Six Ways to “Replenish” Replenishment

Replenishment is something that we all have to do. In smaller operations, products are simply moved from the receiving area to the primary storage location. In larger operations, there can be two or more places where the same item is stored.

Here are some tips to consider when reviewing your replenishment operation:

1) If you are replenishing a particular item more than once a week, consider increasing the item’s storage capacity in your primary pick area.

2) Classify your products into A, B, and C movers. “A” items are your fastest-moving 5%, which will need to be replenished often. “C” items are your slowest-moving 80%, which should not need replenishing more than once every few weeks.

3) Always consider material flow when evaluating your replenishment operation. If possible, locate overflow items near the primary storage location, preferably above or adjacent to the primary.

4) Consider flow rack or pallet flow for faster-moving materials. You will be able to store more, it will be easier to replenish, and flow systems automatically manage first in, first out (FIFO) for you.

5) If you are experiencing unexpected stock-outs, consider using a computerized inventory tracking system, and set up a discipline to review all of your faster movers on a regular basis.

6) Consider replacing ladders with powered lift equipment. Powered trucks and equipment can make your operation safer, and the trucks pay for themselves quickly with labor savings.

Sam Flanders is president of Portsmouth, NH-based Warehouse Management Consultants.

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