Rob O’Byrne talks with one of Logistics Bureau’s warehouse experts, John Monck, about warehouse slotting.
Rob: Is it time to slot your warehouse? Hi, this is Rob O’Byrne from Logistics Bureau and with me today, we’ve got John Monck. Welcome John, John is one of our warehousing experts and an expert on slotting. So the first question, the obvious question John is , What is Slotting?
John: Slotting can be described as a place for everything and everything in its place. So it’s around getting our products efficiently positioned at the front of the warehouse so that you don’t have too far to travel.
Rob: Okay. So I suppose in simplistic terms it means a faster moving A lines we’re gonna have near dispatch and the slower moving C lines we’re gonna have further back in the warehouse.
John: That’s right.
Rob: That comes down to less traveling time.
John: Less travel time on your direct labour.
Rob: I don’t a lot of companies that actually have gone to the trouble of slotting their warehouse. Maybe you’re watching this and you’re wondering: is something that I need to do? So what would be some of the typical symptoms or things that we would see which might be an indicator that we need to slot the warehouse?
John: Slotting can often be, if you haven’t slotted your warehouse, it can often be a symptom of congestion in the warehouse or your picking costs are high, it can take too long to actually travel around your warehouse, there can be a congestion. There’s a number of symptoms that can actually be indicative of it’s actually time to slot your warehouse.
Rob: I suppose some people might think very simplistically that getting your warehouse more efficient is literally putting all the A lines, the fast moving lines, near the dispatch. But just hearing you describe that, you can actually cause congestion by doing that.
John: You can, if you put too many fast moving items close together, it can actually cause some congestion.
Rob: Okay, fair enough. The next question would be: how do you do it?
John: Well, there’s a number of ways of actually slotting your warehouse. The first is to do it manually, get all the data about the products, the velocity, the cells, every cell’s activity. Put it in a spreadsheet and start to work through you know what are your A items, B items, C items. Do some analysis and data analytics. Then, depending on the number of SKUs, as it gets too complicated, too hard, you’d actually look to get some software tools to actually do the slotting. So these tools allow you to optimise the products using some sort of algorithm.
Rob: I know there’s a number of those tools around and in fact some warehouse management systems have been built in, don’t they?
John: They do.
Rob: To maximise efficiency in the warehouse. People might be wondering, it this something worth doing? If you’ve never slotted the warehouse, if you’ve never really taken the time to try and get that efficiency, is it worth doing? What would be some of the typical benefits?
John: Well, usually around 15-20%, but at our Supply Chain Leaders Academy last week, one of the attendees said that they had up to 30% of direct labour so it can be quite significant, the savings involved from slotting your warehouse.
Rob: So 15-20% of the direct labour cost of the production? That’s certainly worth doing, isn’t it? Particularly in a large warehouse. I guess people might want further information on this, we talked about we might write some articles on it but maybe you want to talk to John directly about how you might get your warehouse slotted. We’ll put your details below John and hopefully, that little snapshot has been of interest. If you haven’t slotted your warehouse, maybe you should.
John: Maybe you should, don’t let it be a New Year’s resolution that it’s a good idea but you never get to it.
Rob: That’s right, thanks for watching.
Do you need an expert in warehouse slotting? You can contact John Monck directly at 0400 910 465 or through email.