Here are four tactics warehouses can use to speed up the order picking process

Order picking is one of the most complex processes in distribution centers. Managers should explore solutions to minimize errors and improve productivity.

The amount of time required to get an order together directly impacts final delivery times to customers. This is an important statistic and directly correlates to customer satisfaction with a company or product. More than 50% of the total order picking time is spent traveling through the warehouse searching for and pulling the proper items in question. That’s a huge chunk of time allocated to just searching. Consolidating your time to optimize for greater returns has the added benefit of…

  • Exceeding customer expectations
  • Keeping employees motivated and incentivized
  • Reducing mistakes which proves more cost-effective for the business
  • Driving down costs, thus supporting business growth

Here are four tactics warehouses can use to speed up the order picking process:

  1. Reduce Manual Data Entry – Manual processes open the door to mistakes. From picking with paper, to writing routes and stops with markers on boxes, to editing invoices with catch weights, there are many sources for errors to occur. Reducing manual processes and implementing technology with barcode scanning and mobile printers will remove many sources of error. ProCat Distribution Technologies provides modular barcode scanning software solutions to improve accuracy and productivity in the warehouse.
  2. Order Item Validation – During the pick process, validate the picked item by barcode scanning to greatly reduce errors. Scanning product UPC codes provides up to 99.99% order accuracy and gives management confidence in the picking process. Staffing levels can also be adjusted to remove order checkers because items are verified with barcode scanning at time of pick, saving both costs and time.
  3. Batch Picking – This picking method collects data for multiple orders at the same time instead of the time-consuming single-order picking approach. Choosing to implement this method significantly reduces travel time as the picker can pick multiple orders in one pass of the pick line. Batch picking can reduce worker travel time by up to 50%.
  4. Data Analytics – Reporting can provide managers with real–time insights into their warehouse operation. Understanding the pick shift status and being able to reallocate pickers into the correct pick areas will provide a more effective balance to finish a night of picking at the same time in all areas. Reporting can also provide data about your pickers including pick rates vs target. Employees can also track their own progress and know how they are performing for the night. The data gives pickers and managers goals to benchmark against.

If you find your warehouse has all too often found itself delayed with shipping and packaging errors and you’re tired of settling for manual entry, contact ProCat today to learn how our vast knowledge of complex distribution industries allows us to strategically help you leverage the tools you need to aim higher with your business.