implementing picking strategies to maximize productivity & improve accuracy
Improving on or implementing a picking strategy for your picking operations in your warehouse is an easier and more cost-effective way to maximize productivity in warehouse operations than disrupting operations by overhauling all SKUs. This article will cover types of picking strategies that will maximize productivity and space while also improving accuracy and worker ergonomics.
types of picking strategies to implement in your warehouse
There are many different types of picking strategies to choose from that can be modified or combined to fit your warehouse operations
Batch picking: This strategy involves picking more than one order at a time and can be achieved with both manual and automated picking. With a manual picking environment, a simple batch picking process allows the picker to pick SKUs required for multiple orders at one time, minimizing travel time. This type of manual batch picking works best with smaller SKUs, as manual picking with larger SKUs leaves a greater risk for error. When batch picking more than a few orders at a time, it's best to integrate software to maintain accuracy rates. The software can optimize picks, direct the worker to the picking location, and verify the quantity to pick.
With automated picking, the worker remains in one location while horizontal carousels, vertical carousels, or vertical lift modules deliver the required SKUs to the worker. The worker picks enough quantity of each SKU to fill all the orders in the batch, reducing the number of times the worker visits the SKU location and increasing productivity. While the worker is picking, the automated system is positioning for the next pick, reducing or eliminating wait time.
Zone picking: Zone picking divides the warehouse into multiple zones and assigns workers to pick only within one zone. Each zone can utilize a different type of technology and/or storage system depending on what would best match the storage technology to the SKUs stored in that zone. Orders are either picked and passed from zone to zone for fulfillment or consolidated at a point before shipping.
Pick and pass: This picking strategy refers to passing orders from zone to zone for fulfillment. For example, if an order originates in zone 1, a worker adds all of the SKUs required from zone 1 before it is passed to zone 2, and so on until it is passed to shipping. To maximize productivity in warehouse operations even more, order management software can be used to manage order flow.
Consolidation: Order consolidation can be used in place of pick and pass. Each zone picks the SKUs required for the order at the same time. When the partial order from one zone is complete, it is sent to consolidation until the rest of the SKUs from the other zones arrive. When all the SKUs are in consolidation, the partial orders are matched up into one order and sent to shipping. Consolidation is an advanced strategy that requires inventory management software.
contact us for Types of Picking Strategies to Maximize Productivity in Warehouse Operations
Southwest Solutions Group® provides consultation, design, installation, and implementation services to companies looking for ways to improve or implement picking strategies to maximize productivity in their warehouse operations. SSG will even provide a free consultation to determine your warehouse's exact needs before the process begins. To learn more or to speak with a material handling specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.
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