Driving Efficiency in Your Pick and Pack Processes: How Can this be Done?

January 20, 2020

For many manufacturers and distributors, the picking and packing processes can be an extremely costly activity. It is also an area that can have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction. After all, getting the pick and pack processes right means the difference between being sure that the orders your customers receive are accurate, in good condition and on time – or not. This begs the question of how manufacturers and distributors can drive efficiency in their pick and pack processes.

Minimal Handling

 Ideally, when an order is picked and packed, it should only need to be touched once throughout the process. To accomplish this, the order must be error-free and packed correctly the first time, moving directly from shelf to box to truck without having to be moved in and out of totes or repacked into smaller or larger containers. Minimizing this kind of rework helps make the picking and packing process more efficient.

Storage Optimisation

How and where you store your products in the warehouse directly affects picking efficiency, so this is an area to look at when you are trying to speed up your processes. The most common storage strategies are random storage (where items are assigned to any location that happens to be open), and volume-based storage (where items are ranked by demand and assigned a storage location accordingly. Most-used items are stored nearest pack stations to minimize worker movement).

Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle says that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes, and this is true in your warehouse as well. So, keep this principle in mind. 80% of your orders are likely to come from 20% of stock. If these items are stored and handled in the most efficient manner, it can help to maximize your overall efficiency.

Picking Strategies

Most companies begin with manual piece picking, but as they grow they find that this strategy cannot accommodate higher traffic and volume in the warehouse. Looking at zone, batch or wave picking, along with some level of automation is a logical progression to support further growth and efficiency.

Minimal Movement

Walking around a warehouse all day makes people tired, and tired people make mistakes. To maximize efficiency and order accuracy, look at ways to minimize how many trips around the warehouse your people need to make. Your storage and pick strategies will have a direct effect on this, so if you’re using manual piece picking and random storage strategy, switching to a zone-based pick system and volume or class-based storage systems can allow you to minimize trips. The pick and pack process is highly complex, and its success ultimately depends on getting a number of factors right.

For more information on the picking and packing processes, consult Challenge Packaging and Warehousing Solutions.

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Vic 3026

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