There seems to be an ongoing debate about whether or not warehouse replenishment strategies that break down bulk quantities of certain items and move them to more accessible locations are actually worthwhile, or if they simply over-complicate a process and add labor. It turns out that warehouse replenishment really does work, and it reduces the amount of time it takes to get orders out the door. Here's a breakdown of why warehouse replenishment actually saves you resources.
Shortening the Picking Path
Storing all of your goods on pallets or in bulk packages takes up a lot of space on the floor or in your racks. It guarantees that your picking team will need to walk past every single item in your warehouse to get to the item they are picking rather than walking through a small snapshot of what you have available to get to a pick location. When you switch to a more advanced warehouse replenishment system, you could save your picking team thousands of steps per day. In some cases, worker productivity can improve several times over once an appropriate replenishment strategy is put into place .
By using an advanced Warehouse Management System, your warehouse replenishment strategy can be molded to fit the needs of your highest priority orders. Instead of moving a handful of pallets down each hour and leaving them in a bulk zone, you can bring the items that are in highest demand to the front of warehouse for your pickers to pull from. As trends change and different items become hot sellers, you can simply adjust your warehouse replenishment strategy to bring more of those items to the front in place of last season's big ticket item. This flexibility ensures that fewer resources are wasted on low demand items.
Availability of Space
At some point, your warehouse will simply become too cumbersome to manage with all bulk storage. As your company grows and your product selection expands, it is possible to end up with different products sprawling across millions of square feet. Trying to keep to keep fixed locations for each product becomes counterproductive, especially when the parts are slow moving, as your overall pick density is diluted.
Warehouse replenishment is a numbers game. While it may seem counterintuitive to make more contacts with your products, breaking them down into smaller serving sizes to be placed in more accessible locations save far more time where it matters. That means making your pickers' jobs easier and trimming all unnecessary travel time caused by walking across your warehouse. This pays off in big ways.