Warehouse Management: Deploy Successful Placement Strategies

  • by Chris Moose, Partner, IBM Global Business Services
  • December 1, 2005
By understanding and leveraging all the Warehouse Management (WM) tools SAP provides, you can satisfy even your most complex placement requirements. Here’s how to get started.
Key Concept
SAP’s Warehouse Management (WM) module provides extensive placement strategies, which you can configure to meet a wide variety of needs. SAP WM has the ability to be simplistic (“Just find an empty bin”) or robust (“Find an opportunity to consolidate this putaway with material already in the bin considering capacity constraints”).
You can sum up effective warehouse management as the safe, rapid, low-cost, accurate, and damage-averse controlling of inventory. Consider these criteria and what they mean in warehouse terms:
  • Safe: Keeping heavy items in the “golden” zone (waist height) avoids bending over and back injuries. Enforcing maximum stack heights can keep pallets from becoming so high they collapse.

  • Rapid: Placing fast-moving items in the locations closest to shipping areas allows for faster picking for the items that are most frequently required.

  • Low-cost: Effective placement of materials can reduce replenishments or other non-value-added moves.

  • Accurate: Using radio frequency (RF) technology to confirm locations coupled with strategies to isolate items likely to be pilfered allows confidence that you can locate materials when they are needed.

  • Damage-averse: Enforcing stack heights or placement into locations suited for certain material storage reduces product damage.

Solid placement and removal strategies are usually the result of observing these principles. The Warehouse Management (WM) module in SAP R/3 and ECC can assist in these areas. This article examines some of SAP’s placement strategies and how they can help enforce wise storage of materials. In a subsequent article, I’ll examine removal strategies.

Chris Moose

Chris Moose is a partner in IBM's Global Business Services organization where he is the sponsor of SAP warehouse management and transportation management offerings. With worldwide responsibility for these offerings, he has helped expand IBM's delivery capabilities globally and has personally delivered projects on four different continents. His specific interests include the use of technology to address the historical fixed cost nature of supply chains enabling flexibility and then quantifying that business value with a benefits realization focus. In addition to his practice management and delivery focus, Chris is a frequent speaker at industry events as well as an author for industry magazines.

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