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Jim Claybourn
Midwest Equipment & Supply
Evansville, IN

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Date: 10/17/2007
Contact: Shelby Miller
Phone: 888-627-9797

Slotting for Small and Midsized Distributors

IDII Software Newsletter

In a typical warehouse or distribution center, employees spend a large amount of time each day traveling back and forth across the floor unloading, stocking and picking. Reducing this travel time can result in increased pick productivity, faster shipping times, and substantial labor cost savings for the company.

Slotting, one of the most sought after capabilities by warehouse managers today, is a primary strategy for reducing travel time on the floor. Slotting is functionality within a warehouse management system that analyzes how inventory is moving and strategically reassigns the placement of inventory for greater efficiencies. With slotting, warehouse managers can view inventory movement and sales history to see exactly what?s hot and what?s not in the warehouse.

Slotting was developed out of a need for warehouse managers and employees to know more about their inventory and get a real pulse on the movement of products for better forecasting, planning, and improved customer service. Slotting helps identify exactly what?s happening in the warehouse and recommends placement of inventory so that the distance warehouse workers travel to pick orders is minimized. The bottom-line goal? Paying warehouse crews to pick more orders in less time.

In the past, due to cost and complexity, slotting was traditionally only utilized in large-scale operations. Today though, slotting can have a significant impact on the productivity and competitiveness of a small to midsized warehouse or distribution center. New offerings such as the PathGuide Latitude Slotting Module are specifically designed for the unique needs of a smaller or midsized facility.

How Latitude Slotting Works

The first step when slotting a warehouse or distribution center is to take a look at the physical space and determine what area should hold the hottest inventory - those items that are the fast movers. Bins and shelves in this area could be identified and labeled as the "hot zone."

The next step is to determine which items and how many of them can be held in the new hot zone based on the size of the zone and size of item. For example, a warehouse manager may determine that the hot zone is capable of holding the top 100 fastest moving items. By using a wizard in the Latitude Slotting Module, warehouse managers can identify which items fall into the hot zone. The wizard provides recommendations based on a number of flexible criteria and historical sales data selected by the user.

The same steps are then repeated to identify zones outside of the hot zone, including the items they should contain.

Slotting wizard results: this screen shows a result list of ranked items with color-coded indicators where items? ranks have changed, or where an item is currently in an "incorrect" location.

After the Latitude Slotting wizard suggests the appropriate locations and bins for inventory, the warehouse manager can build a slotting job. The slotting job helps in reassigning inventory to a new location by generating an internal warehouse order for the inventory to be moved in to new bins.

While slotting software itself is quite complex, the process of slotting is simple. The resulting increase in productivity, faster ship times and better customer service can have a tremendous impact on a distributor's bottom line.

Slotting White Paper

Atlanta Dental Increases Pick Efficiency with Slotting

The PathGuide Latitude 8.0 Slotting Module was announced on September 11, 2007.

For more information contact:

Shelby Miller