Some of the most costly processes in the warehouse are picking and pack out process. They also account for the majority of the warehouse operational time- Lets discuss some of the key aspects that should be considered to reduce cost and increase warehouse operations efficiency.
Deciding the location for placing the item plays a key role in increasing the handling efficiency. Following factors should be considered while assigning a location for a particular item, number of counts of the item, Item’s volume and weight, sales volume during normal and peak periods of warehouse operations, special handling requirements and if any value added services like kitting etc is required to be done.
Typically products are slotted in the storage mediums like pallet racks, drive in or drive through racks and bins. Once location is designated the next thing would be the numbering and grouping of the locations. Numbering should be done based on the building, zone, level bay facing and aisle. This activity will help in increasing the picking efficiency and reduce the time spent by the pickers searching for products.
Item’s should be grouped intelligently like fast movers, slow movers and medium movers. One should place the fast moving item’s in the locations which are closest and easier to reach and in a place close to the order fulfillment stations, this will improve the time taken to fulfill an order. Similarly slow movers can be placed in remote slots inside the warehouse as it will not be affecting the average picking time since these are sparingly ordered.
Internal routines must be developed to replenish the fast moving items in the line locations this will help in reducing the time taken to pick as the pickers will not be going back with zero inventories in the designated locations. Warehouse operations can decide the basis for refill like need based or minimum stock level refill’s which will reduce the labor cost in doing refills.
Couple of broader classifications available for storage of products is flow storage and static storage. This contributes a lot in improving the bottom line and reducing the time and labor for doing picking and replenishment’s. The main advantage of flow storage is that the products will be coming to the pickers and they don’t have to go in search of item’s. With the help of modern control systems any warehouses using the conveyors and carousels to bring the products to the place of order fulfillment stations will be able to show a much higher productivity. The capital expenditure done to accomplish this will make a lot of difference in the bottom line of warehouses. This one time expense can be justified if the warehouse experiences a lot of activity and involves a lot of labor for picking and packing.
Source : http://www.infosysblogs.com