How to Slot a Warehouse


I started my work in slotting optimization over 30 years ago. From a DOS diskette to a desktop application to remote PC access, RightChain Slotting has become RightChain Slotting-as-a-Service. Incorporating CloudAi and integration with ERPs and WMS, our current subscription slotting optimization solutions include a slotting optimization API and a slotting optimization solution platform. The solutions are powered by RightChain.ai and incorporate a mix of artificial intelligence and conventional optimization methods. The solutions can be configured in a matter of hours.


Despite those new developments, the fundamentals of slotting have not changed. We only have easier, faster, and better ways to answer the same questions.


Over three decades we have been fortunate to slot many medium and large-scale warehouses and distribution centers at Avon, Baxter, Caterpillar, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Disney, GE, HP Hood, LL Bean, and Oxxo to name a few. That work and our current work is aimed at answering four fundamental questions for each SKU (stock keeping unit, aka part number). These four questions have not changed, and neither has the 23% to 38% reduction in picking and restocking costs associated with the right answers.


(1) Storage Mode Optimization. What storage mode should each SKU be assigned to? In pallet picking, the question is, "What combination and configuration of storage media (floor storage, single deep rack, double deep rack, push back rack, pallet flow rack, or mobile pallet rack) and vehicle type (man or unmanned counterbalance lift truck, reach truck, turret truck, or ASRS machine) minimize the storage and handling cost of each SKU?" In each picking, the question is, "Which of bin shelving, storage drawers, carton flow rack, horizontal carousels, vertical carousels, ASRS, or automated dispensing are the optimal picking mode for each SKU?"