Slotting is the process of organizing products within a warehouse to maximize and use available storage space as efficiently as possible. The goal of warehouse slotting is to place products in the most effective locations within the warehouse, taking into account factors such as product size, weight, frequency of use, demand patterns and picking method. In a well-slotted warehouse, products are placed in locations that are easily accessible and close to the shipping and receiving areas, reducing the amount of time and effort required to pick and pack orders. The slotting process starts with knowing the precise dimensions of each product being stored.
There are different methods for slotting a warehouse, depending on the specific needs of the warehouse and the products being stored, including:
- Fixed Slotting: In fixed slotting, each product is assigned a specific location in the warehouse, and this location does not change over time. Best used for products that have a consistent demand pattern and do not change frequently, fixed slotting is a simple method that can be easily implemented and typically requires little maintenance, making it a good choice for smaller warehouses.
- Dynamic Slotting: In dynamic slotting, the location of each product is constantly being adjusted based on fluctuating demand patterns and factors such as seasonality. Used for products with high demand variability that are frequently changing, dynamic slotting requires more sophisticated technology and resources.
- Hybrid Slotting: Hybrid slotting is just that; hybrid. Combining the benefits of both fixed and dynamic slotting, some products are assigned a fixed location, while others are placed in dynamic locations based on changing demand patterns. This method is recommended for warehouses carrying a mix of products with both stable and changing demand patterns.
- Zoned Slotting: Zoned slotting involves dividing the warehouse into zones based on product characteristics or picking methods. Products are then placed within each zone based on their size, weight, frequency of orders and other factors. This method is best used for warehouses with a large number of products and a high volume of order picking.
To be successful, each slotting method requires accurate product dimensions.
Maintaining current and accurate product information can seem like a tedious task especially when arriving products don’t always meet the expected specifications, but that’s where xDIM Mobile Dimensioning comes in. Simply point-and-click a rugged tablet at a box to capture dimensional data in seconds. For warehouses using fixed slotting, xDIM can be utilized when a product is received in abnormal packaging to quickly calculate dimensions and determine where best to store the one-off product. Conversely, dynamic slotted warehouses can capture dimensions of all the new products constantly entering the warehouse right at the point of receiving.
Implementing effective warehouse slotting can lead to several benefits, including increased efficiency, improved accuracy, reduced labor costs, and increased storage capacity. By optimizing the use of space and reducing the time and effort required to pick and pack orders, warehouses can improve their operations and increase customer satisfaction.