What is slotting? Definition, best practices, and how to use it to optimize inventory

What Is Warehouse Slotting?

Doing so will enable fast-moving or big in size items will have a shorter travel distance to the loading dock. That’s why warehouse slotting, which may seem at first glance like nothing more than a game of Tetris, is actually the key efficiency, fulfillment speed, and order accuracy. It is the very first step in creating data integrity, from the moment a piece of inventory hits the loading dock.

Warehouse slotting represents an opportunity for managers because it is difficult to get right. Balancing priorities is tricky — there’s a temptation, for example, to just put all of the fast-moving items in slots near the loading dock and live with the consequences. Both chaotic and fixed slotting methods can turn these principles on their heads. Your warehouse should be designed to reduce errors when orders are picked. If you sell a red polo shirt in six sizes and you group them all together, it’s easy for a picker to pull a size L when they needed XL. If you place each size in a different aisle and even zone of the warehouse, the picker will go to the XL shirt’s location, and that will be the only red shirt on the shelf. Move products to a location that minimizes travel distance across all orders, which will improve picking efficiency and order timeliness while reducing costs and increasing profits.

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If the bin becomes too empty, it triggers a replenishment order from reserve storage. Here are just a few of the benefits of developing a practical slotting strategy. As your partner in packaging, we’re here to make sure your products make the best impression on your customers—and that starts with the box. Make an impression on your customers, check out their design studio or talk to a packaging expert to create the best packaging solutions that make sense for your warehouse. The warehouse Slotting Optimization it’s an ongoing process of changes, data gathering and analyzing data, it’s a repetitive process, according to the business dynamic.

As defined above, slotting is the process of increasing the functionality of a warehouse by organizing to maximize space and make picking more efficient. Reslotting is the practice of assessing previous slotting efforts, then performing the slotting process again. Pickers understand your current warehouse layout better than anyone because they’re always moving around the warehouse. The pickers on the floor may have suggestions in mind on how to rearrange for better efficiency. Collaborate with pickers to identify opportunities to better organize inventory that eliminates headaches and confusion during the order picking process. There’s always an opportunity to better organize your warehouse for faster, more accurate warehouse picking. As your ecommerce business grows and your product lines expand, you’ll likely focus on putting your inventory in empty spaces without considering where to optimally store it.

Slotting Best Practice #2: Slot SKUs by Zone or Technology

MWPVL mentioned there is generally a 5 to 20% increase in labor productivity for order picking. This translates to a reduction in losses and possibly damaged or even expired goods which are forgotten. Operations staffs will take note of items that are not frequently moved since the inventory are visible. Fixed slotting refers to the practice of putting product types into pre-assigned dedicated locations. Even if these locations are empty, they will not be available for other SKU.

Working with a 3PL like ShipBob can leave the warehouse operations to professionals. Proper slotting can improve picking accuracy by eliminating any possible confusion for the picker. That way, pickers can focus on speed rather than taking too much time locating the right item. Besides avoiding damage during transit or packing, a warehouse slotting strategy can also help avoid damage to stored items. For example, it helps ensure workers store perishable foods only within refrigerated sections of the facility. The time employees spend looking at their clipboard or tablet to find an item is when they could pick and deliver it. Good slotting helps improve employee productivity by allowing them to locate items immediately.

You could conceivably pile all your tools or ingredients into random piles around the shop or kitchen. But then you’d be spending two-thirds of your time going back and forth searching for what you need.

Better use of warehouse space

Now that we have discussed warehouse slotting in detail, you would know how it is an excellent opportunity to improve your warehouse operations and maximize your warehouse efficiency. Safer employees will bring more productivity making the warehousing functions efficient.

  • At the end of the day, we don’t expect our merchants to have a deep understanding of our WMS or our warehouse slotting SOP’s.
  • During the holiday season, however, the top-of-the-line toolset becomes a best seller.
  • Typically this data can come from your warehouse management system.
  • A major benefit of slotting is increased productivity and storage capacity within the same amount of space.
  • In your kitchen you have your spices near your stove for easy access while cooking, same with your dishes and glasses which are usually placed in your cupboard near the sink.

Load building for pallets is also important to take into consideration. When you are picking to load your shipping pallets the heavy items need to be on the bottom whereas the light and fragile items need to be loaded on the top. Your pick paths need to be analyzed for the best slot for efficiency. The objective of warehouse slotting is to organize the storage of items properly. The picking activity done during the outbound stage will be efficient. There will be a reduction in time wastage as well and orders are fulfilled quickly. With a third-party logistics company you’ll be able to manage your; incoming orders, shipments, and product returns.

What are the symptoms that slotting is required?

