STEP 4: Put your troubles away
Meeting customer demands for fast availability and seasonal trends requires efficiency, flexibility and accuracy. Session 4 in 9 Steps to Future-proofing your warehouse, highlighted best practices in put-away, AMR technology and companies that have found success by utilising both. Learn more about what to look out for in this often-neglected process and the improvements you can make to benefit your business.
Below is a recap of their insights. You can catch the full recording here.
Bas Schilders, principal consultant, Fuzzy LogX
The big picture: Put-away is one of the most under-rated processes of the warehouse. It has to be done and most businesses don’t do it very well. In essence, it is all about finding the optimal storage location for inventory.
How? There is a competition between optimal cube utilisation, strategic location and what is best suited for your specific inventory requirements. Best practice tips: use technology to eliminate travel and optimise storage. For example, slotting software is hugely beneficial if you deal in seasonal products (e.g. grocery retail, fashion retail, food and beverage and FMCG) because poor slotting has a direct impact on all subsequent processes.
Did you know? With the right data, an entire warehouse can be designed with a 3D software application in 15 minutes.
Quote of the session: “Without data, we can’t put-away. If we don’t know how big something is, if we don’t know how quickly it moves, if we don’t know how heavy it is; if we don’t have any of the characteristics of a product, then we’re going to put it in the wrong location.”
Graham Bingham, director, Priority Integrated Systems
John Pucek, principal, Logistics Contracting Practice
The big picture: Put-away is crucial for addressing the priorities of e-commerce channels - in particular availability of stock, often in small quantities, in a small window of time (sometimes as short as 2-4 hours).
How? An AMR (autonomous mobile robot) solution can streamline the process from inbound and to make that product available for sale as quickly as possible. There are many forms of automated put-away, and the type of your business dictates what type is worthy of your investment.
Success stories: Real world benefits that have been realised across all key areas in footwear, fashion, apparel, and cosmetics businesses: reduced implementation time; ability to scale at short notice; the ability to increase the speed of inducting new skews at low cost. Furthermore, with the put-away function in AMR, there is no interruption of the pick process (no loss of productivity) as opposed to what can happen in a manual environment.
For Australia Post, the time of implementation from onsite work commencement to system handover took less than a month. The results were 400% productivity gain; labour reduction; better peak volume handling; shorter lead time and the ability to increase safety in response to COVID 19 imposed social distancing requirements.
The big picture: Put-away is often overlooked but it can impact safety, service and cost. Investing in AMR automation can result in significantly positive impacts in these areas.
How? The features of state-of-the-art AMR put-away solutions include
- User friendly interface
- Colour coded management
- High density and low density options
- Flexible pods and work stations
- Versatile and configurable across different industries
- Intelligent heat maps
In this week’s conversation on put-away, the panel addressed: productivity gains, lowered costs, replacing people, managing data integrity, and the challenges of fast implementation.
Watch the recording.
Prepare your questions! Session 5 on Replenish & Decant is taking place this Thursday, 2 July 2020.