Reasons for System Directed Put-away

Last month we discussed the use of boom rooms in the warehouse and the idea of using system directed putaway to keep flammable product in a safe space. There are many other reasons you might want to use your warehouse management system to help determine where product should be stored.

Product picked together

Labor consumes a large part of a typical warehouse budget. Pick labor consumes a large part of the labor budget. Travel time consumes a large part of a pickers time. Minimizing the amount of time a picker spends traveling will have a direct impact on warehouse operating cost. One way to reduce picker travel time is store products (routinely) picked together, near each other. If 80% of the time and order for product A also includes product D, consider setting the pick faces for A and D near each other.

Separating allergens

In the food industry inventory managers try to keep allergen foods away from other general foods. I saw this need in a cookie factory raw materials warehouse. The manager wanted to ensure the nut products were kept a safe distance from other ingredients. Not only is it a consumer safety issue, it’s a potential legal liability.

Storing over stock near the pick bin

If you are using the best practice of forward pick locations, a supporting best practice is to store the excess inventory near the pick bin when possible. This aligns with the product picked together rational of trying to minimize labor travel time, in this case, replenishment labor.

In most cases, leveraging technology will not only help you know where your product is, but also help ensure it is in the right place to begin with.


Chris Barnes is the Supply Chain Doctor and part of the APICS Coach network. He holds a B.S., Industrial Engineering with an Economics Minor, from Bradley University, and an MBA with emphasis on Industrial Psychology with Honors from the University of West Florida. He is one of the few people in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS.

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