Ways to Approach Efficient Warehousing; Part 6- Infrastructure Re‐engineering
The third level of the pyramid, discussed previously, lets you achieve productivity and profitability by optimizing all the resources within the warehouse including labor, equipment, storage, space and inventory. This strategy typically results in a revamped warehouse layout that cuts down on picking and can make huge differences in order cycle time and warehouse efficiency. The benefits of infrastructure re‐engineering include defining warehouse configurations and rules and reslotting.
Define warehouse layout, configuration and rules
Your warehouse, and any WMS you install, will perform best if you draw up a plan that optimizes the layout of the facility based on warehouse activities, size of product and handling requirements. Sometimes, this may require outside advice or consultation. The plan should include contingencies for warehouse expansion.
Re‐slotting redefines your warehouse
Effective slotting is necessary to achieve commonality, which helps the picking process run at peak efficiency. Most companies can apply Pareto’s law to their product mix: 20% of their products can be found on 80% of their orders.
Put the fastest moving products in the golden zones ‐ High velocity products are placed in a “golden zone” to reduce bending and reaching activity. Heavy or oversized items are placed on lower levels in the pick zone or placed in a separate zone where material‐handling equipment can be utilized.
Some items require special handling ‐ Slotting sometimes involves identifying handling requirements of a product, such as ‘hazmat’ for hazardous material, heavy materials requiring special equipment to lift, or perishable products requiring refrigeration or freezing. Keep these items together to optimize use of special equipment or resources required for handling them.
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