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What is Putaway in a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?

Part 4, Back to Basic - Storing your inventory into your warehouse

Photo of many pallets on the floor awaiting to be putaway by AC2 WAVE Warehouse Management System
AC2 WAVE Warehouse Management System - Putaway

A putaway is a process after receiving the inventory into the warehouse, the inventory then needs to store into the warehouse. So the process of moving the inventory from the receiving area into the storage locations, are then referred to as putaway process. It is a very important process in a warehouse management system.

All inventory(often referred to as stock) received into the warehouse are required to be stored inside the warehouse. These inventory will be moved from the receiving area to the storage locations, such as Rack location, BIN location or pigeonhole location. This action is called ‘Put Away’. We usually called it ‘putaway’, a non-English word but widely used in logistics and warehouse management.

A decent warehouse management system allows users to set putaway rules for easy management and administration of all the inbound goods.

For example, all snack items are to be putaway to rack locations, all liquid items (such as mineral water) are to be putaway to floor locations.

Simple? Let’s make it a bit more difficult. For the snack items, putaway to the normal rack locations, however, if the expiration date is less than 6 months, putaway to a list of predefined locations in accordance to certain sequences such as lowest location first from left to right.

Warehouse process flow chart - what come before and after the Putaway Process
AC2 Group - Warehouse Management System Process

Putaway rules may turn out to be complicated and hard to maintain, hence it is best to simplify the rules unless you have no choice. The ‘no choice’ part is commonly tied to things such as physical limitations or regulations. For example, food items should not be stored near chemical items to avoid contamination by the odour emitted by the chemical items.

Pharmaceutical items are highly regulated so there are many rules to follow when storing them in the warehouse. And it should be! If you know of any pharmaceutical item comes from a warehouse not using a good warehouse management system, you will highly likely inform your family members, relatives and friends, to never consume these products.

A good warehouse management system makes it easy for warehouse operations to execute these putaway tasks. Humans are not good at memorising all the rules, and humans have different standards when they are dealing with common sense. Read this book ‘Dodge It If you Can’ on real-life stories about human standards on common sense.

When you are implementing a warehouse management system, always choose an implementation team who has the domain knowledge and experience in providing putaway best practices and able to guide you in setting up these putaway rules.

Read more on What is Warehouse Management System:

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