In retail or e-commerce, order picking usually represents more than 50% of your warehouse HR costs*. This the reason why working constantly on improving your box picking process is crucial. Here are 8 suggestions to get you started.
1) Put the fastest-moving items close to your shipment area
First, minimize agents’ travel distance and boost your box picking speed. For instance, think seasonality and ABC rotation by grouping together the 20% of your references covering 80% of your orders. Moreover, don’t forget to consider vertical picking.
2) Use your employees feedback to optimize your box picking process
Secondly, identify improvements and disorganizations by giving your warehouse’s team a chance to speak. Don’t be afraid to get to the root cause and use creative problem-solving for imaginative solutions. Get 5 tips to ensure picking accuracy of your order fulfilments now.
3) Use a real-time dashboard to monitor your box picking performance
Thirdly, track and communicate your efficiency KPIs (workload, safety, quality and also productivity), in real-time with your team. Analyze indicators over-time, identify patterns, and in the end create action plans to improve your box picking process continuously.
4) Print shipping labels on-the-go with wearables
Avoid fastidious labeling and lessen errors by using portable printers. In fact, the scanning system preserves orders picking quality while limiting useless movements in the warehouse.
5) Use a WMS to upgrade split your box pickinges vs. item piece picking flows
When relevant, separate your full parcels and pieces picking orders missions thanks to a Warehouse Management System. Let it guide your employees directly to the right spot (with bar-code scanning verification), inform the number of boxes to pick and then print shipping labels on-site. In consequence, an exceptional time saved, and errors avoided!
With a WMS, you can handle up to 120 parcels by the hour with a 100% rate of verified orders ready to ship.
6) Show pictures of the items on the picking device
Prevent confusion lead by the differences in colors, sizes, or capacity of your thousands of references. On account of humans responding better and faster to images, use it to reduce picking errors while improving productivity.
7) Adopt goods-to-man robots for large volumes
Don’t let your box picking process be set in stone. Always look at ways to improve it as your volume grows, and your business needs to scale. For example, for large volumes or complex activities, goods-to-man robots can handle automatic box and piece picking. Check out our article Goods-to-man a solution for large volume piece-picking ? to learn more about it !
8) Organize regular cycle counting using drones
Finally, keep an accurate inventory at all times by letting in drones in your warehouse. Integrated to your WMS, they autonomously scan and cycle count all your stock. As a bonus, they bring fun and high-tech to the warehouse.
Learn all about order preparation best practices for retail & e-commerce logistics professionals by downloading our Ebook on New Retail.
*Frazelle, E. A.: World-class Warehousing and Material Handling, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2002. & Tompkins, J. A., White, Y. A., Bozer, E. H., Tanchoco. J. M. A.: Facilities Planning, 4th ed., Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, 2010 (https://bib.irb.hr/datoteka/877213.Human_in_Manual_Order_Picking_Systems.pdf)