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The Art and Science of Warehouse Slotting Optimization

Warehouse slotting optimization is about keeping everything in its proper place and available at the right time. However, slotting involves much more than just throwing items into any available space. This leads to confusion and disarray when trying to pick orders. As explained by Inbound Logistics, warehouse slotting optimization requires careful analysis of product flows, including both inbound and outbound freight patterns. While slotting optimization might seem as simple as getting the order’s slot location right on a picking sheet, it demands an added level of finesse in art and science.

Warehouse Slotting Should Follow Products That Tend to Be Ordered Simultaneously.

This begins the science side of optimizing warehouse slotting practices. Items that have similar profiles, such as cleaning or gardening products, should be profiled and grouped near to one another in the warehouse. While it may seem obvious, such groups should also work to pair items that are often shipped together, even when they do not appear similar. For example, gardening supplies may be slotted near outdoor wear and umbrellas. This is only an example, but each shelf should be organized in this manner.

Warehouse Slotting Should Always Be Considered When Phasing in or out Products.

Warehouses are often the first areas to experience problems when products are phased in or out of storefronts. Although this aspect of slotting has a factual basis, it is more artistic in that it requires assumptions based on what is preferred by consumers. Before phasing any product, warehouse managers should review all current slots and ensure the item’s profile matches the items it replaces. This will help to reduce problems as more products are brought into the facility.

Always Consider Weight, Dimensions, and Ease in Picking When Optimizing Slots.

How items are arranged and slotted combines both art and science. If you ever had a connect the blocks game on your smartphone, you know that just because something looks like it fits does not always translate into a fit. Every slotting action should consider the weight, dimensions, and ease in picking. This will reduce risk and ensure optimal slotting.

Warehouse Slotting Optimization Should Be Reviewed Frequently and Thoroughly.

The final step to the art and science of warehouse slotting optimization is about reviewing your warehouse layout and slotting organization for accuracy and relevancy to current ordering trends. More importantly, reviewing such information should be conducted on a regular basis, more often than seasonal changes in products. In other words, you need to carefully consider trends in order fulfillment, the market and possible reverse logistics, such as excess returns, on a continual basis throughout the year. Fortunately, some automated systems can review this information for you, giving you added flexibility in your warehouse.

In a Nutshell.

Without an advanced warehouse management system in place, optimizing slotting is difficult at best. Consider how slotting optimization can improve profit margins, and begin Increasing this tips for improving your slotting practices today.