Order Picking

What is Order Picking?

Order picking is the process of locating and pulling products or SKUs (stock keeping units) to fulfill orders. As the first stage in fulfilling a customer’s order, this process must run smoothly in order to streamline the remaining steps in the order fulfillment process — packing, shipping, and delivery.

UNEX order picking carts

Common Types of Order Picking

There are various types of order picking methods to utilize depending on warehouse size, inventory, and the number of customer orders. Some of the most common examples are:

  • Single order picking or discrete order picking enables the picker to focus on one item at a time. This basic order picking style is ideal for smaller operations with fewer SKUs. 
  • Batch picking, which involves picking groups of orders at the same time, is also called multi-order picking and useful for small items or orders with minimal SKUs
  • Multi-batch order picking is used when multiple smaller orders are created and helps reduce order pick times by collecting numerous orders simultaneously. This type of picking also reduces the amount of time needed to process SKUs.
  • Wave picking is often used when there are a large number of SKUs to pick. Wave picking is where one worker picks one order, one SKU at a time, but orders are scheduled to be picked at certain times of the day, in a specific wave to maximize the picking and packing operations.
  • Zone picking is when pickers are assigned to one specific warehouse zone to pick within, filling orders with the SKUs located in that area.

 

Order Picking Challenges

While order picking is vital within the order fulfillment process, it is often prone to a number of errors. In fact, the average industry picking error rate is between 1% and 3%, while seemingly small, can add up to $50 to $300 cost per error. Common challenges include:

  • SKUs placed in incorrect locations or inefficiently organized
  • Lack of organization by throughput, resulting in delayed or missed orders
  • Hiring qualified pickers, or inability to train pickers on warehouse layout and item locations
  • Inefficient use of picker time due to warehouse layout and storage system

Request a consultation to find the ideal warehouse storage solutions for your unique space.

Best Practices and Solutions to Order Picking

Following order picking best practices will ultimately improve customer service, boost worker productivity, reduce costs, and increase the overall bottom line.

Improve Order Picking Speed and Reduce Labor Costs

On their own, pallet racks help to maximize the use of limited space and organize picks throughout a warehouse. To realize the full potential of warehouse pallet rack storage systems and improve order picking procedures, implement innovative rack enhancements such as UNEX’s SpeedCell, SpanTrack, and Shelf Track. A trusted industry provider of robust, made-to-order storage solutions, UNEX products condense storage space to improve SKU layout and reduce pick times.

Increase Storage Density and Improve Picking Processes

Travel time is a major efficiency challenge for order picking operations and improved storage density helps prevent long walks to find products. When picks are spread out across a large warehouse, the time spent having to walk through rows of shelves and racks limits the number of orders fulfilled on a given day. Warehouse rack enhancements such as UNEX’s SpanTrack, Shelf Track, Pallet Track, and SpeedCell, improve overall storage density to help companies increase order picking speeds, reduce labor costs, and ensure accurate order fulfillment.

SpanTrack

SpanTrack’s patented-design drops into existing rack structures to create a fully functional carton flow rack roller system that ensures FIFO rotation for increased order picking efficiency and worker ergonomics. Because SpanTrack is customizable and condenses inventory to maximize space usage, companies experience greater picking speed, which directly impacts labor and operating costs.

Additional benefits of SpanTrack include:

  • 300% more product contact than plastic wheel lanes
  • Durable design backed by a seven-year warranty
  • Available in a variety of capacities, allowing you to stack product for higher storage density
  • Increases throughput by up to 150% compared to order picking from pallets
  • High visibility and accessibility for SKUs of varying shapes and sizes
SpanTrack
SpeedCell

SpeedCell

SpeedCell is a dynamic, high-density storage solution that is uniquely designed to save time, space, and money by optimizing storage space within your racks. Designed to transform unused space into an efficient storage area, SpeedCell consolidates storage capacity, which increases pick facings, reduces search and travel time, and improves overall pick times.

Additional benefits of SpeedCell include:

  • Reduces labor costs by up to 40% 
  • Increases storage density by up to 60%
  • Made with durable material that is mold, rust, and flame-resistant 
  • Designed to integrate into existing pallet rack beams 
  • Built-in label holders to make product being picked easy to identify

Shelf Track

Shelf Track is a carton flow system that is specifically designed to replace plastic wheel rail and is easily integrated into existing racks and shelves. The drop-in capability helps create an efficient and accessible pick point for workers, which increases productivity without the strain of hiring and training additional staff members.

Additional benefits of Shelf Track include:

  • Works with almost any shelf and accessories 
  • High-capacity options
  • Optimized for product stacking 
  • Eliminate product hang-ups with 300% more surface area when compared to plastic wheel rails.
  • Wheel beds increase flexibility with slotting and provide 90% left to right bay usage
UNEX Shelf Track Carton Flow
pallet Track

Pallet Track

Often used in material handling facilities, Pallet Track is a pallet flow system that creates dynamic pallet flow. It is designed to keep inventory in return lanes and off the floor. Because product is loaded from the rear and removed from the front, Pallet Track creates a “First-In First-Out” (FIFO) storage system, which makes picking easier and faster resulting in more orders fulfilled in a day.

Additional benefits of Pallet Track include:

  • Can be floor mounted or supported by pallet rack beams
  • Reduces labor costs
  • Green — no energy consumption
  • Increases storage density
  • Reduces fork truck operations

Maximize Storage Space with UNEX

UNEX innovative storage systems are easy to integrate into existing rack structures and designed to help you get the most out of your warehouse space or distribution center. UNEX’s solutions are ideal for fulfillment, logistics, and retail operations looking to increase storage density and improve order picking processes.

Connect with our experts to learn how UNEX solutions help increase space utilization and streamline order picking processes.

Guide to Optimizing Warehouse Space Utilization

The Guide to Optimizing Warehouse Space Utilization will help distribution center and warehouse managers better optimize their warehouse space, resulting in reduced overhead costs, improved efficiencies and increased productivity.

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