The ABC analysis provides information on the relative importance. In the context of warehouse planning this is usually the access frequency to different articles of the assortment. It informs, for example, the selection of items for dedicated fast-moving pick areas or the assignment of items to a goods-to-person system. As a general prioritization method, ABC analysis also plays an important role outside of warehouse planning, e.g. for the purchasing department and supplier management.

Representation of the Pareto distribution of the picked order lines in a warehouse

The results of an ABC analysis are often represented graphically as a Pareto curve (see figure above). For warehouse analysis and green field planning, it clearly illustrates the differences between fast movers (green area with steep curve) and slow movers (orange area with flattening curve).

The steepness of the ABC distribution has a great influence on the efficiency of manual as well as automatic picking processes. For example, a flat Pareto curve indicates that a clear prioritization of fast movers is not possible. In the case of placement in a multi-deep storage system such as AutoStore or Jungheinrich’s PowerCube, this would result in a high number of “digging operations” and thus a high workload for the bots with an unproductive task. Instead, one would resort to a storage system with a lowstorage depth, such as Exotec Skypod, Miniloads, or (Multi-level) Shuttles.