The 5 Best Practices in the Directed Putaway to Improve Productivity

This warehouse best practice is called the directed putaway. Putaway is a process of moving the product after receiving at the receiving dock. The product gets received and either cases were built or the pallets were built and now these cases and pallets have to be put-away in their reserve location.

The way it works is the product is moved from the receiving area to the reserve area in so many different ways. The user will find the first open location and just stick the load there and that is called the suggested put-away, and this is not completely the user directed put-away. In the user-directed put-away, user just finds the hole and sticks the load there and it is a complete wrong way of putting the loads.

directed-putaway-best-practiceIt makes sense when the volume is so low, but in a high volume scenario you need to follow a systematic process directed put-away which makes a lot of sense because you could configure your rules, based on the segmentation of the products like consumer goods and something else.

  1. You could either do it by department or you could do it by SKU velocity or you could even plan for the bottom most locations which are pick-locations, and all the locations above them are reserve locations to keep the product.
  2. Reserve product can be kept as close to your active location or picking location as possible.  Like that all kinds of configurations are possible. You would have so many picking zones and put-away types and you could assign priorities. Things like this makes it easy on the user because the last thing you want is to not confuse the user. That is why the systems are in place and the best practices are built into the system and just the users need to leverage it, so that the user only needs to concentrate on the drops and not in any other thing. The user now only needs to put the pallets in the place where there is a space to fit in the pallet at the locations based on the systems direction, that’s why it is called the directed put-away. System is directing the user to do the put-away and not the user doing it by his own, like computation.
  3. That’s why it’s important to implement the directed put-away process. The other part of the directed put-away is dimensioning, it’s very important to have the dimension of the product, the dimension of the location. It will help the system to compute the space available in a location based on the volume of the SKU and the volume of the pallet to fit that in. You can then geometrically fit that in and you might have to check the weight, volume, even by number of units that might fit.  If it is a long SKU but the 3D perspective may not match the location. So the 3D checks must be made for accurate fitting of the pallets in the reserve location.
  4. You should also have some-kind of crush-ability restriction like placing very heavy SKU over the very light SKU.
  5. These kinds of restrictions can be built-in in the systems while you are determining the put-away location and you could have different attributes such as conveyables, non-conveyables, sortables, non-sortables and robotable, non-robo-tables.

The directed put-away is a best practice because it is thinking away from the user and it always follows a certain pattern. You could have systematically clear department-wise grouping or a structure in your DC or just have it closer to the picking location. This is why the directed put-away is a best practice and if you are not doing it you should probably think on implementing it. Hope this is helpful and thanks for taking the time to watch this video and off-course checkout all the other best practices that we have it in our YouTube channel and thanks for the time! Kindly comment below if you have any queries, we are glad in supporting you anytime.

Puga Sankara
Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. So far, Smart Gladiator Wearables have been used to ship, receive, and scan more than 50 million boxes. Users love them for the lightweight, easy-to-use soft overlay keyboard and video chatting ability, data collection ability etc. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 17 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at or visit the company at Also follow him at
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