Warehouse Location Mapping: How To

Warehouse location mapping involves identifying and naming all product shelving positions, work areas, and travel paths within your facility.

Warehouse locations can be thought of like a home address, each location indicates where goods “live” within your warehouse. Aisles are like streets, each bay is an apartment building, each shelf is a different floor within that apartment building, and each shelf position is an apartment unit. All of this information together—Aisle, Bay, Shelf, Position—provides the “address” (location) at which your goods can be found. These “addresses” remain fixed, while the “tenant” (your goods) can change and be moved around to different locations within your warehouse as needed.

The layout of your warehouse locations influences the picking and reserve storage logic of your Warehouse Management System (WMS). Mapping all warehouse locations allows Avectous WMS to create the most efficient pick paths and reserve storage options to boost productivity across multiple task areas: receiving/putaway, fulfillment, and replenishment, to name a few.

There are industry standards and best-practices for warehouse location mapping—an Avectous Consultant can work with you to determine the optimal layout and logic for your specific business needs.

Labeling Locations

Once your warehouse is mapped, you’ll need to label and barcode your areas and locations. These barcodes allow WMS users to quickly complete tasks by scanning the appropriate location directed by the system. This enables real-time inventory and order tracking along every step of your supply chain, from the point of intake through final shipment—you will take control of your inventory and fulfillment services and gain crucial data to drive business decisions.

The Avectous Team has mapped dozens of warehouses and can help you enact a useful process for barcode labeling. Using masking tape, a measuring tape, vice grips, and inexpensive wood trim, labels can be neatly and uniformly applied throughout your warehouse.

Step One: Prep

Prior to applying labels, be sure to clean your racking beams – remove old labels, dirt, dust, and grease. Don’t be tempted to try and label over old stickers or tape!

Step Two: Create Location Guide

Use masking tape, post-it notes, or computer print-outs to distinguish the appropriate locations in your physical warehouse space. By taking the time to pre-label locations, you can minimize common human error during the label application stage. The layout can be visualized and approved—and modified if needed—and these markers serve as a simple, but crucial reference point for those individuals applying the final labels, allowing them to zip along quickly and confidently.

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You don’t have to pre-label every location position – just enough to serve as quick, visual guide.
During a recent mapping consultation, we worked with an apparel wholesaler and pre-labeled the warehouse using masking tape along the floor to indicate the correct aisle and bay. This was enough information to keep the labelers on track.

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Step Three: Create Label Template

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Next, we attached the wooden trim, cut to match the shelf length, using two vice grips—one at each end, to hold the template in place.
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Measure and mark the position of the labels.
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We color-coded positions, allowing this template to be used on multiple shelves.
Here, the A and W Labels indicate lower level shelves, while X, Y, Z refer to higher shelves.
The location 01-07-A-02 stands for: Aisle 1, Bay 7, Shelf Level A, Shelf Position 2.

Step Four: Shift + Repeat

Once your template is made and the pre-label visual markers are in place, a team of two can quickly shift the template between shelves and uniformly apply the final barcode labels.

A look at the final application:

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The goods at these locations can now be scanned in and monitored through Avectous WMS. Taking the time to properly map and barcode your warehouse will optimize your WMS capabilities and increase your ROI.

We’re here to help you get the most out of your WMS.

We’re here to help you take control.

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