Warehouse location mapping

You might be distributing the best product in the world, but you can easily sabotage its success by implementing a thoughtless warehouse location mapping strategy. Because speedy fulfillment is currently the name of the game, devising a plan that takes a range of important considerations into effect is key. While warehouse location mapping is a process that takes time for planning and implementation, there are a series of steps that all operations can take to get things moving on the right foot:.

While select warehouse managers may know their layouts and operational flows well enough to begin a plan without their boots touching the floor, most experts suggest commencing the warehouse location mapping process by walking through the warehouse to better inform the assessment.

Carry a pen and a pad of sticky notes with you, labeling highly-trafficked and trouble areas as you go. Take note of the travel paths that constitute the most streamlined routes and compare the shelving unit locations to your current picking strategy.

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These preliminary notes will act as the groundwork for your latest location plan. These are the associates who will be able to challenge the theoretical by providing you with the direct input that you need to formulate a well-researched plan.

Get a particularly keen sense of the movements of your pickers, taking note as to the lengths of their routes, whether or not they double back many times to retrieve products, and if the most popular SKUs are placed in the most accessible zones available. Now that you have gained a clearer sense of strategic location mapping for your warehouse, create location names for your various inventory and equipment that fits well into your overarching organizational structure.

Camcode offers a range of warehouse label options that are designed to work within even the harshest of warehouse environments. To determine the labels that are best of your operation, consider the temperature, climate, and wear and tear to which your infrastructure is exposed.

For a heavy-duty permanent option, opt for the Premium Polyester, and for temporary options to be used on transitional racks, consider the Magnetic label option. Proper labeling of aisles, docks, and other areas is essential for warehouse efficiency.

Instead, take the time to integrate your locations into your current software solution. Most warehouses use, at the very least, a rudimentary WMS warehouse management system to track their inventory, procedures, orders, and to gain end-to-end visibility within their supply chains. Formulating a warehouse location mapping plan takes a fair amount of thoughtful advice, strategic thinking, and updated training, but once you have your optimized plan in place, your operation will be running in a much more streamlined manner.

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Inventory location names exist so you know where to put stuff and where stuff is put. In many enterprises, the people working there day to day will already have common terms they use to describe various locations. If you have lots of locations, bins, large rooms, or large storage areas, then this guide will help you organize your thinking on how to name inventory locations.

Within a zone or room, inventory location names should ascend from top to bottom and from left to right. To understand this concept better, please follow the detailed guide below. As you can see, the store has many rooms.

And each room has a name used by the employees. By abbreviating each room name, we can easily incorporate it into the inventory location name without making our location names too long. This will help when viewing location names in tables and on labels. In a short amount of time, people using the inventory system will associate the one-letter name with the longer description of the zone. Consider dividing up your room into sections.

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Some rooms will lend themselves to natural sectioning for instance, rooms with rows of shelving can be easily divided into aisles. When naming sections, it may help to have a consistent method of creating section names. This will help users find locations quickly and easily. Below we present one method, which illustrates some of the thinking that might go into creating section. The storage zone has now been divided into sections labeled A through H fig. While in this illustration the sections correspond with shelves, the main point is this: An area or zone should be divided into sections that can be viewed without a person needing to move their feet.

You may want to start your section names with the section that is closest to you as you enter the room. The main reason for this is that it will match the way your inventory reports will print out. Consider the figures below:. Consider the task of someone taking an entire inventory count. All the locations will be printed along with what should be contained in them.

warehouse location mapping

Every enterprise has its own unique layout and structures. The above guide to location names is just that—a guide. You will no doubt need to make your own adjustments, but the important principle is this:. In our example, the location names start with a room or zone, then a section, then a specific name.After all, virtually every operation, no matter the size, output, or the capital behind it, can afford to invest in an effective warehouse management system WMS.

When WMS software is deployed, a whole new world of efficient and accurate processes reveal themselves. Some of the many benefits that comes with these systems are heightened end-to-end visibility for more robust supply chains, better demand planning, automatic replenishment functions, and, when implemented correctly, reduced operational expenses.

A warehouse location numbering system is, essentially, just what it sounds like: a series of numbers that denote the various locations within a warehousing operation.

It may seem like a relatively simple task, but the uninitiated have a tendency to attach numbers in the simplest manners, ones that do not support the strategic processes already built into the WMS.

Here are the steps you should take before deciding upon a warehouse location numbering system for your facility:.

warehouse location mapping

Keep reading to learn how to put these tips to work to create a foolproof warehouse location numbering system. So, if you do use alphabetical characters, stick to using them for situations with only five or six options.

