10 Reasons Warehouse Fit-out Projects Fail

Even with all the good intentions in the world, a full warehouse fit-out project is no simple task. With so many variables, countless moveable and variable factors, and often with numerous teams of people trying to tie the project together, some details can get overlooked.


Even one small delay or unexpected glitch can set back the entire job, so if you have stock queuing to come into the warehouse it can have knock-on and costly consequences.

So, what are the greatest pitfalls for a business planning a new warehouse fit-out? And how can you make sure that your business avoids them?

1. Poor Requirements Brief

All new projects start life as a brief. This brief should detail the complete job, with all angles covered, to ensure that nothing is forgotten, overlooked or delayed when it’s time to put the plan into action. Failing to focus on the smaller details at the start of the project can’t automatically be made up for by addressing them it on at the end.

Almost all elements of your warehouse fit-out project will have knock-on effects for various others, and so you may face significant delays if you have to stop in order to include a missed feature.

2. Too Many Cooks

We’ve written many times before about the advantages of using one company for as many aspects of your project as possible. There are many benefits to this, the main one being the streamlining of the process as a whole under a single team.

With all the relevant details being passed through the same chain of command, this leaves less room for error or confusion. Too many companies all fighting to get their own little job done will only lead to headaches, wasted time and needless expense.

3. No Logistical Plan

Having a brief of all required components and features is one thing, but without a logistical plan detailing how exactly the project will operate, there’s no ‘glue’ to bind all the critical elements together.

Without a cohesive plan, the project can easily become muddled and chaotic as the various elements begin to overlap and interfere with each other. This can easily be avoided with proper planning from the outset.

4. Lack of Strong Project Management

So you’ve got your plan ready, now you need someone to put it into action. Without a proficient project manager at the helm, taking care of the various crews and ensuring the plan is followed, the project will inevitably become a victim of confusion, with delays and extra expenses all part of the package.

Partnering with reliable warehouse consultants will help to guarantee the quality level of management you should expect.

5. Cutting Corners

Cutting corners may in the short term reduce cost and even the time of your project. But will almost certainly increase the risks.

While the little details may seem somewhat irrelevant in the light of a much larger plan, they should not be neglected or overlooked. If you attempt to cut down on time and expense by leaving bits out, this will have the opposite effect to what you desire when you realise your mistake later on.

Each and every part of the warehouse fit-out project is vitally important if it’s going to be a success; from storage to stairways to the hand-dryers in the toilets, everything needs to be accounted for.

6. Scope Creep

This point overlaps somewhat with those previously mentioned, but is worthy of a section in its own right. While you may think you have everything planned out from top to bottom, with timescales, finances and management all in place, all too often something is thought of later that really should have been included from the start.

This can be anything from a major oversight to a fine detail, but if it keeps happening, the scope of your project can grow massively in comparison to the task you expected to be undertaking. Check, double-check and check again; you may end up kicking yourself later if you don’t.

7. No Built-In Scalability

Creating the perfect storage facility for your current requirements is great, but it’s advisable to think about what your needs will look like months or years down the line. Business is far from static; stock lines change, new products launch and innovations revolutionise entire sectors, meaning those in the industry have to adapt along with their market.

More to the point, if you’re successful, your business is going to expand, so to account for all of this, there should be a level of scalability built into your warehouse plan, allowing you to adapt over time. Without such scalability you may very quickly find that your shiny new warehouse is not fit for purpose. This will obviously cost a lot of time and money to correct.

8. Poor Health & Safety Planning

While the phrase ‘health and safety’ is often met with eye-rolls from all those within earshot, it is a vitally important part of the process.

Warehouse fit-outs, and warehouse operation in general, can be dangerous, so you need to account for any relevant health and safety legislation pertaining to both the project and the continued use of the facility upon completion. Failure to do so will cause bigger issues than the time and expense wasted with most of the points on this list, as any injuries incurred will not only weigh on your conscience, but could also lead to the closure of your facility, either temporarily or permanently.

9. Heating and Lighting Overlooked

While we have already discussed the potential to overlook one or more aspects of the project, this one happens often enough to merit a special mention.

Perhaps it’s because of the fact that heating and lighting are seen as standard, but far too many people completely forget to include these in their plans. Both are hugely important in terms of general operation, staff comfort and health and safety. They can also be a nuisance to install if left too late, as you may be restricted by other installations.

10. Underutilisation of Available Space

Space is expensive, so use it properly. Without a well-planned warehouse design for all your racking, you will cost yourself a small fortune in underutilised or wasted space.

This may mean another redesign is needed later to fully make use of what you have available, leading to yet more unnecessary expense. This also extends to receiving and despatch areas, office space, and picking and packing areas as well as the main storage area.

Acorn Warehouse Solutions has decades of experience in warehouse planning, fit-outs, maintenance, and expansion – including installation of mezzanine floors and flooring and repurposing of racking space. For us, warehouse safety is second nature.

Next steps? Arrange to have a chat with Acorn Warehouse Solutions about your next warehouse fit-out project. We’ll be delighted to give you a quote for the complete design, supply, installation, and commissioning of your warehouse.