Order fulfillment times have a direct correlation to customer satisfaction and overall profits. Both are at risk if you do not have a well-thought-out slotting process in your warehouse or distribution center.  

In this part of our Ask the Expert Series, Toyota Material Handling Solutions’ Director of Sales and Marketing Anthony Spano answers frequently asked questions about warehouse slotting.  

Anthony helps companies optimize productivity and deliver fast accurate order fulfillment. He has decades of experience helping companies in Los Angeles County find modern solutions to increase customer satisfaction and maximize profits.  

What is warehouse slotting? 

Warehouse slotting describes the process of organizing inventory in a warehouse or distribution center for more efficient order picking and restocking.  

What happens if you have a poor warehouse slotting process? 

If you have an inefficient picking process, you can run into all sorts of problems like high labor costs, large storage footprints, and varying order fulfillment times. 

What are the types of slotting?

There are two common types of slotting: fixed and random. 

What is fixed slotting? 

With fixed slotting, everything has a permanent location. When the bin gets near depletion, it gets restocked from reserve storage. 

What is random slotting? 

With random slotting, products are in pick zones instead of pick locations. If inventory in one slot is empty, employees move to another area in the pick zone.  

Random slotting means incoming inventory gets moved to pick zones, eliminating the need for reserve inventory and extra storage space.  

Which is better – fixed slotting or random slotting? 

It depends on which is more important – saving time or warehouse space. 

Fixed slotting means moving items from reserve storage, which can be more time-consuming than random slotting.  

Random slotting requires a larger working area but eliminates moving items from reserve storage. 

What are some of the benefits of improving your warehouse slotting process? 

  • Reduced order picking and replenishment times 
  • Increased order accuracy 
  • Reduced repetitive stress injuries 
  • Reduced labor costs 
  • Optimized warehouse space and more storage capacity
  • Improved inventory management processes and costs
  • Reduced overall warehousing costs 

How is slotting organized?

The best way to organize slotting is by SKU number, product type, or product characteristics like size or weight. 

What is an easy change that makes a big difference in warehouse slotting? 

One significant improvement in order picking efficiency is identifying demand correlation and moving these items closer together.   

What is demand correlation? 

Demand correlation describes products ordered at the same time. 

How do you identify demand correlation? 

The easiest way to identify demand correlation is to look at your company’s past order history. 

What can I do right now to improve my warehouse slotting process? 

Here are four ways to significantly improve your slotting process: 

  1. Select a small zone to reorganize and get started. You will learn a lot along the way. 
  2. Invest in a warehouse management system (WMS). A WMS not only makes the slotting process easier but also controls all your warehouse activities for improved order fulfillment and accuracy. 
  3. Ask warehouse pickers for suggestions. They often have great ideas to improve efficiency. 
  4. Schedule a slotting analysis from an industry expert. The industry is constantly changing. Experts can inform you about systems and automation technologies new to the market. 

Who can benefit from a slotting analysis? 

  • 3PLs 
  • Ecommerce distribution facilities 
  • Warehouse operations with a change in SKU volumes
  • Companies with order fulfillment challenges looking for better inventory solutions 

What are other ways to use modern technology to improve warehouse operations?  

Click these links to read our previous “Ask the Expert” posts about robotic palletizing, robotic order picking, cube utilization, and order picking solutions 

Are you ready to work on your warehouse slotting process to improve customer satisfaction and overall profits? Anthony and his team of warehouse automation experts are available to perform a slotting analysis at your location. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.  

Did you know? Automation can boost customer satisfaction and overall profits. According to a study by Robotics Business Review, “Automated and efficient warehouses were 76% more likely to boost inventory accuracy to 99% or higher, 36% more likely to have reduced labor costs an average of 3% per year, and 40% more likely to consistently ship within one day of an order’s placement.”  

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