Consider the following scenario:
Goods arrive at your warehouse from a supplier, but no one is assigned to place them in storage bins. As a result, it sits in the staging area for a few days. Then someone takes it up at random and places it in a container without checking to see whether the stock matches the PO and invoice. Nobody takes note of this SKU’s particular storage location.
If there was ever a formula for inventory management catastrophe, this is it.
Consider investing in warehouse putaway optimization to avoid nightmares like the one described above and to assure higher efficiency and accuracy in incoming and outbound logistics. Lean warehouse management is enabled by intelligently relocating items to an ideal place in the warehouse.
All warehouse procedures must be simplified and streamlined in order to meet the rising volume of e-commerce demands.
In this article, we’ll cover everything related to warehouse putaway, including the various putaway tactics, their advantages, and how a 3PL may assist enhance warehouse inventory management.
Warehouse Putaway Definition
Warehouse putaway is an important part of warehouse management that includes numerous operations beginning with warehouse receipt and concluding with ensuring that goods are kept in the correct warehouse locations. However, it is considerably more than simply transferring stuff from point A to point B.
With a smart warehouse putaway system in place, storing goods without misplacing any SKUs becomes considerably more efficient and uncomplicated. This procedure also enhances warehouse cleanliness and makes it easier for pickers to rapidly locate the correct SKU.
Warehouse Putaway Types
Although it may appear to be a straightforward operation, warehouse putaway (from dock to stock) is a critical part of storage.
Depending on the nature, amount, and diversity of physical inventory as well as other specific elements of your organization, you may select one of three types of warehouse putaway:
- Dynamic Putaway
Is your product mix consistent? Are their sizes, weights, and other physical attributes comparable? Then, select a dynamic putaway to simplify stock retrieval and storage. It entails making real-time judgments on where to keep incoming goods while prioritizing demand management.
Depending on the sales volume, commodities must be placed in the most convenient areas for quick collection as they enter the warehouse.
On the other hand, because the commodities are stored in new places each time, keeping track of them is more difficult without a solid tech-powered ERP like warehouse management software.
- Direct Putaway
When items arrive at your warehouse, the purpose of straight putaway is to prepare them for dispatch/transportation to their final destination inside the warehouse without spending time in interim storage areas. This avoids needless product transportation and handling.
It is also critical to employ a warehouse management system in real-time to assist identify the items that should be put away and their destination.
Cross-docking is a logistical approach that totally avoids putaway and warehouse picking operations. When goods arrive, they are instantly transferred to departure trucks.
- Fixed-location Putaway
This method is perfect for businesses that have a wide range of items that need to be kept in a warehouse and want them to be conveniently retrieved.
Each type of product is allotted a certain warehouse area that is suitable for keeping it.
Frozen food, for example, will always be stored in a temperature-controlled environment. And heavier items will be kept on lower warehouse racks, while lighter items will be put on higher shelves.
Advantages of Warehouse Putaway
Warehouse putaway, when done correctly, may help you enhance several parts of SKU management, such as inventory tracking, storage, and picking. On that topic, let’s take a closer look at the various advantages of warehouse putaway.
- Reduces the Possibility of Lost or Missing Things
When you have a strict method in place for putting away refilled inventory, it becomes easier to keep track of where each SKU is stored. Knowing the location of your goods not only increases inventory accuracy but also helps you avoid misplaced or stolen SKUs.
You may also trace the source of any inventory inconsistencies because the putaway procedure requires warehouse personnel to account for each SKU.
- Faster Picking Process
It will speed up the selection process if your best-selling goods are kept in easily accessible areas. It’s also useful to know where each SKU is situated. This, in turn, reduces order cycle time, and speedier delivery ensures customer happiness.
- Effective Storage Space Use
Do you frequently struggle with storage capacity? An organized putaway plan can assist you in determining the best methods to utilize your warehouse layout in order to conserve space and lower inventory transport costs. It also assists you in keeping your warehouse clean and organized.
Efficient putaway and slotting also improve warehouse safety and stock integrity by ensuring that things are kept in the proper locations.
Best Practices for Warehouse Putaway
If you don’t already have a putaway process in place, now is the time to implement one. Here are some recommended practices for improving overall warehouse efficiency and operations.
- Build a Timeline
Warehouses are often buzzing with activity. When items are refilled, they must be put away as soon as possible to allow for friction-free client order fulfillment.
To avoid warehouse floor congestion, delayed shipments, or wasteful use of warehouse space, clear instructions and timetables must be given to all employees involved in the putaway process.
- Monitor All Items
It is unrealistic to expect warehouse workers to keep track of the location of each SKU in their heads. This is why an inventory scanner and digital warehousing solutions that allow SKU tracking is required.
You will receive real-time inventory updates on the SKU count, condition, and location as the merchandise is received, barcode scanned, and putaway. This makes it simple and quick to locate and ship the correct goods whenever a consumer places an order.
- Decrease Travel Time
Reduce the distance between the receiving dock and the warehouse storage site. This will improve the putaway procedure. As a result, if fresh items are acquired, they will arrive at your storage facility soon, indicating that they are also available for order pickup.