Putaway is one of those functions that is put on the backburner when there is a lot of picking, loading or replenishment to do. As a result, aisles become full, fill rates fall, and the warehouse starts to look like a maze of products.
Here are 8 great ideas for putaway success – warning discipline required!
1. Take the OHIO approach
Only Handle It Once, in other words, do a putaway on the same day product arrives.
2. Use ASNs.
Advance Ship Notices require a certain amount of trust from your vendor, but it will dramatically speed the receiving process and allow your warehouse management system to identify a putaway location for the product while it is en route to your warehouse.
3. Receiving Sortation.
If you are receiving mixed pallets of product, break them down into individual license plates sorted by zone or a single product. This will greatly reduce travel time and get the product into pick or reserve locations that much faster.
4. Putaway fast movers to pick locations or close to pick locations.
You’ll need to do some calculations taking into account velocity and frequency of orders to determine which putaway locations to use but generally speaking reserve locations should be close to the pick locations.
5. Putaway to empty locations
When you do this, you get a freecycle count of that location and if in fact, the location is not supposed to be empty you just flagged an issue for immediate follow-up.
6. Cross Dock
This actually eliminates putaway tasks and if your warehouse management system supports this function, it should alert pickers to go directly to the putaway staging area to eliminate any potential pick shortages.
7. Plan your Putaway
Several of our customers will not accept product before its expected arrival date. The reason is simple, they schedule just enough resources and identify expected putaway locations for each day’s anticipated product arrivals.
8. Track and Analyze
What’s your putaway rate by the pallet, by case, or by loose pieces (eaches)? When compared to expected product arrivals that day, this will give you the total number of expected putaway tasks to be performed. Your WMS can then provide you the actual number of putaway tasks performed that day and in term allow you to analyze the efficiency of your putaway function and fine tune your metrics.
Putaway while not considered one of the ‘glamour’ functions of the warehouse is a process worth mastering. Studies have shown that those who master this function are typically benchmark leaders in their respective industries.
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