There’s a reason that the terms “lean” and “efficiency” are so popular in the industry today. They aren’t just buzzwords- they’re money savers. When it comes to a pick line, a little wasted time can equal a lot of wasted money. There are four things you should consider when designing your order picking operation that will boost employee productivity and save you money. If you can address all four of these concerns, your operation can achieve maximum Pickability.
This one seems obvious, but you’d be shocked to see how many companies struggle with it. Travel refers to how much your employees have to walk between picks. An efficient pick is one that is organized in such a way as to minimize travel and avoid extraneous footsteps. When it comes to a pick line, consolidating your products is key. Pareto’s Principle should play a major factor in consolidation. For our industry, it means 80% of picks will come from just 20% of the facility’s SKUs. These high-selling SKUs should be consolidated when planning a pick line. This will increase the pick rate of your pickers while simultaneously reducing errors.
Reducing travel time between your picks will help improve pick rates, but not if your employees are burning the time they’ve saved searching for a specific SKU. Having clean pick tickets, a clearly marked label, or a pick-to-light system can go a long way toward helping your employees learn where a product is located. It’s a simple, low-cost solution that can save your companies hundreds of man hours over the course of a year.
3. Employee Fatigue
Employee fatigue is important- not only from an efficiency standpoint, but from a morale standpoint as well. Cutting down on unnecessary travel and searching is a great start, but there are other things that can be done to combat employee fatigue. One thing to consider is using fatigue matting, which improve posture and cuts down on the stress exerted upon the feet. It’s a simple solution that can work wonders. Another way to reduce fatigue is by analyzing product accessibility. Slotting locations can and should be considered. Don’t put your highest volume product on the bottom shelf where your employees have to constantly bend over to get it. This leads to overexertion, which leads to an unhappy work force.
Having an adequate lighting system can improve pick time, but will also pay dividends for order accuracy. It will help the employee see the product that they’re picking, further reducing search times. It will also allow employees utilizing pick tickets to reduce strain on their eyes and ensure a higher level of order accuracy. Less physical strain and a higher rate of success will help reduce employee fatigue and keep morale high amongst the pickers.
UNEX solutions can help you tackle each one of these concerns and increase the Pickability and thus profitability of your order picking operation. Stuck on SKU consolidation? Our universal wheel beds will allow up to 90% space utilization from left to right in your pallet rack. Are your search times still too high? Span-Track features label holders that make locating the desired SKU fast and easy. Our slotting analysis will ensure your high-frequency picks are stored in an area that minimizes bending, reaching, and overall worker fatigue. Finally, UNEX solutions like wire pick shelves can ensure overhead lighting isn’t obstructed by obtrusive and opaque shelving. Whichever of the above issues your operation may face, UNEX has the solution. Contact our Pickologists at 1800-334-UNEX to bring these solutions to your facility now.