Fixed position warehousing strategy: what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Warehouse management
24.11.2021

A fixed position in the storage of goods or materials means that each item has a predetermined place in the warehouse. The advantage of this strategy is that the warehouse operates in a clean and organized manner, does not require high management requirements, simplifies the fulfillment of internal health and safety guidelines and facilitates the work of more experienced warehouse workers who already know the positions of the goods "by heart". On the other hand, with this strategy, you do not use the full capacity of your warehouse, because many positions remain vacant due to reservations.

What is fixed position

When using a fixed position strategy, each type of item has its own fixed location in the warehouse. This means that once goods or materials arrive for receipt, warehouse workers have only one option (or a few options) where to store them. In addition, the position is always available because it is permanently blocked for the given type of goods.

This strategy is particularly suitable for companies

  • with a relatively constant and low-turnover product range,
  • with a lower number of items of goods,
  • with more or less constant inventory for each item,
  • that most often remove goods manually (but it can also be a handling technique),
  • selling goods that require special conditions for storage (food, medicine, temperature-controlled food, etc.),
  • storing items that require a special regime (flammables, explosives, chemicals...)

On the contrary, the strategy is not very suitable for companies and e-shops with fast-moving goods.

Advantages of fixed position strategy

The fixed position strategy significantly reduces the demands on warehouse management. The warehouse manager or logistics manager only designs the optimal stock distribution system at the beginning, and then uses this system in the long term. More experienced warehouse workers know exactly where to store which goods, and there is not much room for human error, as the system constantly checks the prescribed positions.

Furthermore, this strategy facilitates the removal of goods, when a more experienced storekeeper can practically "blindly" find the goods that he removes most often and whose position he already knows well.

The fixed position also enables the targeted storage of goods according to weight, so that heavy items are placed in the lower shelves, while light ones in higher positions (= simplifies the application of internal health and safety regulations), or that the best-selling goods are stored closer to the outlet.

In addition, a warehouse using a fixed position strategy appears cleaner and more organized than, for example, in the case of chaotic storage.

Disadvantages of fixed position strategy

A fixed position strategy leads to lower warehouse utilization efficiency. Warehouse workers cannot store goods that currently have all "their" positions filled, even if there is otherwise enough free space in the warehouse. It is blocked for goods that are not in stock and may not be for a long time. In addition, when planning fixed positions, it is necessary to allocate enough space for each type of product that corresponds to a full stock level - even if a full stock level is rather exceptional.

When designing a fixed position strategy, warehouse managers usually design organized warehouses where typologically similar goods are close together. In practice, long shelves with, for example, refrigerators can be seen in the warehouse, always sorted by type, size, color, etc. Such a storage method leads to the fact that the storekeeper has to find the right one among a number of similar products, which results in a higher error rate.

The fixed position strategy also makes it more difficult and longer to train new warehouse workers, who have to learn for several months before they can find their way around the warehouse and walk confidently. Until then, they are mushrooming, walking unnecessary extra kilometers and are not as efficient. However, this problem can be solved by implementing a WMS warehouse system.

Are you interested in other warehousing strategies? Download the whitepaper in which we describe and discuss them all.

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