An effective put-away process is an important stock management strategy. Put-away refers to every activity from initial receipt of stock until it is finally stocked at the destination. Accurate control over the stocking process leads to timely order fulfillment and eventually ‘happy customers.’
Managing the put-away process saves time, resources and money. Broadly, the put-away process consists of three steps:
It is vital to take account of the expected receipts and current backlog in order to accurately calculate the resources and space required while planning the put away process.
Let’s consider a case of stock received in small quantity. It needs to be ascertained if a trip to the warehouse is justified. If the put-away process is delayed, it negatively impacts warehouse space, resources and product quality. Hence, proper planning is important.
Warehouse management systems (WMS) offer a wide range of put-away strategies. Typically, there are four methods of staging in practice:
Resource optimization: Multi-tasking can be carried out to optimize resources. For example – a truck returning empty after completing the assigned pick up could be used for put-away of another product.
Do-it-today: generally, put away tends to take back-stage to prioritize other tasks such as picking, replenishing, shipping and loading. Parking the put-away process causes congestion, repeated movement of product and therefore possible damage to goods or packaging.
The planning provides a blueprint of how to go about assigning resources. Sometimes unusual situations can trigger a need for change in schedule. These can be handled as exceptions or priorities.
No process can be made effective unless it is constantly monitored for improvement. The put-away process is no exception. Monitoring the major factors that might affect efficiency of the put-away process helps in process enhancement.
An effectively managed put-away process enhances warehouse operations and positively impacts many other factors like total storage capacity, managing short-shipped or cancelled orders, preventing damage to inventory, eliminating congestion in aisles and so on.
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