The key to slotting is following the right approach and considering all factors before agreeing on how products will be slotted within the warehouse.
There are a few tips below that should be considered:
To summarise – slotting impacts deployment of the workforce, the allocation of available space, the service rendered to clients or customers and ultimately, the profitability of the enterprise. In creating or modifying a slotting solution a matrix of factors apply that should be revisited periodically. Sometimes modest adjustments will be needed, but at others, major reconfiguration will be deemed essential.
The picking process can consume most of the resource time in the warehouse if not carefully planned.
The following are just some thoughts of what needs to be considered when determining the picking strategy of the warehouse:
In closing it’s key to select a picking strategy that meets your current and future requirements – doing so can save a lot of time and resources. It will also make the warehouse a lot more efficient and will enable you to deliver against all the customers’ requirements.
Again, the key to warehouse cost reduction is basing suggestions and solutions on data gathered from the operation. A best of breed warehouse management system will allow for this data collection in real-time so accurate decisions can be made when further optimising warehouse processes.
Technology is becoming a necessity in the supply chain and specifically in warehousing. Without the right technology the company will not be able to compete effectively. The warehouse can be a complex environment but if the right technology is selected all these processes can be simplified and made to become highly efficient.
The best of breed warehouse management systems will drive the following benefits within the facility:
The key is to bring together processes/people and technology to get the ultimate results from the warehouse.
Considerations when selecting a WMS vendor:
Warehouse management systems have evolved and become more sophisticated over time. Have you considered the installation of RFID portals at strategic points throughout your warehouse? This facilitates finding misplaced inventory much faster thereby saving on labour costs. You may also wish to consider the advantages of a voice-directed picking system, which uses speech recognition to communicate with your WMS, further streamlining warehouse processes, ‘put-to-light’ and ‘pick-to-light’ systems, also allow for speedy and paperless picking.
In closing technology will allow you to scale the business and enable you to measure the actual productivity of the warehouse which ultimately drives warehouse efficiencies and sustainability.
Watch out for my next piece when I will deliver important tips on how to prevent warehouse theft.
In case you missed it – also read: Challenges posed by the complex warehouse management environment and how they are met – Part 1
Rina Redelinghuys, CQuential WMS Customer Services Executive reveals the challenges posed by the complex warehouse management environment and how they are met.
I have worked in this industry for many years. The one thing that I can attest to is the speed of change and the impact this has on warehouse managers who are mandated with continuously looking for ways to improve and become more competitive. There is an ongoing trade-off to drive service excellence while maintaining operational costs to deliver against customer expectations.
The following are the main objectives of the modern warehouse:
In a series of articles, I will share tips around how the warehouse manager can achieve operational goals in the shortest timeframe.
The following areas will be discussed:
Supply chain professionals constantly search to find ways to reduce the overall cost of getting products from source to consumption – warehousing is no different. It requires the warehouse manager to take a holistic view of the operation to drive cost reduction within the facility.
Having said that, it is also important not to favour short term measures over long term sustainability and growth. It’s recommended that warehouse management executives still need to invest in new technology and infrastructure if they are to remain relevant and competitive in the long term. This investment will ultimately drive down costs and improve efficiencies.
To achieve overall cost reduction, the following areas should be considered:
Inventory Visibility – Visibility of the operation and inventory is critical to drive down operational costs. The benefits of improved inventory visibility are the following:
The objective of any operation is to utilise the full cube of the warehouse. This will drive down the storage cost per item, which in turn reduces the overall landed cost to the customer.
There are several options that a warehouse manager can explore to improve the utilisation of the warehouse:
The storage setup needs to be reviewed continuously to ensure the business gets the best utilisation of the warehouse space over time.
It is also important to contract services from a warehouse specialist regarding designing a layout that aims to drive storage optimisation. The specialist will be able to validate the current storage setup versus industry standards and suggest a layout that will work for your specific operational needs.
Cross docking is the transfer of product from the supplier directly to the customer reducing the need to store and handle the stock during the fulfilment process.
This type of model is well suited to the following operations:
The Benefits of cross docking:
Cross docking removes the storage link which eliminates the storage component within the supply chain. This type of model works and if implemented correctly will have a significant impact on cost reduction across the supply chain.
