5 Tips for Improving the Order Picking Efficiency

Learn how to improve the order picking process for your company's warehouse.

Improve Order Picking

Order picking is a warehouse process. It consists of taking products and collecting them in a specified amount to satisfy a customer order. It's considered to be the most controlled warehouse activity because it plays a crucial role in the supply chain's productivity.

Order picking is usually measured in money and time. It's a simple process that requires minimum training for both supervisors and employees.

Types of order picking include:

  • picker to part method or piece picking
  • zone picking method
  • wave picking method
  • sorting systems method
  • pick to box method.

To improve the efficiency in order picking process also means to improve accuracy, keep clients happy, and even improve the bottom line. You can do it in a number of ways; we listed five of them below:

1. Touch Items Once

You should aim at preventing the occurrence of errors in the picking process. This eliminates the need of shipping checking or repacking. Picked inventory should be touched once by pickers who put them on trucks.

Also, you should pick into shipping cartons rather than a tote.

2. Depend on System Verifications

You should design your standard operating procedures in such a way that they verify each step in the picking process twice.

3. Think of Different Storage Strategies

Varying storage strategies can improve order picking efficiency. For instance, slotting improves storage intensity, reduces product damages or accidents, improves retrieval times and reduces congestion. Storage strategies should regularly be reviewed to the practices you have with seasonal demand.

4. Reduce Travel Time

If you reduce travel time, you're bound to improve order picking efficiency. This is the reason why companies invest in conveyor belts. Similarly, it is why cluster and batch order picking strategies are utilized in warehouses; travel time is nearly half of the order picking time. Combining orders to just a single travel instance reduces travel time a great deal.

5. Add Work Cells

This idea works well in split case operations, especially in direct-to-consumer fulfillment. It makes sense to have many work cells of the same SKU groupings so that you can achieve higher throughput rates during the shift. These eliminate picker travels on certain orders and congestion from the main line.

Conclusion

The above five tips can contribute a great deal to improving order picking efficiency, and all warehouses should adopt them. In the end, it even helps to cut unnecessary costs.