What is Warehouse Slotting & How it is Relevant for your eCommerce Business
Efficient warehousing is a critical factor in determining the success of your eCommerce business. Optimizing your warehouse operations for faster order fulfillment is always a great idea to increase your business’s efficiency. As your business grows with time, you might be storing your inventory in whatever empty spaces you find in the warehouse. But is it the right thing to do?
It may seem right to you for a short period. Still, in the long run, this disorganization will take a severe toll on your eCommerce business by increasing your storage and inventory carrying costs. This is where warehouse slotting plays its role.
Warehouse slotting improves the entire process of warehousing by making order fulfillment much more efficient and seamless. Let us dive deeper into the concept of slotting and why you need to adopt this method RIGHT AWAY for your business-
What is Warehouse Slotting?
In simple terms, slotting is the process of organizing your inventory in the warehouse in a way that can improve your efficiency while cutting down handling costs and maximize warehouse optimization.
While it’s not just about the placement of products in the warehouse’s designated spaces, it is instead making the warehouse much more organized and easy-to-manage. Let us take an instance to understand this concept better-
It is Diwali. Your orders are pouring in large quantities. In this competitive environment, you need to ensure that you provide the best possible shopping experience to your customers during the festive season. And one of the best ways to do that is by providing fast shipping.
While you’re receiving large orders, you also need to ship those items frequently, for which you will need to trace where the items are located in the warehouse immediately. But, you just realized that you had stashed the items in some empty spaces in the warehouse earlier, without putting much thought into it. And now, you can’t remember which SKU is stored where.
This is where slotting helps!
Warehouse slotting ensures there are organized spaces for each item in the warehouse, thereby helping you track where specific items are stored and retrieve them fast without any confusion during peak times.
Optimizing warehouse operations is essential when it comes to fast order fulfillment—slotting consists of designing designated spaces for items according to their size, weight, perishability, and many more such categories.
Types of Slotting
There are two types of warehousing slotting-
- Fixed Slotting – The slotting process where a product has a fixed or specific location for picking. This kind of slotting is done keeping in mind the estimated minimum and a maximum number of items to be placed in an area.
- Random Slotting – It is the slotting process that uses various zones in the warehouse to store products. This process is best for large warehouses that store vast quantities of stock.
How to Implement Warehouse Slotting
Now that we know about the concept of a warehouse, let us take a look at how you can implement warehouse slotting to maximize the efficiency of your order fulfillment-
Organize Your Inventory & Warehouse
The first and most important thing you must do before implementing warehouse slotting is to organize your inventory, depending on your warehouse’s size. Reorganizing inventory will lead to benefits such as more storage space and lower handling costs. Next is managing your warehouse. If your warehouse is efficiently organized, slots are cleaned, and products are easily accessible, the warehouse becomes much more efficient and easy to manage.
Remove all the unused packing material or other discarded materials around the warehouse. By keeping everything clean and organized, you’ll find that your storage and fulfillment operations will be much more comfortable overall!
Assess Your Storage Capacity
This is extremely important, and if done, the right away can be beneficial for your warehouse. Look closely at your warehouse’s storage capacity and plan how to optimize your warehouse to make packing and shipping easier. Carefully evaluate and design to maximize your warehouse’s efficiency and ensure that your inventory is never out of stock or overstocked.
Prioritize Slots in the Warehouse
When you’re deciding inventory slot locations, keep in mind the priority of the items you place in the slots.
Frequently picked items should be kept in a place that is easy to access and locate so that workers can identify the item to fulfill their orders quickly. If you have different zones for certain types of things, make sure that the pickup station is not far off from the slot of the frequently shipped item so that the pickup staff doesn’t have to cover more distance. This will save time and effort!
You can use several criteria for setting the slots’ priority as you think is suitable for your warehouse. You can do it according to alphabetical order, or you can select a different place for frequently-shipped items in the center of the warehouse.
