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Putaway Process: A Thorough Guide to Efficient Warehousing

Warehouse workers engaged in the putaway process.
Last Modified: July 25, 2023
An optimized putaway strategy streamlines the shipping process for warehouse workers. Join us as we discuss the basics of putaway in warehouse, as well as best practices to improve the process.
Joe Weaver
May 30, 2023
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The putaway process is a vital aspect of warehouse operations. It ensures that items get to the right location for easy access and efficient inventory management. Optimizing this process can be challenging, even for experienced warehouse managers. 

According to the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), putaway is the process of storing goods in a warehouse. It involves assigning specific storage spaces based on factors like product characteristics, consumer demand, and warehousing operations. Optimizing this process is vital for a successful warehouse.

With so many variables at play, streamlining the putaway process can be difficult. Before discussing best practices and optimization, let’s review some basic terms.

Putaway Process: Basic Terms and Benefits

The putaway process plays a crucial role in creating a clean and organized warehouse. A warehouse that’s disorganized, or not taking certain details into consideration, is going to suffer. Understanding the terms and benefits of this practice can help streamline warehousing.

Examining the fundamentals of this process will help you in the process of optimization.

What is Putaway in Warehouse?

Items on shelves in a warehouse.

Putaway in a warehouse refers to placing received goods into designated storage areas. Having such areas makes things like fulfillment easier because there is a logical layout.

These areas where good are stored are chosen based on the following factors:

  • Product characteristics
  • Demand patterns
  • Operational needs
  • And more

The purpose of this process is to provide organized inventory and optimal order fulfillment. For warehouses that are also running pick and pack or kitting, this is very useful. The less time your workers need to spend running back and forth, the faster your order process goes.

The Significance of the Putaway Warehouse Process

Properly executed putaway processes contribute to accurate inventory tracking. They also reduce errors and increase the speed of order fulfillment. By placing items in designated locations, warehouses can optimize storage and improve productivity.

Benefits of Optimized Putaway in Warehouse

Optimized putaway is an important aspect of warehouse efficiency. It contributes to inventory tracking, reduced errors, and increased order fulfillment speed.

Before deciding how best to optimize this process, let’s look at the three most common types of putaway in warehouses.

Types of Putaway

Dynamic PutawayAssigns storage locations based on real-time factors.This method is highly adaptable. It is arguably the most efficient putaway option.
Directed/Slotted PutawayUses predefined rules and instructions to determine the placement of items.Directed putaway is more adaptable and efficient than fixed location, but requires a less sophisticated WMS.
Fixed Location PutawayAssigns permanent storage spaces to products.This putaway method works well for warehouses that consistently receive the same volume and types of products.

Take the time to really analyze your business practices before choosing the best method for your warehousing needs. If you’re still unsure, consider consulting or contracting with a 3PL service like Fulfillment and Distribution. We have years of experience with the warehouse putaway process. 

Looking for a solution to store and ship your products seamlessly? Let R+L Global Logistics be your fulfillment and distribution partner.

How to Optimize Putaway Warehouse Process

To optimize this process in your warehouse, it’s important to follow some best practices for putaway. These will ensure efficient inventory management and streamlined operations. With these practices in place, your warehouse will be set up for success.

Some of the best practices for warehouse putaway include:

  • Considering variables such as product characteristics, consumer demand, and operational considerations.
  • Using a zoning system that assigns storage areas based on product types, sizes, or other relevant criteria.
  • Keeping inventory records current to simplify putaway and retrieval operations.
  • Having open communication between receiving and putaway teams to reduce delays and errors.
  • Implement warehouse management systems (WMS) and automation to improve the process.

These best practices will lead to a more efficient and organized warehouse. A more efficient warehouse is going to be a more profitable warehouse. At the end, you and the customer reap the benefits. 

Key Components of an Effective Putaway Process

Palletized and shelved items in a warehouse.

When you start looking at your own in-house process, it’s important to keep the main parts of the process in mind. This will give you a guideline on which to base any evaluations of your system.

Three key components to this process are:

  • Relation between receiving and putaway
  • Warehouse putaway strategy
  • Warehouse management systems

Let’s take a closer look at these and the way they can impact your warehouse operations as a whole. 

Receiving and Putaway Process

Receiving and putaway processes go hand in hand in warehouse operations. As goods arrive, they must reach the receiving area and promptly move into the designated storage locations. Organization during this stage is vital to ensure products reach the right areas.

A well-run receiving and putaway process is essential for efficient inventory management.

Warehouse Putaway Strategy

A thoughtful warehouse putaway plan optimizes the efficiency of the process. Strategies like ABC analysis can determine the best storage locations for different products.

Technology and automation also improve warehouse putaway strategies. They can have a positive impact on factors such as:

  • Accuracy
  • Speed
  • Decision-making

When you can boost all three of these, every part of the business runs more efficiently. 

Putaway in Warehouse Management Systems

Integration of the putaway process within warehouse management systems brings many benefits. Warehouse management software improves inventory visibility and data capture. In addition, barcode scanning and inventory tracking can improve accuracy and efficiency in warehouses.

Make Your Next Move With Fulfillment and Distribution

Following best practices and using modern technology and software ensures there’s no wasted space in your warehouse. Fulfillment and Distribution can help you save even more space with our wide array of services, including:

  • 3PL Warehousing
  • Pick and Pack
  • Kitting
  • Reverse Logistics

Give us a call at (866) 989-3082 or submit a quote through our website. We’re ready to help you meet your logistics and transport needs today!

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