Directed Put-away – No Location Found

In the December 2021 post we outlined the potential need for operators to override the system directed put-away instructions and the need for having a “trouble” location. In both these examples the primary objective is to keep operators moving and processing productive tasks, in this case putting product away and moving to the next task. However, a good warehouse operations strategy is to use these exception processes as a chance to improve the operations and minimize the potential of these exceptions from reoccurring.

In the first example, allowing the operator to override the system directed put-away location will minimize operator disruption if they can easily find an alternative storage location nearby. When this occurs it also presents an opportunity to do a root cause analysis. If the system is working well, operator overrides should be minimal, so when they do occur, it is probably for good reason. Management’s goal should be to investigate these overrides and determine if actions need to be taken to improve the workflow. Did the operator make a bad decision? Perhaps more user training is needed. Maybe the vendor changed the packaging or pallet configuration and the load no longer fits in in the rack. Time to review rack configuration AND more importantly speak to purchasing about communications.

In the second example when product shows up in the “trouble” location it might be due to the system not being able to identify an available storage location. If his occurs and a quick view of the warehouse shows available locations, it might be time to review and/or change the system put-away rules.

WMS TIP: Setup a ‘trouble’ location to be used as a catch all for any product that cannot be put-away. This ensures a location can always be found by the warehouse management system saving both operator and management time.

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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.