Whatever the criteria for priority you set, the bottom line is that it should enhance the process’s efficiency and speed.
The accessibility of the items should always be made easy and within the reach of workers.
Characterize the Slots
When you make and assign slots, you should consider item attributes like size, dimensions, weight, durability, and material used for making the slots.
For example, if you plan on storing bulky items in the slot, you should know whether the material used in making the slot is durable enough to bear the weight of the articles placed. If not, it can break and damage other lighter weight items in the slot. The same goes for the size and type of the slot. You should also have separate slots for putting potentially-hazardous items and other heavy or large items.
Work with a 3PL like Shiprocket Fulfillment
Fulfillment centers of Shiprocket Fulfillment are powered by warehouse management technology tailored to maximize the picking and packing processes. Shiprocket Fulfillment takes care of it all, from storing inventory properly to picking an order accurately, and then shipping charges faster to the end-customer.
What are the Benefits of Warehouse Slotting?
Warehouse slotting is extremely important, as it organizes your warehouse and increases productivity and efficiency and ultimately plays a vital role in warehouse optimization. Below are some of the benefits warehouse slotting can give your eCommerce business-
Reduction in Inventory Carrying Costs
Using warehouse slotting and optimizing your warehouse space, you can reduce your overall inventory carrying costs and not need to invest in more warehouse employees to handle the inventory or rent out any more warehouse space.
Faster Order Fulfillment
The entire order fulfillment process becomes seamless with warehouse slotting, as picking of items and shipping becomes smooth. Locating objects inside the warehouse becomes extremely easy with warehouse slotting, thereby improving picking and reducing pick-up errors.
Lesser Inventory Damages
Product damages reduce significantly with warehouse slotting, as all items are placed according to their size, weight, and other requirements. With warehouse slotting, heavier items are organized in such a way that they’re not set on lighter, more fragile items, decreasing the possibility of product damage significantly.
Maximize Storage Capacity
Slotting helps increase storage capacity to a great extent. If you think your warehouse is full, rethinking how inventory is currently stored is a great way to gain back much-needed inventory space. Taking the time to optimize your warehouse means you can delay expanding and spending extra costs on an additional warehouse.
Warehousing Slotting Tips
The following are a few warehousing slotting strategies to boost the efficiency of your business:
Clean & Organized Warehouse
Organizing the inventory and keeping the warehouse clean is imperative. With organized inventory, cleaned and properly labeled slots, and items arranged in an accessible manner, the warehousing functions become efficient. It is vital to remove or through unused packing material or other such things from around the warehouse. By keeping everything organized and clean, you will even find more space in the warehouse to store inventory.
This is an important practice. Take a look at the warehouse’s storage capacity and come up with an optimization plan that can help you pick and store items faster and efficiently. Evaluation and planning are the key here. Always ensure that your storage capacity is never under or overstocked.
Distribute the slots in the warehouse as per the priority of the items. Keep the frequently picked items in an easily accessible place to let the workers locate them at convenience and fulfill them faster. You can distribute slots in alphabetical order or set a slot separately for frequently picked items. Well, whatever criteria you choose, the bottom line is that it should help increase efficiency.
Ensure the availability of carts for heavier items. Ladders and lifting carts should be available for items placed in higher space.
Your employees’ safety should be your top-most priority. Never risk your employees’ safety just to save a few bucks. Safer employees will bring more productivity making the warehousing functions efficient. The slots material should be sturdy, and the items must be organized more safely. You can also consider insuring your employees against any accident.
Now that we have discussed warehouse slotting in detail, you would know how it is an excellent opportunity to improve your warehouse operations and maximize your warehouse efficiency.
If you’ve currently rented out space in a warehouse and are self-fulfilling your orders, you should switch to a 3PL partner like Shiprocket Fulfillment. Shiprocket Fulfillment offers a tech-enabled fulfillment infrastructure, along with reducing your logistics costs by a considerable amount.