Warehouse picking involves workers pulling (picking) items from cartons on warehouse shelves and placing them in boxes or envelopes for shipment to customers. Picking requires a great deal of coordination, organization, and attention to detail in order to move the pickers through warehouses smoothly so they can fill the greatest number or orders in the shortest amount of time. There are several picking strategies, and the four most common include piece picking, batch picking, zone picking, and wave picking.
Warehouse managers frequently search for strategies for streamlining the picking process because it can be time-consuming and costly when it is not done as efficiently as possible to maximize productivity. They also feel pressured to optimize picking practices to meet and exceed customer expectations, as both picking speed and accuracy affect customer satisfaction. We understand the need for your organization to adopt warehouse picking best practices, so we have rounded up 50 of the best articles on the subject.
Our top article picks are written by industry experts and individuals from leading supply chain and warehouse authorities. Please note, we have listed our 50 best articles on warehouse picking best practices in alphabetical order to simplify your search for just the right information; thus, they are not ranked or rated in any way.
Benchmarking Success is a supply chain benchmarking company specializing in benchmarks reports and key performance indicators (KPIs). Their warehouse best practices article shares picking tips to become more cost effective and enhance customer service while improving overall operational performance.
Three key points from 4 Warehouse Best Practices for Stellar Performance:
- Optimize warehouse flows and use automation a much as possible to keep touches to a minimum
- Equip pickers with hands-free technology to increase productivity and save time
- Review inventory slotting quarterly to reduce travel time
Multichannel Merchant connects the eCommerce community by covering marketing, management, and operations for companies using catalogs, direct, and digital/ecommerce channels. Specifically, they focus on customer service, warehouse operations, and shipping. Wayne Teres’ Multichannel Merchant article highlights five ways your organization can increase picking productivity, based on the challenges at Acme Catalog Co.
Three key points from 5 Tips for Improving Picking Productivity:
- Establish goals and tracking systems for the number of stockouts and the number of items not in location, in addition to productivity and quality goals for new order pickers
- Create an order-completion, or fast-pick zone, stocked with your fast-moving items to reduce order picker walking time and increase productivity
- Use batch picking when possible
Dexterity Warehouse Management Systems are designed for SME businesses and include integration with Sage, SAP, Microsoft, and more. The company realizes that warehouse executives are being asked to do more with less, and one solution is to streamline order picking practices to increase warehouse efficiency.
Three key points from 5 Tips on How to Improve Order Picking:
- Improved picking accuracy and speed results in huge dividends in the warehouse operation
- Avoid putting multiple SKUs in the same picking location because mixed SKU locations reduce picking time and accuracy
- Pick horizontally as much as possible; when you need to pic vertically, put faster moving items at ground level and slower moving items on higher rack levels
A senior supply chain management consultant and author of several books on using enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for the supply chain, Martin Murray shares his tips for reducing picking time in this article for The Balance. As martin points out, improving picking practices increases productivity and overall customer satisfaction.
Three key points from 5 Warehouse Best Practices to Lower Picking Time:
- Picking best practices can be applied to most companies
- Place your most frequently picked items closest to the shopping areas to minimize picking time
- Adjust warehouse layout to minimize travel time between picking locations after you develop processes to regularly monitor picking travel times and storage locations
Supply Chain 24/7 is the online business resource for transportation, distribution, logistics, and supply chain professionals. Writing for Supply Chain 24/7, MWPVL International Inc. president and founder Marc Wulfraat explores the challenges supply chain executives face in reducing labor costs while customers place more orders with smaller quantities.
Three key points from 5 Ways to Improve Order Picking Productivity:
- Picking productivity improves with “hit” density; the higher the pick density, the higher the pick productivity
- Assign the correct storage media to items to improve warehouse efficiency: having slow moving SKUs in pallet racks is as wasteful as having fast moving SKUs in shelving bins
- Combine orders into a single travel instance to save picker traveling time
Newcastle Systems provides innovative mobile workstations and wheeled carts to optimize space and productivity to businesses. Christine Wheeler’s Newcastle Systems article begins by highlighting the reason that warehouses need to improve picking practices, based on research by professor René de Koster: “measured in time and money – order picking is without doubt the most costly activity in a typical warehouse. It is also the activity that plays the biggest role for customer satisfaction with the warehouse – and in the final analysis of the entire supply chain.”
Three key points from 7 Excellent Methods to Improve Picking and Packing Efficiencies:
- Picking may be entirely automated with warehouse robots doing the work and employees not spending time on the warehouse floor until there is a problem
- Making the order picking process more efficient improves customer satisfaction, accuracy, and the bottom line
- Design standard operating procedures to double-verify nearly every step in the pricking process and then loosen later as needed
A third party logistics company, Cerasis empowers shippers via a transportation management system and integrated managed transportation services. Management consultant and supply chain optimization thought leader and innovator, Charles Intrieri offers advice for more effective warehouse slotting in this Cerasis article.
Three key points from 8 DC and Warehouse Slotting Considerations for More Efficient Warehouse Operations:
- To improve picking processes, ensure your aisles, bays, shelves, and slots are clearly marked with large, easily identifiable location signs
- Focus warehouse slotting on improving order picking efficiency to increase throughput to your customer and exceed his expectations
- Use your times-picked ranking to determine your fast movers and then determine where to put them; consider the distance an order picker needs to travel to get to the location and how accessible the location is once a picker gets there
Longbow Advantage is a trusted implementation partner specializing in JDA and HighJump software, hosting services and supply chain analytics. Abdullah Alkeilani’s Longbow Advantage article emphasizes the need to implement a warehouse management system in order to eliminate errors that are too common with paper-based picking.
