Slotting Optimization | Fortna

    Optimizing Operations: Step One

    by Dan Basmajian

    With expanding SKUs and growing customer demands, pressure on warehouse operations to perform at a peak level but stay within current staffing is at an all-time high. Automation can be a great solution for the future; however, companies at the beginning of the digital transformation process need a solution that can create an immediate and measurable benefit.

    Employing a slotting solution in a pick path or receiving operation can offer a boost in productivity, reclaimed capacity, improved service levels, and a significant reduction in breakage. Slotting is the practice of placing items (SKUs) in the distribution center (DC) into pre-selected slots (locations). Items assigned to slots based on multiple factors that include:

    • Velocity of Product Turns
    • Weight
    • Stackability
    • Product Dimensions
    • Product Groupings (customer, family, vendor, etc.)
    • Product Characteristics (temperature needs, flammability, expiration, etc.)

    Many times, items will need to be moved with changes in product demand due to seasonal and promotional activities. Not keeping up with these fluctuations can cause a degradation in fulfillment performance and a waste of location capacity.

    Do you need a slotting solution?

    Here are the telltale signs that indicate your DC would be a good candidate for automating the receiving and picking operations with slotting:

    • Pick path congestion
    • Open air slots in prime picking area
    • Forklifts consistently picking from top levels
    • Pickers waiting on products
    • Popular items in hard-to-reach areas
    • Dust on products in prime picking areas
    • Shipping staff consistently rebuilding pallets
    • High breakage rates

    Slotting can help eliminate these issues by slotting faster moving, seasonal and promotional items to a prime pick area while moving slower turning products to alternative areas that do not need to be visited as often. This allows pickers to get to popular items faster, which leads to shorter pick (walk) times, less visits to low demand areas and a more productive warehouse worker.

    While each warehouse operation is different, most can take advantage of slotting software. The Fortna OptiSlot DC™ software has minimal hardware needs and can be connected to almost all warehouse management systems (WMS).

    Most operations that employ a slotting solution can see the following benefits:

    • Rise in productivity – Slotting enables popular products to be closer with more accessible picking positions, resulting in more orders being fulfilled in less time.
    • Enhanced space capacity – Analyzing a product’s dimensions and pre-selecting its slot, an operation can strategically store products in optimal locations, creating warehouse capacity.
    • Smart pallet building – Using a slotting strategy, pickers can select items in an order that allows a pallet to be built in the most optimal manner.
    • Breakage reduction – With the software analyzing a product’s characteristics, it allows for fragile items to be protected and for breakage reduction.

    Fortna Can Help

    Warehouses can gain rapid return on investment (ROI) by optimizing operations with advanced slotting software. As a result, operations benefit from reduced labor expenses, controlled replenishment, reduction in partial order shipments and improved space utilization.

    Contact Fortna to take the first step in optimizing your operations by scheduling a demo today.

     

    Click for more insights on:
    Digital Transformation: A New Risk Assessment Perspective
    Unlocking the Value of Digital Fulfillment: The Evolving Warehouse Tech Stack
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    Dan Basmajian

    Fortna | Optricity

    Dan Basmajian and his team invented the first commercially available slotting optimization software, which premiered over 35 years ago. In 2006, Dan joined Fortna Optricity to continue to bring the benefits of slotting optimization to the marketplace, utilizing the best mathematical techniques and the power of modern PCs. Dan is a world-renowned warehousing optimization domain expert, innovator, and a globally sought-after industry speaker.

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