Catch my next piece which will reveal what is part science, part creativity – effective slotting.
Brands Africa has chosen CQuential’s warehouse management solution (WMS) to run its extensive warehouse facility.
Brands Africa is a leading distributor of FMCG products to the Central African Region. Based in Zimbabwe, the company boasts many years’ experience of successful trading in under developed markets, and turbulent environments. Brands Africa represents both local and international companies with strong brands providing leverage and recognition in these emerging markets.
Brands Africa CEO, Peter Tselentis, reveals the company engaged the services of an external supply chain consultant to assist with the process of finding a suitable WMS.
“We appreciated CQuential’s pragmatic and open approach that included advising us to take a phased approach to roll out as opposed to implementing the comprehensive solution in one go – thereby giving us better control and change management ability. This highlighted CQuential’s real understanding of effecting change in an operational environment.”
He confirms that the implementation of the CQuential solution will improve stock accuracy, enhance Brands Africa’s customer service and result in dramatic reduction in order turnaround times.
“It was refreshing to have advice from a potential supplier that was utterly focused on deploying the right solution for our company and the most successful roll-out methodology,” adds Tselentis.
CQuential WMS for the cloud is the only cloud based WMS that has been completely developed in SA and is uniquely positioned to leverage what is happening in supply chain with the global trend towards a move to cloud.
CQuential CEO, Steve Mallaby notes the company’s WMS, enables companies to manage all the elements of the warehouse essentially transforming it to become an integral part of the supply chain. “It has been developed to be an easy to deploy, cost effective warehouse management system that empowers businesses to effectively manage inventory, and drive integration plus collaboration across the supply chain,” says Mallaby.
Mallaby confirms that CQuential’s cloud based WMS facilitates operating cost reductions; provides real time stock accuracy and visibility, tighter control and efficiency, and accurate first time deliveries with fewer customer returns.
“The delivery of these mission critical improvements to Brands Africa’s warehouse management capability translated into CQuential being a unique fit for the company’s WMS requirements.”
UTi, a leading global supply chain management solutions company, has chosen to implement the CQuential cloud-based Rapid Deployment warehouse management system at several of its own distribution centres, as well those of its customers, in South Africa, the Philippines, Thailand and India.
The company chose CQuential after a rigorous process to select a solution that was both cost-effective and quick to deploy.
“CQuential’s solution was a close fit with our requirements, and we were extremely comfortable with its architecture and deployment model,” says Jacques Retief, global vice-president: Contract Logistics & Distribution IT at UTi. “We also saw that they could be a strategic partner for us given their client focus and desire to expand internationally, our need for a solution that would support our expansion into key emerging markets and our desire to replace several legacy warehouse management systems with a single platform.”
Developed in South Africa by a team of supply chain experts, CQuential was designed as a specialist warehouse management system delivered via the cloud. The cloud model means that the system is able to be deployed rapidly, making best-of-breed technology available without high upfront capital costs–a benefit that, Retief says, UTi found commercially attractive. The company chose CQuential after a rigorous process to select a solution that was both cost-effective and quick to deploy.
“We are obviously delighted that an international company of UTi’s stature has chosen to partner with us – initially in key developing markets in Asia – but with the prospect of expanding our relationship to further territories. Skilled labour is both plentiful and affordable in these emerging economies, so the fact that our solution can still deliver value shows the power of both the technology and the cloud model,” says CQuential CEO, Steve Mallaby. “With CQuential, companies can benefit from top-rate warehouse management software regardless of location.”
Mallaby says that CQuential integrates well into the leading enterprise resource planning systems. Thus, aside from improving operational efficiencies within the warehouse environment, it also contributes to enhanced financial and management reporting and planning.
CQuential is deployed in some of SA’s leading retail, manufacturing and pharmaceutical enterprises. Mallaby says the business benefits highlighted by these major companies include: reduction in the need for manual labour enabling greater staff productivity even where volumes have doubled. “Clients also report dramatically improved stock accuracy and enhanced customer service with significant reduction in order turnaround times.” He adds that UTi’s US and European operations have shown keen interest in implementing the CQuential warehouse management system.