How to approach warehouse-rearrangement?

Updated: Oct 8, 2021 shares in this post ideas towards how to approach "warehouse-rearrangement" !

👉 The "rearrangement concept" relates to as well the adaptation of the infrastructure (e.g. racks) as the placement of the goods within the infrastructure.

A common example is the "repair" of racks. In this case the goods first need to be taken out of the racks (in a safe way), then the racks are to be repaired, and finally the goods can be stored again.

But the purpose of the rearrangement can also be to improve the storage method of the goods or to improve the location of the goods towards overall efficiency or space use. In relation to these last elements the rearrangement can for example be the placement of fast-moving goods in the fast-mover zones and the relocation of no longer selling items to slow-moving zones.

💡 Following elements need to be reviewed in relation to setting up a rearrangement:

1️⃣ The Plan

2️⃣ The Process

3️⃣ The System

4️⃣ Quality

5️⃣ Safety

6️⃣ The Operational follow-up

We will now discuss them one by one:

1️⃣ The Plan

The foundation of every rearrangement is "Plan"! This includes the order, the method, etc.

In many cases the first challenge is the move of the first goods to a free space. From this then - like a domino - the rest of the plan can follow. Traditionally a rearrangement project therefor will be split in different steps. The opportunities available will play a big role. What is "already" free or can be made available "easily" for those first goods towards allowing the next steps?

2️⃣ The Process

A second element of importance is to setup a proper process for the rearrangement. The larger the number of goods that needs to be moved the more importance this element will have.

💡 In many cases "rearrangement" has not matured yet to a standard-process which makes it dangerous towards loss of goods, loss of service, etc. So it's a good idea to setup a good process before starting.

3️⃣ The System

In line with the process the system needs to be updated. In many cases this element is absent or incomplete. Challenge is then to keep the system in in sync & / finds methods to minimize the operational impact.

A typical measure is to setup a certain frequency in the system-updates that needs to be (manually) done. Make sure the is frequent enough, because Murphy (resource no longer available, other needs, etc) is just waiting always around corner...

💡 The operational impact...

When looking at the overall process (incl the system) its best to have the proper solutions in place to mitigate issues. Think in this of leaving a note in the original location of what happened "a rearrangement..." and where the goods are now. Through this concept all arriving at the location (for example when the system update has not taken place yet) knows it's not a stock-out, but the goods are being moved. Potentially even the new location can be found in support of the operations.

4️⃣ Quality

In many cases the rearrangement-processes are under (time)pressure. Considering this is a process that only possibly infrequent executed or not fully supported its by fa a solid process. One measure therefor will be to apply the proper quality controls physically and or system-wise.

This can be done by "sampling" or based on reviewing "exceptions" or "deviations" or even a "total control". All of this to make sure that the quality is supported and operationally there is not a large impact.

💡In line with the previous the "check" can be by having a third person taking away the "notes" that were left behind at the time of the move; this to validate the proper execution of the move.

5️⃣ Safety

A rearrangement-process often takes place through the standard processes. The "rearranger" might even be working with means that have issues (damaged goods and racks etc.). Also, his behavior is different than the operators executing the standard processes (e.g. staying longer at the same location, driving in the opposite direction, etc.). This makes that the safety aspect needs to be thoroughly looked at and where needed special agreements &/measures need to be taken.

Examples of this are:

- executing the rearrangement at specifics timings (night, shift change, brakes, etc.)

- placement of additional signage (using cones, special dress-code for the rearrangement crew, etc.)

- setting up reporting- and safety-processes similar to when contractors perform work (incl. singing in & out)

- usage of safety gear (harnesses, etc.)

6️⃣ The Operational follow-up

"Last but not least" there is the Operational follow-up; essential seen the many challenges to do the right follow-up towards progress, quality, safety, etc. As discussed in 1️⃣ to 5️⃣ and where needed to take corrective actions.

💡Now you should be able to approach the "rearrangement challenge" in a more structured way.

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