Just what is Slotting?

New slotting engine helps companies more intelligently manage resources in the warehouse.

Sterling Commerce has released a new slotting engine with Sterling Warehouse Management. Designed to automate and optimise inventory slotting activities, the engine identifies the most efficient placement for items in the warehouse, enabling companies to more intelligently manage both personnel and physical resources in the warehouse.

Sterling WMS is said to give managers robust planning, execution and measurement tools, and bring operational discipline to complex warehouse operations. The addition of the slotting engine adds another planning and execution tool that is claimed to enable companies to increase revenue growth through improvements in order fulfilment volumes without adding staff or space and respond to changes in product volumes and seasonality to maximise product placement and picking productivity.

“Companies are facing increasing complexity, especially in high volume fulfilment operations,” said Michael Vulcan, ANZ Managing Director, Sterling Commerce. “The addition of a slotting engine in Sterling WMS brings intelligence to a process that can dramatically influence the operational efficiency of the entire warehousing system.”

Travel time can often account for up to 60 percent of a picker’s daily activity. A good slotting strategy can reduce travel time and improve the efficiency of picking-related labour. Specifically, the slotting engine will help companies establish goals and constraints that determine the optimal slotting strategy, and then perform “what-if” re-slotting scenarios based on those goals and constraints. This will enable them to:

Optimise the sequence in which slotting tasks are executed to help ensure their successful completion; plan the labour required to execute the slotting tasks with the flexibility to execute only a subset of the slotting tasks in a situation where sufficient labour is not available to complete all the tasks; and determine return on investment and payback for alternative scenarios before moves are executed.

The slotting engine comes through a partnership with Optricity, a leader in slotting solutions that offers mathematically advanced, optimisation engines to enhance return on supply chain investment. Capitalising on leading Web technologies, deep domain expertise, improved computing algorithms and analysis techniques, Optricity’s tools integrate with current supply chain planning and execution systems. The addition of Optricity’s patent pending slotting methodologies will take Sterling WMS to the next level of slotting capabilities.

Sterling Warehouse Management System (WMS), part of the Sterling Selling and Fulfilment Suite, reduces inventory and operational costs and improves customer satisfaction for any warehouse configuration by executing complex processes and optimising inventory and labour. It provides a central point of control over warehouse operations across multiple facilities and geographies of varying types. With its service-oriented architecture (SOA) and strong integration capabilities, it easily integrates with existing infrastructure and material handling equipment, and supports new technologies like radio frequency identification (RFID). The Sterling Selling and Fulfilment Suite provides unlimited visibility and control across an organisation’s sales and fulfilment operations and enables companies to create a superior buying experience for their customers while shielding them from the complexities of the company’s organisation, channels and supply chain.

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