To maintain a competitive advantage and meet customer demands in today’s challenging distribution environment, most organizations look to cut operational costs and increase facility out put without adding personnel. However, achieving this can be difficult given that every warehouse contains a limited set of resources—people, equipment, products and available storage space—which must be optimized to achieve a positive impact on fulfillment and distribution activities. Two components critical to this optimization are where products are slotted and the distance people have to travel to pick them—especially when it comes to fast-moving items.  Slotting is simply the assignment of a specific cube of space to a specific product or purpose ideally in the best possible manner for optimization.

In managing a warehouse or distribution center, the placement of inventory is perhaps the most critical element in the efficiency of the entire operation.  In order to achieve supply chain management efficiency, warehouse technology should include some form of slotting and re-slotting application that optimizes the storage of goods in your warehouse—resulting in higher productivity and greater facility throughout.

The question of when and how to slot – that is, to make or revise the slot plan of an existing warehouse or distribution center is not an easy one to answer. Knowing slotting concepts and the the theory of slotting improves the placement of inventory to reduce picking time, improve service levels, adjust for seasonal or nonseasonal demand fluctuations and maximize warehouse space.

Among the strategic factors impacting slotting policy include product rotation, seasonality of product and demand fluctuations.  Labor considerations include staff utilization and cost.  Also warehouse geography maps out the actual utilization of space and layout efficiency. In order to create an effective slotting plan, warehouse management technology and planning can assist in reaching better space utilization.

Key Benefits of Slotting Include:

  • Optimize product placement: On a continual basis—Whether you’re creating an initial slotting plan for your warehouse or re-slotting as your needs change; slotting application optimizes product placement with a breadth of functionality.
  • Maximize space utilization: Because your warehouse space is valuable, optimizing product placement is essential. Slotting products according to the way business drives your warehouse operations helps to ensure no storage space is wasted.
  • Improve worker safety: Slotting products in the “golden zone” reduces visual search time and minimizes the amount of movement required for retrieval. This results in easy-to-reach placements that keep worker safety in the forefront while their productivity and throughput soar.
  • Minimize travel to maximize efficiency:—Best-In-Breed, Warehouse Management Systems slotting application takes miles out of the paths pickers travel on a daily basis, which translates into faster fill rates and more on-time, accurate shipments.
  • Improve key performance metrics: With an increase in warehouse efficiency, management will see related improvements in key metrics such as picks per hour, cycle times and inventory turns.

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