In general, design considerations for warehouses in Thailand differ little from anywhere else in the world. However, there are one or two differences that can sometimes be overlooked, especially by companies operating out of older premises, or those expanding operations into the Thai market.
For example, while not unique to this country, issues such as heat and high humidity must be allowed for in many aspects supply chain operation in Thailand, warehouse design included.
Of course much depends upon where your warehouses are situated, but certainly, in and around Bangkok and along the coast, where the majority of industrial sites are to be found, heat and humidity can have quite an impact on workforce efficiency and productivity.
Climate Control Improves Efficiency
Climate control can be challenging in warehouses, given their typical metal construction and large doorways. While it is possible to install air conditioning, the necessary systems are complex and very expensive to run.
Cost is often cited as a reason for neglecting climate control, but there is a good reason why in Thailand, warehouse design should take into account the difference high temperatures can make to employee efficiency and productivity.
If your warehouse operatives have to labour under tropical temperatures, magnified by the metal structure of the building, they are not going to work with the same efficiency as they would in a cooler environment.
When Aircon isn’t an Option
Retrofitting and running an air-conditioning system in an older warehouse might be cost-prohibitive, but the installation of fans in the roof space, along with a layer of insulation inside the walls, will go a long way toward improving employee comfort.
If your company is planning to build or occupy a new warehouse, then of course, it is far easier to put climate control measures in place before the operation goes live.
Either way, for warehouses in Thailand that house largely manual operations, adding some form of climate control will make a marked difference to productivity. If air-conditioning is out of the question, you might want to consider installing a type of fan that’s specially designed for industrial buildings and warehouses. These are known as HVLS (high volume low speed) fans, and are probably the next best thing to aircon. They are also considerably less expensive, both to install and to run.
The Benefits of HVLS Fans for Thai Warehouse Operations
Ceiling-mounted HVLS fans work differently to conventional fans. They move a huge volume of air, effectively de-stratifying the layers of stale, warm air that build up in a warehouse space.
If you want to ensure your warehouse stays cool, these efficient and economical fans can be allowed to run 24/7 and will actually reduce air temperature by up to three or four degrees Celsius, whereas conventional fans succeed only in moving warm blocks of air around.
Three degrees might not sound like a lot, but it’s enough to make people feel a lot more comfortable at work, especially as the air in the warehouse is moving as long as the fans are running.
Other Ways to Keep the Warehouse Cool
HVLS fans are not the only new or retrofit feature you can add to your warehouse design for climate control. For example, if you can build a warehouse (or redesign it) with doors to the North and the South, keeping them open during warehouse operations will help to create a natural flow of air through the building.
Of course if you have the budget the best way of all to prevent heat and humidity from reducing staff efficiency and productivity is to automate as much of your warehouse activity as possible.
With the cost of automation continuing to decrease, expect to see an increasing number of warehouse operators reducing manual processes over the next few years, as not only will this reduce the need to worry about productivity, but it also minimizes the cost of labour, heating, cooling, and lighting inside inventory storage facilities.
When your company is looking for, (or building) a new warehouse in Thailand, it’s important to keep automation in mind. Even if you aren’t planning to automate right now, it’s worth considering the future possibility of doing so, and allowing for that in the design of the building.
There’s much to Consider in Thailand Warehouse Design
It’s really no surprise that issues like heat and humidity get overlooked when designing warehouses. After all, there is always so much to consider and with the emphasis always on making space for inventory and offices, interior comfort in the warehouse itself is at risk of taking a back seat.
That’s why it can be helpful to engage some external help when designing, redesigning, or searching for a new warehouse in Thailand.
At Logistics Bureau, we know plenty about designing warehouses for optimal efficiency, and that includes getting the most from the workforce. Perhaps we can help you with your next warehouse-commissioning project. If you’d like to speak with one of our experts in Thailand warehouse design and operation, don’t hesitate to give us a call at +66 2207 2680.