Strategy to deliver expanding product range.

Developing a tool to dynamically manage storage solutions.

Sector: Retail & E-commerce

Services: Growth Strategy | Business Intelligence

Timescale: 8 weeks

The Brief

Our client had operated a General Merchandise warehouse for the whole of its grocery estate for a number of years.  As both sales volumes and product range grew, the facility became under ever greater pressure. 

The challenge was how to deliver the increased range and volume through the existing footprint.

The Solution

The initial requirement was to break the challenge into two halves:  Storage and Pick Locations.  In the case of storage, given a stock target (and likely breach of this stock holding target!), we had to answer how much storage space was required for the increased range, and therefore what combination of storage locations were required.  In this particular case, finding specific storage space was not a significant challenge.

However, the other half of the challenge, Pick Locations, was far more challenging.  The initial calculation of number and size of locations was easy, based on forecast volumes, sku dimensions and the range of storage locations we had or could create.  What made the answer harder to deliver was the requirement to manage these locations as sales volumes changed, and also combine this with the picking routes that the operational team wished to follow, to minimise the distance travelled.

The Result

Through a combination of modelling, heat maps showing where the pickers would be walking, and simulating the overall storage requirements week by week, a modelling toolkit was built that allowed the site to manage their storage locations on an on-going basis.

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