Putaway is a significant process in warehouse management that starts with receiving the supply of goods from the vendor, then checking the quality of the goods and finally, appropriately storing the stock in the warehouse.
If you put away the goods on the same day you receive them from your vendors, you can avoid many drawbacks like a chaotic warehouse, misplaced products, and damaged stock. Moreover, putaway ensures the safety of goods, equipment, and warehouse technicians.
This blog will walk you through the putaway process, best putaway strategies, and how good putaway management can benefit your business. Let’s get started.
Putaway process in the warehouse
When we imagine a warehouse, we can easily see a vast space with forklift operators loading and unloading goods, verifying the goods for quality, and arranging carton boxes on racks..
Now, let’s imagine five trucks with tons of diverse materials waiting to be unloaded at the warehouse entrance. The received goods are of wide varieties, sizes, and weights. How do warehouse managers store the items they just received? This is the process of putaway, and warehouses practice specific putaway strategies for optimal management of inventory.
Often, the warehouse puts away items based on (i) purchase orders, (ii) SKUs, or (iii) product types. We discuss these in more detail in later sections of the blog. Now, let’s see how you can automate the warehouse management activities, including the putaway process.
Warehouse management is not challenging and time-consuming anymore. A warehouse management system (WMS) automates the entire warehouse operations, freeing the employees from repetitive manual tasks.
Here are some of the salient features of the DEAR WMS that can help you optimize your putaway process:
- Wireless scanning: You can scan the received material and apply barcode labels (if required) upon unloading.
- Guided walk paths: Guided walk paths allow your warehouse team to finish things on time by finding the ideal route for both the putaway and the picking process.
- Real-time visibility: The system is transparent and aids visibility into your inventory quantities and location at all times.
- Serial and lot numbers: With the versatile SKU mobile scanner, you can effectively organize and monitor goods internally.
- Streamline your putaway processes: The DEAR WMS application provides a directed putaway function, enabling users to walk through the warehouse and point them to the exact location for the received goods. Users can automatically assign bins to the items and move items between bins. With DEAR WMS, you know the whereabouts of your goods at all times.
- Minimize errors and save time: You can’t afford any mistakes in warehouse management. With DEAR WMS, you can minimize errors in your warehouse activities, including receiving, putaway, and pick/pack processes.
With DEAR WMS, you can ensure the quality, quantity, and safety of your inventories, equipment, and employees in the warehouse.
Warehouse putaway strategy
Once you receive the supply from the vendors and complete the quality checks, you will start putting away the items in their allotted spaces.
Rather than putting away stock randomly, you need to define strategies for your putaway process. With an appropriate putaway strategy in place, your business can enjoy the following benefits:
- You can be sure about the details of every item in the warehouse.
- You can maintain an organized warehouse without worrying about misplaced or lost goods.
- You can speed up the order fulfillment process as your warehouse team knows the precise location of every product.
- You can avoid stockouts as your team knows when the stock is running low and can replenish the items on time.
- You get to use the storage space effectively.
The major putaway strategies that we commonly encounter in warehouses are
1. Putaway based on purchase orders
Often businesses buy several products from various buyers and stack them in their warehouses. No matter how many vendors you deal with, you can put away items based on your purchase orders. All you need to do is analyze the purchase order and start stacking the goods accordingly. The significant benefit of putting away stocks based on the purchase order is there will be no room for mistakes as you will simultaneously check for every item to group them.
2. Putaway based on product type
In putaway based on product type, you put away products based on the product’s size, how often people purchase those products, or some other characteristic. For instance, if customers rarely buy a specific product, you can stack it on top of the rack, or if you receive products with limited shelf life, you can stack them separately. Thus, you can quickly identify such products without searching when customers order them. The ideal benefit of putting away products based on product type is that you can effectively utilize your warehouse’s storage space.
3. Putaway based on SKU
Stock keeping unit (SKU) is a unique code that comes with a product, displaying the product’s brand, manufacturer, color, size, and style. SKUs enable you to arrange inventories in the warehouse. By putting away items that have similar SKUs, you can quickly find the things when in need. Warehouses prefer SKU-based putaway when they hold large quantities of products sharing similar SKUs.
4. Direct putaway
Unlike other putaway methods, the direct putaway method eliminates the receiving stage in the warehouse so that items are immediately putaway in the allotted space. Warehouses follow this putaway strategy if all the received goods are for the same customer or if the goods are a part of a specific warehouse area. The prime advantage of the direct putaway method is it doesn’t involve much sorting and handling of products, reducing product damage significantly.
Invest in warehouse management system (WMS) to optimize your putaway process
Now you know putaway is a mandatory and important warehouse process. A reliable WMS can help you automate your entire warehouse management, including putaway, picking, and packing. In short, the WMS streamlines your warehouse processes, allowing you to boost sales and maximize profits.
Here is how a WMS can help you in optimizing your putaway process:
1. Real-time data insights
Data is crucial for any business to predict trends, identify opportunities, understand consumer behavior and stand out from competitors. However, many warehouses still have a gap and don’t have sufficient data at the right time. Undoubtedly, warehouse management demands a lot of critical data like order volume, storage availability, shipping frequency, and vendor details. A WMS provides accurate data that you can analyze to put away inventories.
2. Keep track of your stock at all times
Today’s warehouses use both fixed and dynamic locations to store inventory efficiently. Dynamic locations allow you to place items in the first available temporary location without demanding you to pre-plan locations for every item. Though dynamic locations make putaway an easy process, you would need a robust WMS to track your inventory locations quickly.
3. Save time and reduce errors
Any business cannot afford mismanagement in warehouses. Picking and packing the orders for shipping as soon as you receive orders is crucial. DEAR’s WMS provides multiple features to enhance your warehouse management. DEAR communicates in real-time with your backend, reducing order receiving errors. The handheld Scan SKU mobile barcode scanner verifies orders, creates item labels, and captures product numbers while alerting the users upon discrepancies.
4. Updated inventory information at your fingertips
A cloud-based WMS offers real-time inventory information at all times. For instance, you can check the available stock while processing orders. In fact, you can even set the system to replenish the inventory when it goes below specific counts. Thus, a WMS can automate all the warehouse activities and allow you to focus more on your business growth and customer satisfaction.
How can DEAR WMS help you optimize warehouse and inventory management?
DEAR WMS seamlessly integrates with DEAR inventory, enabling you to speed up the warehouse processes cost-effectively. With DEAR WMS, you can automate warehouse tasks like receiving, putting away, stocktaking, stock transfer, picking, packing, and printing product labels.
Book a free, one-on-one consultation call with our specialist today and accelerate your business growth with DEAR systems’ warehouse management software.