Effectively Slotting Your Warehouse Facility
Authored by Pat McAssey
November 4, 2013
If you are in an existing warehouse or storage facility looking to improve efficiency, or you are moving to a new facility, you should consider a slotting analysis. Slotting is the activity of determining the most optimal storage area for all items within your facility. Properly slotting a material handling facility can benefit you in the following ways:
Reduced labor costs
Increased order accuracy
Increased order picking and replenishing efficiency
Effective slotting starts with determining what kind of load you are storing/ picking, which in most cases is either full pallets, partial pallets or cases, and individual items. You also should determine what the product will be picked from and stored on, whether that is racking, shelving, carton flow, mezzanine, or a combination. Lastly, it is important to determine the tools that will be used to pick the products, which includes forklifts, pallet jacks, vertical lifts, etc.
The most important aspect to consider when performing a slotting analysis is product data, such as weight, dimensions, quantity, and velocity. The first three are pretty straight-forward, it is always important, for a number of reasons, to know the size and weight of your product, and how many units you have. The last, velocity, refers to the frequency a certain SKU is picked over a specific period of time. This is the trickiest factor to measure, and you should consider the following steps when performing SKU velocity analysis:
Determine which product SKU’s are fast, slow, and medium paced movers and store them in the most appropriate storage device.
Place high velocity SKUs in easily accessible locations to allow for quick and efficient picking and storing.
Determine if seasons or promotions influence certain product’s velocity, because this can effect where they should be positioned.
Effectively slotting your material handling facility can be very complex, and there are many factors to consider before making any decisions. Partial or inaccurate data will only make for an ineffective attempt at providing a streamlined process for handling product in your facility. One major oversight that is typical when performing slotting analysis is designing a system that doesn’t allow for flexibility. This is extremely important for a company with a constantly changing inventory with certain products frequently going in and out of stock. Another common oversight is not choosing the correct storage equipment to store different SKUs on, which can compromise the storage equipment and result in ineffective picking and storing.
ASI will gladly work with you to answer some of these questions and help determine the right course of action for your facility. There are many options to consider, which can be confusing, but our experienced sales team is more than willing to help clarify some of these options so that you are left with an effective slotting system.