What is putaway and how to optimize it with xTrack WMS
You coordinate a lot of logistics activities in your warehouse and you need to organise them efficiently in order to manage your business successfully. The online environment has increasingly become a backbone of procurement processes, and Same-Day Delivery or Next-Day Delivery requests have increased, so you need the best software solutions to optimise all warehouse operations, including putaway, to have your customers’ orders fully processed and shipped on time.
What putaway means
The verb “to put away” means “to put (something) away” (where it is normally stored). So, in logistics, putaway means exactly that – the moving of incoming goods from the yard into the warehouse, onto the shelves where they belong. This operation plays an important role in the efficient management of inbound processes, alongside dock management and goods receipt (receiving).
When a truck arrives at the warehouse, employees unload and receive the goods. Then, there is the putaway stage where, in order to avoid bottlenecks and ensure a continuous workflow, goods are moved from the receiving area outside the warehouse to the interior, either onto the racks or to various specially arranged areas. The putaway frees up space in the warehouse yard to allow further goods to be received and results in the storage of incoming goods in an organised way. The picking efficiency depends on the efficiency of the way in which the goods are organised and placed on racks.
Types of putaway
There are various ways of determining the location of items received in the warehouse. Here are some of them, seen from the perspective of changing storage locations over time.
The putaway can be:
In this approach, locations remain unchanged over time – a given item is always stored on the same shelf, in the same area. Items may or may not be grouped by zone. If it is done by warehouse zones, their grouping is based on various parameters represented by specific common characteristics of the products (such as, for example, fragility, suitable temperature for storage, etc.). This type of putaway is rigid as compared to the other two below and generally requires a prior arrangement of storage areas that takes into account the specific nature of the products to be stored.
In this type of putaway, which is also known as a system-directed putaway, technology is the key factor. Automated location optimisation by WMS systems results in frequently ordered items being placed in the most advantageous storage locations in the warehouse. This is possible because the WMS solution can monitor sales volumes per item. This makes it easy to determine which product classes are top sellers and therefore require locations that are quick and easy to access.
The dynamic approach focuses on on-the-spot selection of the locations where the products being received are to be stored. It is probably the most flexible type of putaway, as setting the right location is a constantly evolving and changing process, where much more consideration is given to current demand. For this reason, locations are changed as frequently as necessary to ensure a continuous and rapid workflow in the warehouse and a sustained pace of deliveries.
How to optimize putaway activities with xTrack WMS
You can use a WMS no matter what location-setting method you use in your warehouse, as the application can be adapted to optimise any type of putaway.
Even in the case of location-fixed putaway which, at first glance, would not require optimisation, recording and monitoring products and storage locations via the WMS has benefits, as it can not only help to streamline picking but also, for example, to ensure replenishment. In addition, the application also helps new employees to get up to speed in the warehouse immediately, without the need for a long period of learning what items there are and where the fixed storage locations for each one are.
In the case of the directed putaway (and not only that), you can automatically allocate storage spaces (slotting) efficiently if you take into account the rotation of goods (ABC classes). In this way, you reduce the workers’ “travel time” in the warehouse and ensure they have quick access to frequently requested products during the next stage – picking. That’s why implementing software solutions that automatically coordinate the goods movement process based on configurable algorithms has beneficial effects not only at the micro level, but also at the macro level, optimising all warehouse activities.
And if there are frequent variations in product demand (set by seasonality, promotional campaigns, new items on offer, etc.), you need dynamic reallocation (reslotting). By implementing the best WMS systems you can also benefit from reslotting, not just slotting (where only an initial allocation of storage space is made).
Use warehouse, distribution centre and inventory management systems such as xTrack WMS, developed by Axes Software. You’ll get the best out of warehouse organisation and dynamic reconfiguration of storage spaces.Opt for a xTrack WMS deployment so as to optimize not only putaway, but also all the other warehouse operations that you choose: (pre)receiving, cross docking, picking, replenishment, checking, labelling, inventory, reporting, VAS (Value Added Services).
The benefits of an optimized putaway with WMS:
Optimizing putaway is essential for your warehouse business because:
- you know where to place products and where to pick them from, so you don’t waste time remembering or identifying locations;
- you make efficient use of the available warehouse space you have;
- you can account for every product that goes into your warehouse – setting and recording storage locations reduces the chances of items being lost or misplaced;
- WMS monitoring of quantities on the shelf or in dedicated locations helps you avoid stock-outs and ensure timely replenishment, eliminating bottlenecks or delays in the shipping process.
In addition to xTrack WMS, Axes Software offers other complex solutions specially designed for the management of specific logistics activities and other components of the supply chain: xTrack MES (for production), xTrack TMS, xTrack POD (transport and delivery), xTrack PMS (returnable packaging management), xTrack YMS (yard management) and xTrack ReT (automated declaration of high tax risk goods in the RO e-Transport system). For further information, send us a message by filling in any form on our website or, even easier, clicking on the Contact button below. And we will get back to you!