In most warehouses the material handlers travel empty more than 60% of the time.  Long pick paths and poor product placement can make labor even more inefficient.  Slotting your warehouse based on travel distance and customer demand can save 5-10% on labor.  When handling issues, product groups, order patterns are factored in an additional 3-5% labor productivity can be had.  Also increasing storage density can create free space for additional opportunities; more efficient put away, right sizing bins, promotions and new product roll outs.

Finding the warehouse ‘squatters’, the slow moving stock that’s sitting in the wrong place, isn’t too difficult.  Squatters force the pickers to travel further to get to the active product locations.  Over time squatters increase and migrate forward forcing longer and longer hunting trips.  A quick and dirty way to find the squatters is to take your picking transactions and count the number of transactions and sort by location.  A low number of picks in a location right next to one with high picks is a clue.  Depending on your location address naming scheme this sorting can be confusing.  Also, unfortunately spreadsheet slicing and dicing can only take you so far, typically only to making one pass on the product velocity.  When you add other factors besides distance and velocity you need a better tool than Excel.

Slot3D by IDS Engineering is a warehouse slotting tool that combines AutoCAD with an economic algorithm that is highly visual, flexible, and powerful.  Slot3D translates business rules into configuration parameters and along with SKU and order history calculates  the picking, replenishment, and storage costs for each item and slot in the warehouse.  The system recognizes different material handling equipment capabilities and location sizes and characteristics.  Rules and restrictions provide mechanisms to prioritize areas of the facility to produce golden zones, bulls eyes, and hot zones.  By allowing the user to structure the rules the software is flexible and not locked into a set of preconfigured algorithms.

The 3D capabilities of AutoCAD allow you to see the overall slotting optimization by providing a heat map of the facility.