Slotting a warehouse – or deciding which goods go where – is one of the first tasks that a logistics company undertakes when onboarding a new account. The design of the warehouse is important but the placement of the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) drives the bulk of potential efficiency gain. If you place fast-moving products too far away from an aisle or conveyor – or even worse high up in the air – pickers and inventory control teams end up walking further than necessary, wasting time and resources.
That’s why companies invest in slotting software to identify the most advantageous location for every SKU, based on its velocity (how much it sells), affinity (how often it transacts with other SKUs) and several other characteristics.
Many companies offer this type of software and we were satisfied with the off-the-shelf product we were using. But we had one use case that was causing problems: shoes. This product is different to most retail items because there are many variables that customers have to decide on: do they need to size up or size down? Or what color do they prefer? The buying behavior for this and similar products created a challenge for our existing inventory slotting solution.
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