Warehouse Slots

Are you feeling lucky? We've got some slots to play, warehouse slots of course!


Hi, I’m James, this is Whiteboard Wednesday, and today we’re going to talk about loose slots… warehouse slots.

Warehouse slots, and why those matter to your warehouse, or even your manufacturing arm and the warehouse that you keep.

So that warehouse slot is that space that you’ve set aside for your inventory, that you have to go to often for picking, whether you’re going to pick, pack and ship, or you’re picking just to go get a part that’s part of a stage of manufacturing.

Pretty basic, and this is just a general outline, there’s a lot of other complexities to this, but it’s a good starting point.

So, first, we need to RANK what our items are.

So let’s say you’ve got five different items here, the reality is you may have five hundred thousand, same principle applies. What you need to do is order it by frequency, specifically the number of times that you pick it, and we want to go by the year so that you have a good statistical average.

So let’s say that you have a part that you pick ten thousand times in one year, compared to a group of parts that there are ten thousand items within that bulk that you pick on average once per year. We’re looking for the number of times that we pick that item by frequency, so the highest number of picks. We can find that through reporting, through a sales query, a lot of possible places to find this.

Again, with something like this, if you have an automated solution, it’s way easier to find it, narrow down your immediate categories rather than going through your old spreadsheet. I think you’ve heard this before.

And, we want to make sure this is in descending order, we’re not trying to get the fewest number but obviously the highest items picked per year, or whatever kind of monthly, weekly category you want, but year is probably going to serve you best.

From here, once we’ve picked our rank, we can go by LOCATION.

Meaning, what is, form the spot your picker is located, do they go directly to one place? Let’s say this is shipping and receiving and they’re just going from one spot to another, and there’s not much distance traveled. Or, are they going all through-out several aisles? We need to account for what the shortest distance is between the common pick area, and where they’re going to pick that item, and the slots that’s located.

Not only that, how accessible it is. So if you have, let’s say, some highly picked part, but it’s way high up on the shelf, and if it was accessible at ground or even mid-level, as far as access to your employees, it’s going to make a lot more sense than having to go get the pallet jack, or ladder, to go get that item, unless it’s a heavy item that needs that. Again, lot of factors, but accessibility is really really important.

And then even how it’s picked. So are you going up and down the aisles, just kind of willy nilly? Or, are your shelves and warehouses laid out in a manner where the highest number of picked items are immediately accessible at the front end, at the end cap, right there at the floor, etc.

The whole point of this is so that we can save time. This is where the jackpot comes in. If we can reduce the time traveled between pick station to slot item where that’s picked, bringing it back, and shipping, every time that we shave off increments of time, we’re saving time for the next order, the picking, the packing, the shipping, or the next time we have to pick and send it to manufacturing.

So, if we can keep these two things in mind, both the rank and the location, we’re going to save time, that’s going to help with our revenue, it’s going to help with our labor costs, and the overall idea with this entire process is:

the less amount of time used to pick, pack, ship, or pick and send on to manufacturing, the more effective we are, and the more effective we are as a company.

So if we can just use a couple of these items and incorporate them into our business, we’re going to see some savings. For us, for our employees, and hopefully a little bit faster turnaround for our customers, which hey, who doesn’t like that?

So that’s this Whiteboard Wednesday, talking about warehouse slots, and nothing else. Just warehouse slots.

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