He also suggests attaching numbers to the elements of the location, like the levels of shelving, rather than just the aisles. By doing this, you will be creating a sub-system that is unique to each aisle, creating heightened accuracy that prevents human error as processes commence. When codes are short, there is less of a risk for confusion and the warehouse becomes much easier to navigate for those who are new to the facility.

Additionally, the longer the code, the higher the chance that your scanners, or the associates operating them, may make a mistake when in a rush.

warehouse location mapping

As mentioned, it is more fitting to assign numbers based on the elements of the location, not the aisles in which they are situated. To do this, you will have to take a number of factors into account:. Although it may not be possible for all, some experts recommend against placing more than one SKU in a location at a time.

If you were to do this, you could compromise the efficacy of the numbering system, leading to confusion during times of picking and replenishment, which could result in packing errors.

How To Name Inventory Locations

For more help in strategizing your SKU placement, use data compiled by your WMS to assess the fastest-moving items and organize those into the areas that are most accessible. At Camcode, we offer a wide range of options designed to fit the systems, technologies, and various environmental conditions that affect your daily operations. To see which types of labels will fit your warehouse best, reference our 3-Step Guide for choosing the right warehouse labels.

Share Tweet Pin 0 shares. Keep up to date on the latest from Camcode. Follow Us On Join our mailing list Sign Up. Contact Us. Tel: Fax: What's Next?If you draw the layout of a warehouse within an MS Excel spreadsheet and label the storage locations, this program will color the map according to any table of data, such as historical frequency of visits. Figure 1 below is an example. This can be used to display any location-based statistic, such as annual pick-lines, cubic volume of product removed, frequency of restock, weight of stored product, age of stored product, travel distance from shipping, etc.

New: The default colors have been changed to be color-blind safe, printer safe, and copier safe. Please read the license and disclaimersthen click here to download the program. It will appear as a jar file, which most systems will run if you double-click on it.

If the program does not run, make sure you have the latest version of Java installed and your security settings allow execution of Java programs. Figure 2: This heat map shows all levels of the rack so that you can see not only where but how high the picks were during the year.

The red square to the far right represents a pallet location on the 2nd level that was visited frequently despite being far from shipping top left. Yes, you can use any spreadsheet program that can read and write files in MS Excel xlsx format.

Sometimes you may need to touch up the final result to ensure that attributes, such as alignment or orientation of text, are correct.

Figure 3: The shaded storage locations hold the oldest pallets and reveal how obsolete product is forcing increased travel.

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Toggle navigation Warehouse Science. Figure 1: The darker storage locations were visited most frequently.Manufacturers, shipping specialists, and retailers all use warehouse facilities, and most have a system for warehouse location mapping in place.

However, some may not realize the value in time and money that a solid warehouse inventory management system provides. That is why it is essential to develop a custom warehouse location system and make unique plans for warehouse location mapping based on your needs. Of course, these terms, like warehouse inventory management, a warehouse location system, and warehouse location mapping, may all be unfamiliar to you.

Essentially, each translates to the same thing and boils down to naming and identifying the many shelf and unit positions, travel paths and routes, and work areas within any warehouse facility.

Just like a person has a home address with street, city, and zip code, a warehouse location system defines the position of products in the same way. Once you visualize these multi-dimensional grids that work horizontally and vertically, it becomes easier to understand a warehouse inventory management system.

Top Five Benefits of a Good Inventory Management Strategy

It gives a coded location where products live until picked and packed for shipment or delivery. Of course, a warehouse location system is also suited to long-term storage, drop shipping ventures, and more. One vital element of warehouse inventory management is the labeling that is used throughout, and many experts will turn to the makers of their labels as partners in the design process.

They will review the options in warehouse labels to be sure that the best solutions are put to use. Any plans will be based on available floor space, the type of picking done, and whether it will be foot traffic or foot and vehicles. The potential bottlenecks can be avoided by doing paper and pen planning, but most firms use warehouse location mapping as the ideal answer, laying it out and identifying the most efficient spaces for items.

While mapping out the space available is important, it will be inefficient if not done using the anticipated traffic patterns. For example, will the layout be grid-like or facilitate lots of movement and use a serpentine style? Will there be a need to get strategic in layout, or will back and forth movement be acceptable? We already noted that the mapping is exactly like everyday mapping and gives addresses or locations to specific goods. How are you going to provide smart location names for the specific items or product categories?

After all, those names and designations have to take into account the amount of picking to be done, the volume sold, the size of the goods, and so on.

There is one important and easily overlooked rule to warehouse mapping, and that is the tendency to try to under label, i. The truth of the matter is that you cannot over label inventory or stock. The unique names, zones, categories, and codes you give to even the smallest product grouping will facilitate the mapping, organizing and managing processes.

