Walk into any convenience store and you will come face-to-face with a cooler
packed with rows of products that you may have never seen before. America’s
thirst for variety has translated into a multi-billion dollar business in the fastest growing
craft beer, energy drink and flavored water categories. While retailers struggle to
clear shelf space to house this ever growing population of beverage products, the
impact of such SKU proliferation is most profoundly felt on the warehouse floors.
The long list of “cats and dogs” SKUs, while account for a relatively small daily volume,
pose special operational challenges. These challenges are typically manageable
as long as the population of the slow moving SKUs is relatively small. As this
population grows, however, the challenges and costs associated with handling of
such products increase in an exponential manner.