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26
Jul
2022

Best Practices for Warehouse Slotting in 2022

People walking in a warehouse.

Many aspects determine how efficient your warehouse is - the unloading and loading speed, the systems you use, and the quality of your workforce. All help decide whether you run a smooth or subpar warehousing operation. One of the aspects that warehouse managers often struggle with is slotting. So, this article will outline the best practices for warehouse slotting and how to tackle them properly.

Best practices for warehouse slotting

Before we begin, it is worth noting that, depending on your situation, warehouse slotting can be surprisingly complex, especially if you want to make it as efficient as possible. We will soon outline various factors you need to consider and what managing them will entail. If you start to feel lost, don't shy away from getting professional help. An experienced warehouse manager can do a lot to bring your slotting to a new level.

Gathering the right data

First and foremost, you need to gather the necessary data. We'll mention all of the best practices for warehouse slotting that rely heavily on proper data use - order history, SKU data, and item picking level. These are all necessary pieces of info for developing a well-optimized slotting strategy. So, make sure you have it at hand before attempting any of the following solutions.

Picking level

By picking level, we mean determining whether you'll pick items on a pallet level, case level, or individual level. For pallet level, you will likely need a forklift and ample room for maneuverability. Case level and individual level offer more wiggle room but require more human resources. Depending on the situation, you must determine the picking level and keep it in mind for the slotting strategy.

Size and weight

As you can imagine, the size and weight of the items should impact their picking order. The best course of action is first to pick the heavies and the largest items. While this tends to be the best way to go, it is not set in stone. Storage limitations can impact how these items will be handled.

Item speed

You cannot develop a decent slotting strategy if you aren't aware of the item's speed. It refers to the average time specific items will spend in your warehouse. Ideally, you will group articles with similar speeds. That way, loading the transport vehicles and avoiding warehouse overcrowding will be far easier.

Seasonality

Unfortunately, item speed isn't something that remains constant over time. Depending on the season, certain items can be considerably faster than they are otherwise. If you wish to manage your warehouse with due care, you must be aware of this seasonality and prepare the right storage at the right time.

Time sensitivity

Depending on your storage use, you might need to factor in time sensitivity. Experts at fourwinds-ksa.com say that many moving companies require specialized storage to handle relocations. But, to meet customer demands, such storage needs to be readily available and easy to access. Not all warehouses can afford to be readily available at all times, which is why they need to predict relocation needs and set up their storage accordingly.

Zoning

Large warehouses need specific item zones, especially if they handle sensitive items, along with sturdy ones. You need to store perishable items separately from the regular ones. A similar idea goes for climate-controlled storage and potentially dangerous storage. Proper zoning ensures that your warehouse is safe and there are no issues with slotting.

Worker feedback

Finally, you must listen to your warehouse workers and tackle slotting with their input. Everything so far serves as a preparation for the item management to come. But, you will need to accept that slotting isn't something you can tackle in one go. It is a continual process. And as such, it requires constant feedback from your workers, with data-assisted KPI analysis on your part.

Final thoughts

Trying to incorporate all we've mentioned in one go is not the smartest course of action. Even though these are the best practices for warehouse slotting, you will need to implement them one at a time. Only progress to the next once you are sure that the one you are executing is well managed.

For over 30 years, 18 Wheels Logistics has strived to be the most customer-centric trucking, warehousing, and logistics company around. Based in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, 18 Wheels relies on experience and integrity to make customers happy and remain on the cutting edge of shipping and logistics management.

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to us about your shipping needs, please call us at (604) 439-8938.