Another easily overlooked rule is to skip the usual traffic or flow patterns.

warehouse location mapping

Labels should always work from top to bottom and left to right. Change that pattern and your warehouse staff may struggle.Warehouse locations and bin labeling are, perhaps, the most underrated principles in warehouse management best-practices. If you want to sell more, pick more product, get merchandise out the door faster and, ultimately, reduce the costs of labor, miss-ships, and errors in your warehouse: look no further.

What might be setting you back is your warehouse locations and how you label them. After decades of trial-and-error the warehouse industry has determined a clear right and wrong way of naming and labeling locations in a warehouse.

10 Things to Know About Warehouse Location Mapping

These features allow you to get the most out of your warehouse space and employees. After all, having an optimized system means your pickers spend less time finding product and make fewer mistakes which is good for your bottom line. Below are some terms used in the industry, however keep in mind different terminology may be used. Find a warehouse location naming schema that works for you and be consistent.

Warehouse location labeling is a tricky business. The organization of location codes as well as what locations are actually called can and usually do differ greatly between warehouses. There are, however, a few industry standards you should follow in order to prevent needing to rename all your shelves later on and alleviate potential confusion for your pickers. No two warehouses will necessarily use the system as the other.

The two most common ways of labeling racks are serpentine and standard. And in fact, most experts you come across will argue for the case of a serpentine system.

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Because when provided with a picklist that is in order by location, pickers can weave like a snake up and down the aisle and collect products for several orders without having to double back or skip around their pick list. It means a more organized and efficient route for pickers to follow.

As you can see, a picklist would naturally guide a picker up and down an aisle from unit AA to unit AC and then back to AA on the next aisle.

Which means pickers would be inclined to skip around on the picklist or be forced to travel inefficiently through the warehouse to collect product for orders. The industry preferred method of shelf labeling is by section see graphic.

Depending on the warehouse and their needs, you might choose to put the shelf value in the last position of your location code.

Warehouses may choose to do this if they have irregularly shaped or large items or some other reason to dislike this a typical organization scheme. Each shelf within a unit should count up from one and continue numerically until you reach the end of a shelf. For instance, in the example below, you can see shelf four and shelf five start with bin one and end at bin four.

As you can see, a lot goes into naming locations, and due to how highly customizable it is, you can really get as specific or general as you want. While this can be a good thing, with a well-planned schema, undertaking this kind of project is understandably daunting. In either case, I understand.The purpose of warehouse mapping studies is to analyse temperature and humidity distribution, to evaluate storage conditions and identify critical zones inside the warehouse.

This article intends to be a quick guide for warehouse mapping studies. Even with controlled environment inside the warehouse, the exterior weather conditions may influence the overall storage temperature and relative humidity. Because it has many costs to monitor many points continuously, particularly in big areas, the best approach is to perform this study at the worst case conditions, meaning two complementary studies performed respectively at winter and summer time. With these two studies, the critical zones can be identified to be monitored continuously.

First steps, start by collecting all necessary data about the warehouse: drawings, dimensions, HVAC plans, walls and ceiling materials, and storage organization. This will be extremely useful to choose the location of your dataloggers and prepare the protocol. The protocol should describe the procedures to be followed, including the number of dataloggers to be used and respective locations, the study duration, data acquisition intervals, data processing methods and acceptance criteria.

Make sure you have enough dataloggers and that the sensors are calibrated. You should set the number of dataloggers to use according to the warehouse volume.

Try to use as many as possible to ensure a good distribution, but take into account that you will also have much data to analyse afterwards. Make sure you cover all storage areas, and all storage levels, including top levels. Locations near outside doors, walls and ceilings may be more sensitive to exterior conditions. To ensure a good distribution of the sensors, you can for example divide the warehouse into smaller equal sections.

Put a sensor in the outside to record exterior conditions during the study. Use the same protocol for both winter and summer studies, with the same datalogger locations, data acquisition intervals and study duration. The study should be long enough to show any possible daily trends, so it should be not less than 3 days. Program the dataloggers to acquire data every minutes also the smaller data acquisition interval, the more data you have to analyse.

For each location calculate the maximum, minimum, average, standard deviation and mean kinetic temperature. Usually the software associated to your dataloggers does these calculations for you. It is useful to make a plot with all locations results to see any overall trends. You will also see if there are any differences between lower and top locations. With this data is now possible to identify any critical areas, hot or cold spots, and analyse if any changes are needed.

Attach to the reports drawings with your dataloggers locations, all obtained results and calibration certificates. After performing both winter and summer studies, write a summary report compiling the main results and conclusions from both studies.

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