Warehousing

How to Improve Order Picking

Warehouse management is easy and tricky at the same time. The stakes are high, and as such, all the logistics have to be implemented the right way otherwise face the consequences. The traditional warehouse operations have combined with today’s home delivery and online shopping creating a harsh environment for warehouse operators. One of the logistics in mind here is order picking. Order picking determines the customers’ satisfaction and the warehouse’s organization. The accuracy of the process saves time and cost as well as avoiding costly inventory errors.  This is easy with the automated systems that can track orders from the moment they are placed. However, there is still some warehouse that does both the manual and machine order picking hence the need to improve the process. Lucky for you, regardless of the order picking method, we have compiled some of the ways you can adjust the process, and they are;

Analyzing product velocity

If a product is fast-moving, why then is it slotted way back? The order pickers will waste a lot of time if they have to make several trips. Even in writing, it doesn’t seem logical. Analyzing product velocity will hence save time by exposing items that should be near the shipping dock for easy access thereby optimizing the process. Such a system helps the warehouse to know the inventory that is needed most as well.

Proper inventory slotting

Order picking need not be complicated and organizing inventory is the first step to ensuring accuracy. By putting similar products together, as well as most popular ones, it makes it easy to pick orders in any method. Whether you are using zone picking, batch picking or wave picking, if the inventory has been organized strategically, the error chances are significantly reduced.

What are the picking routes?

If order pickers aren’t sure where products are, they may circle back several times leading to time wastage. Establishing picking routes based on the information obtained from the slotting and product velocity analysis helps take the guesswork out and improves accuracy. This can apply to automatic order picking as they have selected the right items in the least amount of time.

Keeping inventory data

Order picking is reliant on accurate inventory data. The data should be accurate and up-to-date. It makes identifying products fast, and less stressing. Keeping updated inventory data also assists the warehouse from committing themselves to deliver items that are out of stock and adds to the visibility of other items. Also, it shines a light on inventory that isn’t being used saving the warehouse space and money.

Using error data

Optimizing warehouse operation and order picking process will require analysis of error data. This reduces the chance of ever repeating the same mistakes.  It keeps the order pickers on their toes as well since this data can be used to evaluate their accuracy. However, it is difficult to eliminate order picking errors but at least this way, you can minimize mistakes that can cost the warehouse tons of resources correcting them.

Automation

Thanks to the digital era, man and machine can work together to improve the order picking process. Warehouse automation is the way to go if you want to improve your efficiency. Software and robotics are being used to control the production lines. At the same time, they can be used to advance order picking as it becomes more efficient and fast. Embracing automation has led to many warehouses fulfilling their word for quick deliveries, and there have been minimal errors.

When customers get the right delivery, the credibility of your warehouse is rated highly.  Using these few ways to improve order picking will help achieve this.

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