Save with our unbeatable, nationwide 2-day, standard, and economy shipping rates. We provide third-party links as a convenience and for informational purposes only. Intuit does not endorse or approve these products and services, or the opinions of these corporations or organizations or individuals. Intuit accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content on these sites. Other important factors include shipping commitments, such as international or expedited shipping, and the total warehouse square footage, height, and fixtures.

What Is Warehouse Slotting?

Smart Slotting takes the necessary data and puts dollars to your operation costs, including labor, material handling equipment, storage mediums, and more. Using a variety of algorithms, Smart Slotting will define the total What Is Warehouse Slotting? lowest cost operating plan for your facility. Also, this warehouse slotting tool can factor in seasonal spikes, future growth, and other changing conditions to make sure you are prepared for your future needs as well.

Prioritize Slots in the Warehouse

This reduces the need for unnecessary guessing of where a product is and establishes the quickest route to get it done. Instead of having a bunch of inventory on-hand and letting it pile up until it’s sold, you can anticipate and streamline warehouse workflow.

What Is Warehouse Slotting?

We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Create unique business rules for your operation to help reduce “stock outs” and frequent replenishment. Review potential reductions in stocking and operational costs by exploring the consolidation of operations and bringing all SKU’s under one roof.

Warehouse slotting is one of the most critical optimization processes logistics managers must regularly undertake. The slotting process can have an outsized influence on an organization, as the state of the items they receive influences customer satisfaction. Warehouse management systems act as an incredible assist for facility managers who wish to streamline the warehouse optimization process. By incorporating data from around the warehouse, including order history, SKUs and picking level, a WMS may generate insights humans alone would not reach. Errors occur if an item gets lost, damaged or misdelivered during the picking process. Ensuring the warehouse is organized and slotted correctly minimizes these errors, resulting in lower costs and happier customers.

With a good slotting strategy in place within the software , the storage space will be optimized correctly. However, sometimes it is hard to determine if it’s really worth spending the entire warehouse to move things around. While desiring efficiency, some businesses can’t see how this process will actually be worth it in the end.

  • If we click on “ABC ”, it will classify according to the volume instead.
  • Slotting is the process of organizing a warehouse and its inventory to maximize efficiency.
  • Since the picking process is smooth, the speed will naturally increase and so will the productivity.
  • But excessively large or heavy items should be placed closer; moving those items will be more difficult and time-consuming.
  • Ranking slots by priority is one way to make things easy on your warehouse team.
  • A zone or hybrid approach will be better in this environment to improve efficiency.
  • Pickers understand your current warehouse layout better than anyone because they’re always moving around the warehouse.

Whatever the criteria for priority you set, the bottom line is that it should enhance the process’s efficiency and speed. With an increased in productivity, the number of manpower and MHE required will be reduced.

Place group B in the following location, and group C toward the back or least accessible areas of the warehouse. Say the coffee wholesaler starts selling espresso machines and commercial equipment that require a cart or platform truck to move through the warehouse. A slotting strategy places these larger SKUs together at the back of the warehouse.

There is another benefit of slotting, however, that is immeasurable. While your customers may take quick turnaround and order accuracy for granted, the opposite experience can tank your brand’s reputation. Speedy, accurate order fulfillment helps ensure repeat business, fewer returns, and higher satisfaction ratings. Still, in the long run, this disorganization will take a severe toll on your eCommerce business by increasing your storage and inventory carrying costs. Your warehouse should be ‘slotted’ based on your sales of a particular product, you can use your sales data to help optimise your warehouse layout design. The best sales items should be slotted toward the front of your warehouse wherein the least sold items should be slotted toward the back of your warehouse. Therefore, your warehouse should be slotted first by the fastest moving item, the second fastest, the third and so on down the line.

Maximizes resources and lowers cost

If you are considering using warehouse slotting, you’ll need a slotting strategy. This means having a system to follow in which items are organized by specific categories.

On the other end of the spectrum, those SKUs with the lowest velocity should be towards the back of the warehouse and not as easily accessible within the “C” category. All the items in the middle with medium velocity should fall in between those groups within the “B” category. Once you have that data, you need to conduct an audit of your warehouse as it currently operates. You should identify any areas with too many products that are difficult to pick. You should also identify any problem areas that are particularly hard to access.

In that case, try a hybrid approach or use zone or wave picking to improve picking efficiency. Smart Slotting is a warehouse slotting optimization tool and is fully integrated with AutoCAD®, the world’s leading design software program. Shiprocket Fulfillment is an eCommerce fulfillment solution offering a platform for order fulfillment, warehousing, catalog, and inventory management. With our tech-enabled fulfillment https://quickbooks-payroll.org/ centers across India, eCommerce brands can store products close to their customers and ship 3X faster at lower costs. This is a crucial practice to optimize the warehousing space and utilizing it most appropriately. Take a look at the storage plan you are using and decide if it makes it easy to pick products quickly. Slotting is an excellent opportunity for you to improve the overall operations of your warehouse.

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