How to optimize your putaway process

Guides| 3 min read
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In a warehouse, putaway refers to all the processes that happen between receiving goods from vendors and having them all put away into their assigned places. Having a putaway system simplifies the process of storing items, reduces the risk of misplacing or losing items, and keeps your warehouse clean and organized. Learn more about putaway.

Any putaway system helps, but an efficient one is a lot better for your business. In this guide, we will be talking about what you should do to optimize your putaway process and get even better results.

Don’t put off your putaway

Busy warehouses naturally tend to focus on major processes like picking, packing, and shipping, since they’re the ones that actually get orders out the door and money coming in. Because of that, they leave their putaway process for a later time. But this only means that they end up with boxes of items lying around, unaccounted for.

A word of advice: take care of your putaway the same day that you receive a batch of goods from your vendors. Leaving it until later can result in a cramped warehouse, misplaced products or transaction errors, and even a higher chance of damage to the products, since you’ll ultimately have to move them around more.

Use an updated WMS

When putting products away, your employees may take some time to figure out where each product needs to be stored and then actually make their way over there. Of course, employees who have been working there for a while might know where each product is stored by heart. But just for this point, let’s assume the employee is new.

This extra time can be reduced by using a warehouse management system that calculates the best possible route to take when putting away a specific item or group of items.

You might also find yourself in a situation where you still have many products to put away, but no more room in your warehouse to store them. If this is happening, then there’s a chance that you haven’t been storing your products as efficiently as you can. A simple solution to this problem is to use a warehouse management system that can show you the optimal locations to store your products. Start by collecting as much information as you can about your products, like dimensions, weight, frequency of shipping, and product type, and details about your warehouse like its real-time storage availability. Your warehouse management system should be able to analyze the data and calculate the most favourable location for each product.

Try using fixed and dynamic locations

Depending on factors like the size of the storage space, number of products being dealt with, and number of employees available, warehouses use either fixed or dynamic locations. Typically, businesses use only one type of location setting at a time, either fixed or dynamic. But under the right conditions, they can use both types of locations at the same time to maximize their storage.

Fixed locations are pretty self-explanatory and refer to a permanent rack or area for a specific type of item. One of the good things about using fixed locations is that with time, warehouse workers will start to remember where each product is stored on their own without having to check, which in turn speeds up the putaway process and makes it more efficient. Another reason to use fixed locations, is that they result in a more organized warehouse, since each product is given its own location which makes it easier to find. 

Dynamic locations, on the other hand, involve storing items in the first available, temporary location that a warehouse can find. This technique is more quick and versatile since it doesn’t require you to pre-plan locations for every product. It however requires a warehouse management system that works in real time, so that warehouse staff can keep track of where each item has been placed.

Takeaway

Although it seems like a simple process, putaway is very essential to run a warehouse. Knowing where your products are stored is a start, and using an updated warehouse management system that can keep track of them will take you one step further. If you’re looking to optimize your putaway strategy, then try to incorporate our tips on taking care of your putaway process quickly, updating your WMS, and experimenting with fixed and dynamic locations in your business to see a positive change.

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