Material Handling

The Power of Dynamic Allocation

Storing parts in fixed locations is simple to set up, but comes with plenty of long-term costs

Efficient and adaptable storage is an essential part of a modern electronics manufacturing operation, and yet most manufacturers are still using the same old racks and bins. While it seems like the simplest and cheapest way to store parts, the standard practice of grabbing a bin and assigning it to a particular part number comes with large long term costs down the road. Instead, by using a "dynamic allocation" storage system in which parts can be placed in any available location, manufacturers can significantly reduce labor and storage space while increasing overall efficiency.

Overcoming the Challenges of Fixed Locations

Assigning fixed locations to your parts storage almost invariably leads to storing multiple packages together in the same location. From inventory uncertainty, to increased picking times and a higher risk of human error, this strategy has its own set of problems as discussed in our post on the benefits of Single-Package, Single-Location storage

The "Dynamic Allocation" approach sidesteps these problems by allowing each part to be stored in any available location. Instead of dealing with the confusion of multiple packages stored together, each package is stored separately, greatly simplifying inventory management and reducing errors.

Reducing Wasted Space

Storing SMT reels in fixed locations often means reserving space for parts, regardless of whether those parts are there or not. It's extremely common to see dozens of storage locations completely empty or with only one or two packages, and we've frequently seen operations where the majority of the bins are empty. This translates to huge amounts of wasted space in a typical rack-and-bin storage system. 

With dynamic allocation every cubic inch of your storage space can be utilized as efficiently as possible. Because any package can be placed in any available location, you don't have empty spaces set aside just waiting for the right parts to come along. maximizing the use of storage area and reducing unnecessary wastage. As a result, you can store more parts within the same area, improving the overall productivity and efficiency of your storage system.

Eliminating Overflow Issues

Fixed-location storage also creates problems when you have "too many" parts on hand, when there is a mismatch between your current inventory and the available locations dedicated to that part. When this happens, you're forced to do something like store parts in an overflow location. These overflow locations make it more difficult to know exactly where all your parts are, and add extra steps to the process of picking and putting away parts.

The "Dynamic Allocation" approach, with its inherent flexibility, resolves this issue. Instead of trying to fit square pegs into round holes, parts are stored wherever there's available space. This eliminates the need for overflow locations and makes it easier to manage and locate your parts, saving valuable time and effort in the process.

Closing Thoughts

While fixed-location storage has been the traditional approach in electronic manufacturing, it brings along a host of challenges including combined package complications, wasted storage space, and overflow problems. The solution to these problems lies in adopting a "Dynamic Allocation" storage system. This innovative approach enables better inventory management, efficient use of space, and eliminates the need for overflow locations. By choosing "Dynamic Allocation," you can ensure a more flexible, efficient, and reliable storage process for your manufacturing operation, and say goodbye to the headaches of fixed location storage.

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