In part one I tried to convey one of the many issues that can cause picking problems and errors inside the four walls of the warehouse. No matter if you are using paper or an electronic warehouse management solution a process for picking orders needs to be thought through and carefully followed.

Implementing an effective picking/packing strategy and deploying a WMS can dramatically increase the number of lines picked accurately per day.  A unit pick warehouse can see picking productivity improvements by as much as 700%.

Below is an excerpt from a white paper called “How To Stop Your Warehouse From Stealing Your Profits”

Reduce picker travel ‐ A significant amount of a picker’s day is spent traveling to and from pick locations to gather products on each order. Because per‐based processes are limited in how workloads can be distributed to the picking team, WMS implementation provides a valuable opportunity to reduce the amount of travel required per order line picked.

Improve workload management ‐ Optimally, workloads should be gathered by pickers, who start the pick path with an empty cart, pallet or forklift, and return full. The most successful workload is one that travels the shortest distance to fill the order. In most paper‐based warehouses, pickers gather limited quantities, one order at a time. Picking multiple orders at a time and re‐balancing the existing warehouse into ABC ranked zones should help the average pick and pack warehouse fill orders while reducing the mileage per workload.

Improved picking speed ‐ Because every warehouse is different, each distribution center needs to find suitable picking/packing strategies. Batch, wave, simultaneous/sequential zone, pick and pass, and product picking are examples of different types of picking styles that can be employed by a WMS to increase workload effectiveness. In any given environment, it may be necessary to implement a variety of picking methods to correspond to different order compositions, product sizes and warehouse layouts.

Eliminate the order checking function ‐ Most warehouses that use warehouse management software to re‐engineer the picking process can eliminate the checking function altogether. The result is a significant labor cost savings and faster order fulfillment. Many warehouses experience enormous capacity increases with their current staff.

To read the entire white paper click here