Time is a key resource.
This is a well-known maxim throughout manufacturing and distribution centers. And industry leaders are aware of how many variables can quickly and profoundly impact exactly how time is filled in a warehouse or order fulfilment facility.
Order picking is a key piece within this puzzle and one of the most influential supply chain components – it can cost up to 55 % of warehouse operating expenses. Although order picking is executed within many companies, the way it’s done varies widely. The type of products being picked, the size and speed of orders, and equipment layout are just some of the factors that come into play when considering how to maximize the work flow.
What is the best way to optimize your order picking?
Some commonly used methods of order picking are:
- Piece Picking – an individual picks each item of an order from various sites
- Wave Picking – pickers move to different sites to fill several orders at once
- Zone Picking – individuals are assigned to certain areas and fill specific parts of each order
- Sorting Systems – pickers stay put and automated systems and conveyor bring the products to the workers
To create a truly efficient order picking system, consider both the big and small picture. The former is the layout and flow of the warehouse, the latter is products offered along with the types of orders, including number of SKUs, within that structure.
Have an AEC optimization specialist perform a data analysis of product orders – volume and timing – as well as other factors like how far employees are walking between orders. This is the first step toward effective optimization.
Additional picking tips we consider may include:
- Have pickers utilize hands-free technology for greater efficiency
- Schedule regular inventory checks, quarterly if possible
- Create a fast-pick zone with fast-moving items
- Avoid putting multiple SKUs in the same location as this can decrease order accuracy
Factor in the safety of your processes and equipment. Have a safety expert from AEC do a walk-through safety inspection of your facility to ensure that proper safety procedures and equipment are in place to protect your pickers. It’s recommended to have a safety inspection at least once or twice per year to satisfy OSHA requirements.
Time On Your Side
Fill your orders with speed, pick with precision, and put time back on your side.
At AEC, we optimize order picking in our sleep! Everything you need for the entire project is taken care of through our turnkey services – project analysis and management, design, engineering, controls, installation, down to final walk-through and follow-up. We will improve your process and get you up to speed – we’ve got the product line, technology, and extensive knowledge you need.
Contact us today for free consultation – 704-527-3141. We look forward to guiding you toward the right solution.