In this omni-channel, Amazonian world, customers are placing smaller, more frequent orders – and wanting their orders as soon as possible. Supply chain executives must focus on improving order fulfillment, lowering inventory costs and reducing labor usage.
Focusing on refining order picking processes will meet these goals while improving customer service, creating a more competitive advantage for your business.
Order picking best practices can include:
• Having a discrete pick location for each SKU eliminates the need for pickers to sort through multiple SKUs in a pick location to find the right one. Accuracy is improved along with speed of the picking operation.
• Studies show it costs more to pick vertically than horizontally, so warehouse pros strive to put more items at the ground level. If real estate is an issue, then separating slow moving items from faster moving items can improve picking times. Assign slow moving items to vertical locations and keep the fastest items at floor level.
• Increase pick density by setting up “hot zones” in the warehouses where SKUs that have the most picking activity reside. Increasing pick density of faster moving items reduces travel time and speeds picking.
• Minimize touches by assigning items to the correct storage media. Use cube movement velocity to measure the volume of movement for each SKU, then based on this number move high cube movement items to racks and low movement items to smaller media formats.
• Reducing travel time by bringing goods to the picker using conveyors or sortation units. As travel time takes away from picking orders, the less touches and travel you have to complete an order the better. With more and more smaller orders, combining them into a single travel instance can greatly reduce the time it takes to fulfill each order.
Need a storage media or conveyor system to improve your order picking practices? UNEX Manufacturing offers case flow systems for case picking, gravity conveyor systems, tilted pick shelves/trays and knuckled track for split case picking that increases pick rates and improves accuracy so your picking operation meets the service level needs of your customers.