2 Oct 2020 Increase warehouse picking productivity
Manpower productivity should be the top priority to reduce warehouse spending. Here are the top 10 items you should be considering increasing productivity.
1- Analyze your order profile: to fully understand the number of lines, number of units and most popular items of your warehouse. This order profile analysis should be the foundation of all improvement initiatives in your warehouse.
2- Divide your warehouse into a picking area bringing together the same product picking and manipulation characteristics (small products, oversized products, hazardous products, long or heavy products and others);
3- Ensure that customers order quantities corresponding to the packaging format (ex: package of 6 or 12 units) to minimize handling and counting by breaking up production or purchasing packages. If necessary, review the packaging format to ensure that it matches the order profile. You will also need to share your packaging formats with your customers. You may also set up financial incentives (discount if customers order in standard format);
4- Minimize travel times: by increasing the picking density and minimizing the distances between the picks. The order profile will indicate the groups of items that are pick together by zone and characteristics;
5- Review the positioning of products to ensure that high velocity products are easily accessible and close to the receiving and shipping dock (Review the slotting of products);
6- Review the picking equipment to increase speed (ex: manual pallet truck versus electric pallet truck). It will also be necessary to ensure optimum working ergonomics according to picking height and product characteristics;
7- Increase the order picking load (when possible) to minimize returns to drop-off dock by using equipment with greater loads without affecting ergonomics (ex: double versus single pallet truck, preparation cart with greater load capacity);
8- Group orders with the same physical characteristics to create a batch of orders and select them in the same batch picking process. We can group 6, 12 or even 24 orders together according to their volume and weight;
9- Perform picking with pre-print shipping labels (one or two labels per pallet for preparation in full case, grocery store type) or use of a pre-packing concept with shipping label for smaller products (picking in a customer shipping box with the optimize size with shipping label);
10- Minimize the order administrative preparation stages (minimizing paper, information search, replenishment management, IT consultation, order priority, etc) and at the end of picking, (consolidation of orders, document management, shipping label printing, pallet displacement for dock organization, etc) and dead times between productive times of order selection;
As we can add much more points to that list, some other peripheral elements: The use of a good WMS and TMS solution. The implementation of work standards. Use of product dimensions to optimize locations and the pre-packing algorithm. Sharing product information with suppliers and user customers. Elimination of the points to improve order fluidity. The use of bar codes and online information using WMS. The use of voice recognition when justified.