Warehouse Replenishment – The Best Approach (Part 1)

Warehouse Replenishment Methods

If you have a warehouse that performs case or each picking, you’re likely performing some kind of warehouse replenishment. The decision to use a particular method or mix of methods is generally driven by two factors:

  1. Priorities
  2. Restrictions

In this first part, we’ll cover the primary types of warehouse replenishment methodologies. We’ll finish talking about the different methods as well as offer tips and examples as to what might work best for you in Part 2.

The primary types of warehouse replenishment methodologies are:

  • Demand
  • Triggered
  • Top-Off

When does it work best to use Demand Method of Warehouse Replenishment?

Demand tends to be the favored approach if there are significant restrictions for the number of available picking locations. It moves only the inventory that is needed to fulfill an order or group of orders. The thinking generally goes like this, “I can’t afford to dedicate a picking location to inventory unless I already have a pick requested for at least some of that inventory.” It also supports strict rotation of inventory. This is helpful to ensure that newer inventory isn’t picked and shipped with older inventory that might remain in a pick location as a result of improper rotation of inventory during replenishment. As you begin to set up your pick face, consider factors such as dynamic pick slotting, limited real estate and products that experience unexpected demand spikes.

When does it work best to use the Triggered Method of Warehouse Replenishment?

Triggered replenishment, often called routine or opportunistic, is used when inventory reaches a minimum threshold within a forward pick face or location. Triggered replenishment can help ensure that a picker always has enough inventory in the most efficient picking location. This method is best suited where the product has a predictable throughput or known seasonal demands that allow it to be slotted statically for longer periods of time. This method also requires that the right amount of real estate is available for the product. It works best when the forward pick location has enough room for full pallets of inventory to be replenished to the pick face.

When does it work best to use Top-Off Method of Warehouse Replenishment?

Top-off replenishment can be used for times when picking operations are less active to bring the stock up to acceptable levels. It works well when you have a shortage of work to complement or promote interleaving opportunities in active areas. It also works well when you’re expecting a large wave of pick work or volume and you want to be proactive and top off your pick face in advance (providing you have the proper workforce available to prepare).

Discover more in Part 2.

Questions? Contact Open Sky Group today to discover which replenishment method will work best for your operations.