Prological Managing Director Peter Jones discusses in MHD Supply Chain News how warehouse design has been hamstrung by focusing on square rather than cubic metres, at the cost of proper space utilisation and efficiency – and how to unlock benefits through the cubic approach.
In the world of warehouse design, it is common practice to measure and plan using square metres rather than cubic metres. However, as Peter Jones, Managing Director of supply chain consulting firm Prological points out, this method of measurement may not be the most effective.
“The preference for square metres can be traced back to the traditional purchasing process of industrial property, which is based on land measurements,” Peter says. “Even when companies vote on the construction of a warehouse, the decision is often based on square metres rather than the actual cubic capacity of the facility.”
But Peter argues that thinking about warehouse design in terms of cubic metres rather than square metres can lead to a more efficient use of space.
“In a typical 10,000 square metre warehouse with a 13-metre roof height, the cubic utilisation is only 17 per cent,” he says. “By increasing this utilisation to 25 per cent, there is the potential for a 50 per cent increase in the cubic utilisation of the facility. This highlights the importance of considering cubic metres in warehouse design to maximize the use of available space.”
What accounts, then, for the continuing emphasis on square metres rather than cubic metres?
“The traditional method of measuring warehouse space in square metres may be due to groupthink, a longstanding way of thinking,” Peter says. “However, the increasing use of automation in warehouses has caused some to rethink this method and consider the benefits of considering warehouse space in cubic metres.”
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