Factors that Affect the Efficiency of Pick and Pack Processes

March 23, 2020

The pick and pack processes can be extremely expensive for both manufacturers and distributors. If done right, these will be the processes that will contribute greatly to customer satisfaction. After all, receiving the exact thing ordered in the most pristine condition, earns more than merely a thumbs up.

Pick and Pack Process Basics

Companies differ in their approaches to the pick and pack processes. Similarly, they also face challenges that are specific to their function. For instance, in the picking process, the greatest struggle for them is streamlining the movement of order pickers as they move through the warehouse to fulfill the largest number of orders in the shortest period of time. The picking processes include piece picking, batch picking, zone picking, and wave picking.

The challenge in the packing process is to use the right size and least number of boxes to complete each order in such a way that shipping costs are minimized, and to use the right kind of packing materials to ensure that orders arrive in good condition. An order management system can be used to meet these challenges: the order management system maintains information regarding each item’s size and weight, and the best type of packaging material is assigned to each item. When orders are filled, the order management system analyzes the order and automatically selects the proper packaging that will keep down freight cost, keep damage to a minimum, and take the least amount of time to complete the order.

Below are the factors that affect the efficiency of pick and pack processes.

Physical Contact

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 Solutions

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). Class-based storage is a combination of the two. Items are classified into areas based on demand, but then assigned to any open space within that area. If you are using a random storage strategy, reorganizing your warehouse based on a volume or class-based system could help ease traffic within the warehouse and speed up your picking process.

Pareto Principle

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

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

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