Female warehouse workers going through shipment list.

Warehouse Management & The Importance of Zoning

Effective Zoning of products and goods in a warehouse is one of the most important concepts from both a software and operations perspective towards achieving a well streamlined warehouse operation.

Evolve CoreWarehouse 3PL WMS Software has built-in functions to ensure all zoning requirements are an integral part of supply chain and warehouse operations

Zoning Defined

Identification of zones involves grouping of individual locations into established zones that can be used to enhance accuracy and build operational effectiveness.

An example of this practice is Directed Putaway. After receiving goods in the warehouse, all Tier 1 WMS systems include rules for putaway’s to be defined by zones. An example is a warehouse area that can be designated a putaway zone for fast moving SKU’s that are close to shipping doors and or forward pick locations. This will reduce travel time for most moving of high velocity SKU’s versus random storage where pallets of fast-moving items might be directed to the back portion of the warehouse.

A company may also choose to group products by locations of fast, medium and slow movers of products.

Achieving Most From Zoning In The Warehouse

When dealing with special products such as Hazmat items, these specialized products will need to be grouped into their own putaway zones. There are some companies that prefer to keep heavy pallets on the ground floor of the warehouse, and can result in a set of locations being grouped together as the heavy zone. The 3PL warehouse management software system would direct SKU’s flagged as heavy in the item master to that zone for putaway upon receipt.

A Tier 1 WMS should have the ability to define any number of zones and create the logic for how putaways are aligned in the warehouse.

In addition to putaways and other types of zones include: Work Zones, Slotting Zones, Replenishment Zones and other similar warehouse segments. The key point is that any given location should be able to be flagged as being in multiple of these types zone types- a one to one relationship meaning one location is part of multiple zone types.

For example, a pallet location on the top level of racking might be part of a slower mover putaway zone. But the top two levels might be grouped as a type of cycle count zone so that a warehouse worker who is on an order picker type truck minimizes up an down movements in getting the cycle counts completed.

With the Evolve CoreWarehouse 3PL WMS system products can set in zones based on Velocity . The WMS system can identify how often a SKU is picked from its location. The process of zoning and optimizing location management starts by determining the turnover speed of each SKU to see whether the products are sold quickly, at an average speed or at a slow rate.

Core eBusiness Solutions is located in Fairfield, NJ. The company’s Evolve 3PL Corewarehouse WMS system is a Tier 1 cloud based solution.