Ways to Pick and Pack More Efficiently
Picking and packing are the bread-and-butter of every warehouse operation, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy process to optimize. There are many obstacles and inefficiencies that can make order picking a strain on your budget, from missing data, to the wrong warehouse layout, to workers calling out sick as demand spikes.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to pick and pack more efficiently that you can incorporate into your operational strategy in a matter of days. Optimal picking and packing strategies are just some of the skills that a HapiWorker brings to the table.
Pick the Right Picking Process
A lot of warehouses – especially those with smaller and relatively unvaried inventories – pick one complete order at a time before moving on to the next one in the queue. For larger businesses, this approach to order picking and packing can cause significant slowdowns even on a good day and bring warehouse operations to a screeching halt when faced with large or complicated orders.
When looking for ways to pick and pack more efficiently, a good place to start is considering new and innovative approaches to picking orders. For example, instead of picking one order at a time, it might be more efficient to pick one batch of stock keeping units (SKUs) at a time. This can be helpful if certain items are ordered often.
Likewise, some larger warehouses pick orders in waves, meaning they categorize orders based on similar characteristics like shipping date or physical proximity of SKUs. It may even be beneficial to set up zones for different types of SKUs so workers are only responsible for the items in their designated areas.
Structure the Warehouse for Success
Another crucial component of efficiently picking and packing orders is how the warehouse itself is laid out. If certain SKUs are more popular than others, for instance, it makes sense to store those items closer to the area used to pack orders.
Additionally, if certain items are often ordered together, they should be stored close to each other in the warehouse, and inventory that does not sell should be cycled out as much as possible. In order to stay ahead of these trends, it is important to maintain accurate inventory and cycle counts with an organized and functional warehouse management system.
Minimizing Mistakes and Delays in Shipments
Finally, it is just as critical to ensure picking and packing is done correctly as it is to make sure it is done efficiently. Every order that is picked and packed in a warehouse should be double-checked before it is sent out for shipping. This not only ensures customer satisfaction, but also keeps production running smoothly.
Speed is key when it comes to maximizing profits, but it can also result in significant delays and expenses due to order replacements, re-shipping, and restocking incorrectly picked items. Balance is also crucial when it comes to choosing how to pick and pack more efficiently, as a well-functioning warehouse is one that picks orders both quickly and accurately.