Warehouse Example

A Warehouse example: 

Have you ever noticed your computer slowing down? 
That is often because pieces of your files get scattered all over the disk and the computer makes trips all over the disk to fetch all the parts of your files. Some computers use a defragmentation program to alleviate this problem. 

Warehouses suffer from the same problems
Orders come in which vary by season, demand and quantity. If a warehouse is allowed to fragment, expensive and unnecessary trips to the back of the warehouse or to the top shelf of storage happen more often. 

Optimization of location in the warehouse to fit the demands of the orders to be filled can save significant costs, sometimes as much as 20-30%. The optimization accounts for type of product, season, and the sensing of increased velocity of shipments. 

With some logistics colleagues of mine, I created a planning database server which nips this problem in the bud for a large web order fulfillment company. 

The solution was to intercept the ASNs [Advance Shipping Notices] of incoming trucks on the Internet and plan the placement of their contents into the warehouse before the truck got to the incoming dock by interacting with the WMS [warehouse management system] of the client. As boxes come off the truck, they are routed by a conveyor to the planned location. Then the contents are in an optimum location to pick orders with minimum cost in time [and hence money $$.] 

This diagram at right shows the Receiving System  operational workflow. First the planning server gets Advanced Shipping Notices [ASNs] over the network  from the WMS [Warehouse Management System - Logpro in this case] - when it receives them from the shipper. After analyzing the incoming information, the server creates a plan and provides this info to the conveyor controller which can look up individual products [SKUs] as they come off the truck. 

This system solves the problem by optimizing the putaway location of items by volume and activity. 

Although I can't show you some of the proprietary and confidential info of my clients, you can see some of the principles below. If you want to see more, contact me at garethharris@mac.com 

Above is a display of a product - SKU [stock keeping unit] activity in a warehouse over time. Notice the amounts are displayed in both number of pieces and cubic feet. 

Shipping is in redreceiving is in green and the amount onhand is a dotted blue line. The time is by week number of year. 

Below is a display showing incoming truck traffic - planned before the truck arrives:

© Gareth Harris 2019        -         Contact email: GarethHarris@mac.com         -         see also: SentimentalStargazer.com