Order picking accounts for much of the day-to-day operations in any warehouse. For some businesses, it can account for up to 60-percent of operating costs. In order to streamline the costs of picking, it’s important to create an effective method. By always picking the correct products for your customers in an efficient manner, you will be able to lower operating costs and improve productivity. Here’s how:
- The smallest UOM goes firstTo improve warehouse picking, pick your smallest unit of measure (UOM) first. Easy-to-pick bulk orders can wait. Start small and work your way up to the bigger picks. This way your workers won’t exhaust themselves or waste time.
- Don’t pass and pickPassing items from picker to picker is a waste of time. Using a conveyor line to move orders from person to person slows down order completion rates. Because each person in line depends on the person before them to pass the item along, the speed is reduced to that of the slowest picker.
- Group your picksReduce travel time for your pickers by grouping orders into “families.” When you create a group of picks, your pickers spend less time trekking across the warehouse to different locations. Easily group your pick by sections, starting farther away and working back to the origin point.
- Watch for product availabilityDiminished stock makes picking take longer. Watch your inventory levels and keep your warehouse stocked to ensure that your pickers aren’t wasting time looking for products that aren’t there.
- Update your systemYour standard operating procedure (SOP) for picking should include a digitized system. The only manual part of the picking process should be the physical work done by the pickers themselves. Invest in a computerized system to eliminate human error and make for faster item scanning, tracking and cataloguing.
- Be proactive with your pickersTo improve warehouse picking, get to know your workers. This doesn’t mean stopping to chat with each one about their kids but you should see firsthand how each one handles their task and offer encouragement when needed. If someone is slowing down the picking process, provide additional training or, worst-case-scenario, let them go. The more proactive you are in the warehouse, the more your pickers will see how committed your are to their success.
These simple ways will help improve warehouse picking—if you can lower operating costs while you’re at it, all the better!