What Slotting Can Do For Distribution Centers

Some people hold the title “Slotting Master.” This does not mean they are frequent casino guests! This means they know how to operate a software tool that many distribution centers and warehouses are using to make improvements.

What is slotting?

Slotting is typically a term used when software has been installed at a facility enabling the movement of product to prime locations or “slots”, thus where the term slotting comes from.

What benefits can we get from slotting?

  • Improve warehouse space utilization
  • Increase production for order filling
  • Decrease injuries
  • Improve replenishment costs
  • Improve inventory tracking

A company called Warehouse Vision claims the following for slotting return on investment, “increase warehouse and distribution center productivity by as much as 30% and up to double the available warehouse capacity without facility expansion.”


Warehouse Needs & Slotting

Slotting is basically laying out a warehouse and deciding which items belong in which locations depending on the needs of the facility.

Think of it in terms of a kitchen. There are some items that belong in the refrigerator and some items that belong in the cabinets. Some items are perishable and some are not. You may keep chemicals under your sink. The items used most frequently are toward the front like the salt and pepper for example and items that are not used much are pushed to the back.

In the summer time a person might not do much baking so they would place flour and sugar in a cabinet. But in the fall, when they begin baking more frequently, they may leave the flour and sugar on the kitchen counter so they don’t have to dig for it. The same goes for warehouses, needs change frequently. Slotting can help put everything in the most efficient place.

Slotting Implementation

Implementing a slotting program can be a long cumbersome project if you have an extensive list of product. All items need to have information researched and entered into the slotting system including: history, dimension, weights and any special characteristics. Locations must be measured and how much weight the location can hold.

Most warehouses ship different types or classes of items and these must be identified and entered as well. Flammable, hazardous, or food products are a few examples. Many distribution centers have sets, families or groups of similar items. All pertinent information needs to be loaded into the slotting system. Ekspedisi MPS

The most important thing to remember about slotting is that the final result is what is put into it. If a warehouse cuts corners and doesn’t enter correct or complete information, the system will not benefit them. It may even cost them. A wise programmer once said, “Garbage in, garbage out.” It’s important to allot enough time in the early stages of implementation to complete the research as efficiently as possible. If rushed to meet a deadline, associates or managers may miss important factors.

Imagine measuring a soup can and writing down the dimensions, weight, quantity in the cabinet and how often that type of soup is used. Also record a breakdown of the dates the soup was used in the past and for what purpose, also note what other items the soup is frequently used with. The cabinets are your locations; record the dimensions and how much weight each shelf can hold. The research can be tedious but every detail is important when gathering data for a slotting program.

Slotting Reports

After the information is loaded and the slotting system ready to go, reports can tell you which items should be moved and where to move them to. Fast moving items may be located in an area where the order fillers have to take the least amount of steps to get to the product.

Injuries may decrease because heavier items may be segregated to a specific area or placed in lower locations. Food products may be segregated a certain distance away from hazardous items. Some slotting systems will also give you a score, telling you how efficient your warehouse is. Reporting is a big piece of a slotting program.

Slotting Maintenance

Some companies implement slotting programs and then don’t have the staff to do the general work of moving the items around the facility. This is a costly mistake. Slotting must be maintained in order to benefit the facility. After the program is installed, new product is entered and the system updated to reflect any changes. Someone needs to check the system to make sure data feeding in is correct.

Slotting Research

Research is a must before deciding if a slotting program will be beneficial. Visit facilities that are currently slotting and get their ideas and opinions. Speak to programmers, consultants – anyone that is familiar with slotting and ask for their support. Choose a company that is willing to work onsite with the associates that will be using the program. What you get out of slotting can far outweigh what you put into it if you do it correctly and maintain it properly.


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