Businesses face constant pressure to reduce labor cost within their supply chain yet with customers placing more orders in small quantities and solving the challenge is often easier said than done. A great place to start without question is to streamline the order or stock picking process. It makes sense to first focus on picking and packing and shipping outbound orders since these functions generally consume 50% or more of a warehouse’s labor.
- Limit Handling
Reduce the likelihood of human error by limiting the amount of hands that touch stock during order fulfillment which reduces additional repacking and shipment-checking. Once picked, inventory should directly place shipments on trucks.
- Store Wisely
To boost efficiency within a warehouse and to brainstorm different storage strategies.. Review storage strategies regularly to align practices with seasonal demand.
- Don’t Mix It Up
Storing multiple SKUs in the same location can drastically reduce picking efficiency, since the picker needs to search through multiple SKUs in order to find the correct item. Make sure there is a separate, distinct pick location for each unique SKU.
- Clusters Are King
Significant efficiencies can be achieved by grouping together high volume and commonly shipped SKUs and thereby cutting down on travel time for pickers
- Keep It Level
Order picking productivity is higher at ground level than when compared to items stored vertically. So if wants the real estate, try and keep as much inventory as possible at ground level
- Consider the Media
The media used to store items in a warehouse can also impact productivity. To analyze this relationship, use the variable known as cube movement velocity, which measures the volume of movement for each SKU.
- Mix It Up
Various order picking methods may yield varying results like zone picking in which each order picker is assigned a specific zone and will only work within this zone
Batch picking where an order picker is assigned and picks multiple orders simultaneously which reduces trips to each location.
Wave picking in which all zones are picked at the same time and the items are sorted later and consolidated into individual shipments.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Automate
Order pickers devote roughly 60 percent of their time walking or moving product around to an automated solution such as a conveyor and powered workstations can greatly reduce picking time and boost productivity.
- Save Their Strength
Travel time can eat up as much as 50% of picker hours while increasing harmful worker fatigue. To boost picking accuracy, eliminate the amount of walking pickers must do, thereby lowering fatigue and accuracy. Employees who can pick orders while remaining in the same place can accomplish more and fast with fewer mistakes.