« You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If… Junked Pallets Fill The Building | Main | You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If…Ice Is Your Stopgap Solution »

You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If… Rush Hour Occurs Inside the Building

By Kate Vitasek | 05/31/2011 | 7:17 AM

I’d like to introduce Ram Krishnan, a new contributor to the Bad Warehouse stable of experts who know how to turn your bad warehouse into a smooth-running operation. Krishnan heads Karma Logistics Inc.

Ram relates a common problem he has seen often: the “mad rush” by forklift drivers and order pickers at the start of a shift. This creates congestion and inefficiency in the aisles and is also a safety issue.

Ram writes: “Congestion always results in excessive picking time.

“You may run out of stocks in the pick slots. The forklift driver making the replenishment may be slow in this congested aisle, causing both mark-outs and stock-outs. This may lead to partial orders picked and shipped.”

The solution? Ram recommends that at the start of the shift, when the congestion frequently occurs, stagger the first few work-assignments. Instead of starting the pick sequence with Assignment 1,2,3,4,5 etc.,  pick in the sequence of 4,5,1,2,3 etc.

“Instead of forcing every store (or trailer) order to start their Assignment 1 always at the beginning of the aisle, start with the 4th assignment, which may begin at different slots that are staggered.” The diagram shows it graphically:

Changing the first few order picking sequence can achieve greater efficiency while avoiding congestion. Thanks Ram, very scientific!

The WERC Best Practices guide jibes with Ram’s advice: “One consideration for slotting is to reduce travel time or labor associated with picking and replenishment. To reduce travel time, most companies start by looking at product order patterns and product velocity through the warehouse. The fastest-moving items are located so that the least amount of travel is required to pick or pull product for replenishment.” These prime locations can include the first bays in an aisle, storage close to central conveyors or areas closest to shipping or assembly cells.”

Also, place product at the best ergonomic levels and balance prime locations aisles, flow racks and shelving “to reduce labor and equipment congestion and conflicts.”

I really love your feedback - and love your contributions to share those bad warehouse stories to help educate the profession on what NOT to do, and maybe what to do if you’re not doing it.

If you've got an example of a bad warehouse practice, send me your story and photo(s) to [email protected]. If I feature your example in one of my blogs, WERC will send you a free copy of the WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practices Guide (a $160 value).

Your submission can be anonymous if you like so you don't get your boss or company in trouble! I'll be collecting examples all year and the winner will receive a free WERC Warehouse Certification Assessment by Supply Chain Visions, a $10,000 value. The runner up will win a free conference registration to the WERC conference (a $1,375 value).”

TrackBack (0)

TrackBack URL for this entry:



By submitting your comments, you agree to our Terms of Service.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Kate Vitasek

Kate Vitasek

Kate Vitasek is a nationally recognized innovator in the practice of supply chain management. Vitasek is founder of Supply Chain Visions—a boutique consulting firm specializing in supply chain management. She is also a faculty member at the University of Tennessee's Center for Executive Education. A prolific writer, Vitasek has authored the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' best-selling mini-book series, Supply Chain Process Standards, and has contributed to other management books as well. Along with Karl Manrodt of Georgia Southern University, she co-leads WERC's popular annual benchmarking study.

About Steve Murray

Steve Murray

Steve Murray is a Principal Consultant and Chief of Research for Supply Chain Visions, a boutique consulting firm specializing in supply chain management. Prior to joining Supply Chain Visions he held a variety of functional and management roles in the distribution and manufacturing sectors, including 15 year managing an IT consulting firm. Steve has been instrumental in development of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional's "Supply Chain Management Process Standards", the Warehousing Education and Research Council's Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmarking & Best Practice Guide" and the WERC "Warehouse Certification Program". He is lead auditor for the WERC's Certification Program.


Popular Tags

Recent Comments

Subscribe to DC Velocity

Subscribe to DC Velocity Start your FREE subscription to DC Velocity!

Subscribe to DC Velocity
Go digital