- By: Sheri Blaho
As promised here is the first of 7 crucial questions that all distributors should be able to answer.
Do I know where my inventory is?
Gaining full control over the location and movement of inventory within the warehouse is crucial for every distributor. There are many choices for the physical layout that may vary based on your specific industry, size of individual items, and the turnover of each item. While not a very functional design, some warehouses are still laid out in a "grocery store" style with all like items grouped together. Within those like items, the fast moving are typically placed in the most accessible spot within that category.
A more efficient design is to put fastest moving items closest to the receiving/shipping staging area. All remaining items would be placed in the warehouse according to fast moving to slowest moving in relation to staging areas.
Your design should be clear and fully understood by the entire warehouse team. Developing a clear ‘map’ of fast moving/slow moving items in conjunction with primary and secondary locations is of utmost importance. All warehouse staff need to understand the purpose and value of consistent inventory management. This will increase the likelihood insure that inventory will remain in salable or usable condition. “Misplaced” inventory exposes you to backorders or missed delivery dates with customers. Lost inventory can have financial effects with bankers, taxes, and cash flow.
You should also check out this white paperthat I found that speaks directly to warehouse design and numbering concepts.