Distribution and Fulfillment Center Planning and Design


PLS planning, design, and implementation services include:

PLS’ distribution center planning, design and implementation engineering services are packaged to provide flexibility depending on the needs of each client’s organization. We provide the experience and know-how to assess an operation’s status quo and determine the data-driven requirements to support efficient distribution or fulfillment center operations. The end result is the ability to offer a turnkey implementation of a new facility, expanded facility, or renovated facility.

Following an intensive data collection process, our space planning model is adapted to the specifics of each client operation. This tool determines not only the total space required for each task within the facility but also the details of the facility. These details include the number of dock doors, workstations for each task, full time employees required for each task, space required for breakrooms and other common areas, battery charging space required, and potential mezzanine space activities.

PLS develops a DC Requirements Definition which documents inputs for MHE Technology Assessments. Determining the right types of equipment and automation for each specific area is the key to maximizing return on investment. PLS evaluates multiple Material Handling Equipment/Automation technologies for processes within the facility. Return on Investment and Internal Rate of Return are calculated to select the appropriate levels of MHE technology for each facility.

Our services deliver a detailed design that addresses capacity requirements, improved service levels to customers, and reduced operating expenses. All these deliverables are critical in today’s explosively growing omni-channel supply chains.

The DC Requirements Definition is then used as input for Technology Assessment. Determining the right types of equipment and automation for each specific area is the key to maximizing return on investment. ROI and IRR are the determining factors for selecting the appropriate levels of technology for each facility.

After exhaustive analysis to determine the requirements and technology, the layout and design of the facility can be effectively developed. PLS will utilize the results of analysis to prepare conceptual design options for consideration. Preparing multiple options allows for a collaborative effort with each client to select the best possible layout to meet quantitative and subjective requirements. The detailed dimensions of the MHE system are then added to the design to create the detailed design. PLS strives to provide seamless paths of expansion for every design. Providing for growth well beyond the original planning horizon minimizes future disruptions when additional capacity is required.

Detailed design provides overhead views and side view elevation Computer Aided Design (AutoCAD) drawings for all of the equipment to be utilized in the distribution center. Our professionals also employ the industry-leading warehouse design software, an economic-based slotting tool that is fully integrated with AutoCAD. This versatile tool enables fixed, labor, and capital costs to be fully considered to ensure that SKUs are optimally slotted for order picking and fulfillment.


Distribution and Fulfillment Center Implementation

Material Handling Equipment Specifications are developed for each MHE subsystem within the facility. The specifications detail the length, width, height, type, load capacity, guarding, sequencing, and controls for each individual component of the MHE system. Specifications serve as the foundation for MHE proposals to ensure that each prospective MHE supplier will have the appropriate information to satisfy the requirements for the facility with the equipment offered.

PLS develops detailed Request for Proposal documents which are developed and provided to each prospective supplier involved in the competitive bidding process. The RFP details the deadlines, business requirements, and equipment specifications for the project to facilitate “apples to apples” proposals from all bidders. After detailed review of the submitted proposals, we provide a decision-making scorecard for supplier selection. The scorecard integrates quantitative and subjective decision criteria through a weighted scoring exercise. The result is an independent and objective recommendation of the best value and best fit MHE supplier for each project

MHE Implementation Management can also be provided, which is our ongoing presence and efforts of our professionals during the installation of equipment and startup of a facility to ensure the project requirements are satisfied. Weekly project communication meetings maintain an open dialogue for all parties involved and keep the project on schedule. Minutes of each meeting are provided with ongoing progress updates for open issues. Upon the completion of the MHE installation, formal acceptance testing is conducted and documented.


All project documents, schedules and project communications are maintained on a custom project specific PLS project portal, to ensure effective communications between all involved parties.