How to Design a Productive Distribution Center

The design of a distribution center can have a profound impact on productivity and operating costs. When planning a layout for your business’ distribution center, there are a few important factors to keep in mind. Consider the type of center you need, building and aisle size, dock design and lighting.

How to Plan Your Distribution Center Design

  1. Determine the type of distribution center you will have– There are three types of distribution centers: conventional, mechanized and automated. According to MWPVL International:
  • Conventional distribution centers rely on people and equipment
  • Mechanized distribution centers rely on “mechanized, conveyance and sortation systems”
  • Automated distribution centers rely on machines and robots

The type of distribution center you will have will play a major role in how you design your layout.

  1. What’s your objective? –Taking into consideration the type of distribution center you will have, you should determine your goals and objectives. Do you want to decrease operating costs? Optimize your operations? Expand your business? Creating a list of everything you want to achieve will help you make decisions during the design process.
  2. Analyze your needs – Next, you’ll want to determine what you need for a successful distribution center. How many storage racks? How wide do the aisles need to be? What kind of equipment do you need? When performing an analysis, don’t forget to consider:
  • Aisle size
  • Storage requirements
  • Traffic lanes
  • Staffing requirements
  • Lighting placement
  • Budget
  • Dock design
  1. Create a plan–Now it’s time to compile all of your objectives and analysis into a comprehensive plan. Outline each task and break out a timeline for accomplishing each one. Once the implementation process begins, consult your plan frequently to determine if it is playing out as intended.

Distribution Center Products from McCue

Even the best-planned distribution center can be subject to accidents. McCue offers innovative material handling asset protection products that make designing an efficient distribution center easy. Enhance safety and safeguard your employees and infrastructure.

Our five-step process assesses your current damage prevention measures and recommends the McCue products you need. Part of that process includes developing a custom blueprint of your facility—a “McCue Print”—that demonstrates where each of our solutions should be placed to maximize safety.

See a sample McCue Print below:


Did you know that there are 23,000 on the job injuries every day, in the United States alone? Or that damage from forklift collisions often requires multiple, expensive repairs?

Download this guide to learn about ways to prevent these incidents and the consequences of failing to act.

Download The Future Damage Prevention

A Catalog.