate
This indicator measures the percentage of warehouse or storage locations that had no inventory discrepancies
when stock cards were compared to a physical inventory count out of the total number of locations under review,
during a defined period of time. Alternatively, this indicator can be calculated for a single facility as the percentage
of months or quarters with no inventory discrepancies out of the total number of months or quarters in the review
period (e.g., annual).
number of storage locations with no inventory discrepancies
total number of storage locations under review

number of months/quarters with no inventory discrepancies

total number of months/quarters in review period

Purpose and Issues

The inventory accuracy rate can be used to assess overall inventory control performance for a group of storage
facilities or for one storage facility over a set of review periods. Inventory accuracy is critical for managers to know
how much they have in stock at any given point in time and to know when a new order must be placed to replenish
stock. This discrepancy analysis can help managers identify storage locations that are having problems with
inventory management; the analysis can lead to opportunities for improvement.
Data Sources Data Requirements
x Stock cards and inventory reports from information systems, x Inventory discrepancy calculations for
etc. each storage facility included in review
x Physical inventory report x Total number of storage locations under
x Storage location listing. review
x Total number of months/quarters in
review period.

B. Put-Away Accuracy
This indicator is the percentage of items placed in the correct location or bin in a warehouse or storage area.
number of items in correct location
total number of items

Purpose and Issues

This indicator measures a facility’s ability to stock items in the correct location so they can be quickly and easily located.
This can provide an indication of whether staff is practicing good warehousing practices and guidelines.
This indicator can be measured during a site visit or by making periodic checks at the facility over a specified length of time.

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For example, during a quarterly period, the number of times items were found in the wrong location.
Data Sources Data Requirements
x Site visits for visual inspection of location of items x Number of items in their
x Map or guidelines of intended storage locations for products. correct location in the
storage area
x Total number of items in
storage area under
Related Indicators
number of items in correct location and also in the correct quantities
total number of items

C. Picking Accuracy Rate
This indicator is defined as the percentage of items or lines picked accurately (i.e., the correct items and quantities)
from storage based on a request or packing list, and then placed into the appropriate container.
number of items of lines picked without errors with correct items and quantities
total number of items or lines picked *100

Purpose and Issues

This indicator measures whether items are accurately selected from storage and placed into a container to be
shipped to the requesting facility. It can reveal the ability of the facility to pick requests correctly in terms of
quantity and item. Errors can result in stockouts or overstocks at the ordering facility. To collect data for this
indicator, a review of items just before they are loaded for transporting can be conducted to determine the
accuracy of picked items compared against an invoice or requisition form. It can be calculated for a single order or
for all orders during a defined period of time.

Data Sources Data Requirements

x Order requests x Quantities ordered
x Packing list x Quantities picked.
x Physical count.

D. Warehouse Accident Rate
This indicator measures the total number of accidents occurring in a warehouse or other storage facility during a
defined period of time.
number of accidents occurring at the storage location per hour/day/week/month/quarter
Purpose and Issues
This indicator can reveal poor warehouse management and practices, untrained staff, unclear safety guidelines, faulty


equipment, or poor conditions. It can help pinpoint areas needing improvement by determining the cause of the
accidents—because of human error or other reasons. With intervention, accidents should decrease in frequency.

Data Sources Data Requirements

x Interviews with warehouse staff x All accident reports over a specified period of time.
x Incident reports
x Visit of warehouses.

Related Indicators
x Average number of accidents per hour/day/week/month/quarter

E. Defined Security Measures
This indicator measures whether there are guidelines or standard operating procedures (SOP) in place that provide
instructions to prevent theft or leakage at a given storage location.

Are warehouse guidelines or standards in place that define the security measures? (yes/no)

Purpose and Issues

Implementing proper security measures at storage facilities will help prevent theft and leakage of products, thus
saving money and increasing the availability of commodities. The program should have defined and detailed
instructions for facilities to follow to ensure that the facility is secure and the products protected. Evaluators should
also assess the quality or thoroughness of these guidelines or SOPs and the level of adherence by the facilities.

Data Sources Data Requirements

x Security measures x Warehouse or storage location SOPs and/or security
x Interviews with staff. guidelines.

A. Warehouse Order Processing Time
This indicator measures the average amount of time (e.g., minutes, hours, days, weeks) from the moment an order is received at
the storage facility until the time the order is actually shipped to the client. The order processing time can be calculated for a
specific shipping facility averaged across orders or on average for orders to a specific client or for a specific product.

∑ (date & time order is shipped – date & time shipping order was received)
total number of orders processed


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Purpose and Issues

This indicator helps monitor the order processing performance and the efficiency of a shipping facility. It also helps
identify opportunities for improving staff performance in order management and a facility’s response time.

Data Sources Data Requirements

x Order requests x Date and time shipping order was received
x Shipping log reports. x Date and time order is shipped
x Total number of orders processed.

B. Customs Clearance Cycle

This indicator measures the amount of time (e.g., minutes, hours, days, weeks) from the moment the cargo arrives
in the port or airport until the moment that it clears customs, arrives at the warehouse, and is ready to be put
away. This indicator can be calculated by product or supplier, or the average across products or suppliers, during a
specified period of time. If other factors affect getting the product from the port to the warehouse, such as a lack of
equipment at the port facility, evaluators can scale this calculation down to the specific amount of time that the
products were sent to the customs office until the customs office cleared and released them. 

