The purpose of our analysis will always be to obtain the lowest possible warehouse management cost by optimising picking locations. So, better positioned products in the picking area means fewer movements and less time wasted. This means mapping and analysing logs and warehouse activities in order to understand which products to keep close and in which part of the warehouse.
There is always a golden zone in every warehouse which is characterised by stock locations housing the most commonly moved items. If this golden zone is compact in size, picking operations are immediately optimised.
The person optimising Slotting normally bases their actions on position analyses and the ABC classification system used in logistics units. A good slotting analysis allows you to make great savings in terms of warehouse management, as travel and picking times can be modified to improve picking times and efficiency will undoubtedly improve. The crucial point is in seeking to reduce as far as possible the total cost of picking and refilling your warehouse.
The presence of a vertical lift module is a clear example of an efficiency saving as travel times are virtually eliminated by having a concentrated warehouse golden zone, and the costs of reordering are easy to predict as all picking, refilling and consumption of materials are already under your control.
The net capacity of a vertical lift module in the case of, for example, increasing slot volumes is very great, and detailed mapping of trays and their subdivision into compartments using dividers and partitions allows you to achieve levels of space optimisation which is unthinkable with racking, shelving, mezzanines or traditional warehouse types.
You can think in terms of a golden zone and slotting even within the details of the warehouse itself: let’s imagine that we have the most frequently picked items (or those with the highest rotation) in the middle of a tray in an automatic warehouse (or vertical lift module). This means that they are in the part of the tray which is closest to the operator and easy to access. The distance an operator’s arm can reach and the depth of the tray are now variables to add into the equation you use when positioning products.
The use of bins, containers or metal dividers to create multiple and super-detailed compartments can make picking operations even more efficient. These systems are normally used as part of WMS, but are also modules which can be used alongside WMS in the context of automated processes or manual preparation.
How to optimize picking operations?
Picking is the heart of any warehouse, and it is an activity that must be designed and organized very carefully. Download our in-depth analysis on how to optimize picking.