Warehouse arrival date & time – port/airport arrival date and time
Purpose and Issues
The indicator can help identify delays in customs clearance and, with additional research, the causes involved—such
as incomplete paperwork, poor material description, missed certificate of origin, etc. Based on that, opportunities
for improvement can be identified and actions taken to minimize the amount of time required for products to clear
customs and to be made available at the warehouse.
Data Sources Data Requirements
x Packing lists, invoices, entry notice x Cargo arrival date at the port/airport
x Receiving report x Cargo arrival date at the warehouse.
x Customs reports.
Related Indicators
x Average customs clearance time per month/quarter/year
x Average customs clearance time for a specific product per month/quarter/year

C. Put-Away Time
This indicator measures the amount of time it takes from when a product(s) has been unloaded from a truck after
arriving at a warehouse or other storage location to when it is stored in its designated place and is ready for
picking. This indicator can be calculated by product, or by shipment, or as an average across products or shipments,
during a specified period of time.
Date and time product(s) unloaded – date and time product(s) stored in designated spot



Purpose and Issues

Measuring the put-away time can help improve productivity by monitoring the efficiency of the put-away processes
and the staff responsible for the task. It can help managers identify work conditions or processes that need
improvement, as well as the need for staff training.

Data Sources Data Requirements

x Shipment receipt vouchers x Put-away time in hours
x Time sheet for put-away activity per employee x Quantity of pallets or volume in cubic meters.
x Number of employees.
Related Indicators
x Average put-away time for all products per month/quarter/year
x Average put-away time for a specific product or shipment per month/quarter/year

A. Total Warehousing Cost
The total warehousing costs collect all costs related to warehousing, such as labor costs and warehouse rent; or mortgage
payments, utility bills, equipment, material- and information-handling systems, etc. It also includes costs related to
systems, supplies, and any other material with specific use in warehousing. This indicator is usually measured annually.
This indicator can also be calculated as the total warehousing cost per piece/SKU/product/line by dividing the total warehousing
cost by the quantity of stocked units or by the volume of stocked items in cubic meters (m3), per storage area (m2), or program.

Total warehousing cost = sum (labor, space, utilities, material, equipment, information systems, etc.)
total warehousing cost
quantities of stocked units or m3 or m2
Purpose and Issues
Using this indicator, managers can monitor the costs of different components in a warehouse, as well as compare
costs between different warehouses. It can help identify the most cost-effective warehouses, and can also lead to an
analysis of best practices.
Dividing total warehousing costs by units or area can also indicate storage usage, cost-effectiveness, etc. By dividing
the warehousing costs per SKU, this indicator provides the management team with excellent detailed cost visibility.

Data Sources Data Requirements

x Yearly accounting sheets x Labor cost
x Payroll. x Warehousing space cost (per m2)
x Cost of warehousing material
x Equipment costs
x Total inventory on hand in units (or
volume m3).


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Related Indicators
x Average inventory cost per storage point

B. Value of Product Damaged in the Warehouse

This indicator calculates the value of products damaged, during a defined period of time (usually one year), in the
warehouse as a percentage of the value of all shipped products during that period.
total value of damaged products

value of shipped products

Purpose and Issues

Inappropriate warehousing conditions or handling of products can lead to inventory damage. This indicator can help
put the value of products damaged into perspective and can be used to help identify the causes, as well as, the
actions needed to avoid such damages, including better infrastructure, manpower, training, etc.
Data Sources Data Requirements
x Invoices from vendors x Value of damaged
x Inventory reports, issue vouchers products
x Stock records x Value of shipped
x Accident reports
x Damage reports.

A. Storage Space Utilization
Storage space utilization indicates the percentage of the total storage space actually being used out of the total
storage space available.

total storage space in use (m3)

total storage space available (m ) 3

Purpose and Issues

Based on this indicator, managers can monitor storage capacity and utilization at a warehouse. By assessing storage
space utilization, managers can look for opportunities to improve storage capacity (e.g., remove expired products,
dejunking, reorganizing) and maximize the use of the storage space, or request a re-evaluation of layout, material
flow, shelves disposition, etc.



Data Sources Data Requirements

x Inventory reports x Total in use storage area: volume
x Warehouse floor plan of inventory in stock (m3)
x Site visit. x Total storage space capacity

B. Units Moved Per Person-Hour

This indicator measures the number of units (e.g., boxes, pallets) or weight moved during a defined period of time,
per person-hour, for each person working during that period. It can be considered both when receiving and
shipping inventory.
total number of units moved (or weight)

total number of person-hours

Purpose and Issues

This indicator helps measure material handling productivity for a period of time (hours, days, or months). It helps
compare productivity levels in different working shifts or different warehousing locations. It can be a source for
identifying needs for training and measuring its effectiveness.
Data Sources Data Requirements
x Receiving reports, invoices, packing lists x Number of units moved (receiving
x Time sheets, punch cards. or shipping) during a specified time
period, per person
x Total persons and hours spent
moving material during a specified
time period.

C. Percentage of Storage Space Dedicated to Product Handling
This indicator measures the percentage of total storage area that is dedicated specifically to product handling
(receiving, unloading, packing, loading, and dispatching).
storage area dedicated to product handling (m2)
total storage area (m ) 2

Purpose and Issues

It is recommended that a certain percentage of the storage area be dedicated specifically to product handling for an
average volume of products. The amount of handing space needed depends on the volume of product moved
through the storage area and the equipment required to move those products. This dedicated area is critical for the
efficient operations of the storage facility to allow for organized and efficient receiving, unloading, packing, loading,
and dispatching of products; and to protect products from the elements during receiving and packing.


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For more information, please visit deliver.jsi.com.
John Snow, Inc.
1616 Fort Myer Drive, 16th Floor
Arlington,VA 22209 USA
Phone: 703-528-7474
Fax: 703-528-7480
Email: askdeliver@jsi.com
Internet: deliver.jsi.com