Three key points from 8 Ways to Improve Your Warehouse Picking:
- Begin by focusing on reducing picker travel time
- Strive to touch items once
- Analyze how customers place orders to slot pick faces and group items to achieve multi-line order picking with short picking paths
Peoplevox is a SaaS warehouse management system built especially for eCommerce and multi-channel retailers. Jonathan Bellwood’s Peoplevox article examines typical picking challenges and offers solutions for them.
Three key points from 10 Common Problems with Order Picking… and How to Solve Them:
- Use a warehouse management system to scan each item into a location to ensure items always are where they should be for pickers
- Use barcode scanners to eliminate pickers selecting the wrong item or the wrong quantity
- Eliminate paper-based picking with a warehouse management software and mobile app
DC Velocity provides comprehensive coverage of logistics. In her DC Velocity article, Susan K. Lacefield offers tips to improve piece picking. Piece picking is more complex and labor intensive because it involves more handling, totes or cartons, pick faces, ones in the order, and more work. As such, streamlining piece picking is essential to organizational efficiency.
Three key points from 10 Tips for Improving Piece Picking:
- Implement a robust slotting tool that considers all the factors
- Use a software program to determine what percentage of your picks are in the correct slot zone; when you drop below 80%, it’s time to reslot
- Take the physical requirements of piece picking into account when hiring new workers
Cisco-Eagle, Inc. delivers material handling and automation solutions for warehousing and manufacturing including conveyor systems, robotics, storage equipment, and AisleCop safety systems. They present a guest opinion by Charles Fallon, principal at LIDD, who has been a supply chain consultant since 1998.
Three key points from 10 Ways to Improve Order Picking Productivity:
- Maintain slotting, because studies show that warehouses have 50% of their SKUs in the wrong slot; bad slotting can account for as much as a 20% penalty on order picking productivity
- Consider picking multiple orders simultaneously to reduce the total travel required for pickers in one day
- Rely on a warehouse management system to create efficient batches with the largest possible pool of orders and allow orders to build in a queue as long as possible
Supply chain and logistics VP of sales and marketing at SI Systems, Ed Romaine points out that picking errors harm profitability and customer satisfaction in his LinkedIn article. He details the process for improving order picking processes, including beginning with your organization’s culture and determining the tools and equipment you need to perfect picking.
Three key points from 11 Steps to Perfect Accuracy for Order Picking & Packing Operations:
- Interview workers to determine which processes are broken, ineffective, or missing
- Offer all-or-nothing bonuses for achievable levels of throughput, accuracy, safety, and attendance
- Slot your inventory to increase throughput and increase picking accuracy
LEGACY Supply Chain Services is a top-ranked North American supply chain and logistics provider. Their article includes tips from their supply chain engineers on improving warehouse and distribution center efficiency to cut costs.
Three key points from 11 Warehouse and Distribution Center Best Practices for Your Supply Chain:
- Run an RF barcode and RFID system to remove human error and automate as many steps as possible
- Utilize hands-free picking processes with wrist-mounted RF units, voice pick, or pick-to-light order fulfillment systems to accelerate your picking process
- Plan picking waves in the most efficient routes using a warehouse management system
Supply Chain 24/7 shares this warehouse management article from Westfalia Technologies, an industry leader in automated warehouse solutions. The article highlights 11 best practices, including several for warehouse picking, to improve operations and efficiency.
Three key points from 11 Warehouse Operations Best Practices:
- Use standardized containers to store materials in order to simplify order picking and eliminate wasted time spent by pickers searching for the right equipment
- Use bin locations to ensure bins and pallets are placed in the assigned locations and minimize lost or misplaced inventory
- Use clear, readable labels that pickers and scanners can read easily
In his article for Cisco-Eagle, Scott Stone examines 13 actions you should consider to improve your warehouse operation. The majority of his best practices center on order picking, including organizing your warehouse into zones based on pick type to simplify order picking and reslotting.
Three key points from 13 Best Practices for Warehouse Productivity:
- Use cycle counting to improve inventory accuracy and improve picker morale
- Reslot pick positions as often as necessary
- Utilize proper light distribution to reduce picking errors
Sungistix 3PL Warehousing & Fulfillment (formerly known as SpecRight Processing), is a quality partner in co-packing, private labeling, and toll processing of food and feed ingredients and products. They share 15 best practices for order picking and packing in this article.
Three key points from 15 Best Practices to Follow about Pick and Pack:
- Design standard operating procedures to double-check in each stage to reduce picking errors and collect data on user ID, quantity, item, etc.
- Encourage accountability by posting real-time picking rates of individuals or groups of employees
- If your warehouse has a large number of SKUs, utilize voice picking to free your pickers’ hands and increase their accuracy levels
Sometimes, the best way to improve warehouse operations is to ensure you are using the best picking strategy. As Mark Del Franco points out in his Multichannel Merchant article, reducing picker travel time improves efficiency and makes the case for batch and safe picking. To determine which is right for your organization, analyze your order profile and your SKU commonality.
Three key points from Batch vs. Wave Picking: Which One is Right for Your Business?:
- Use an order management system to arrange a group of orders in the most efficient picking sequence
- In small-order environments, batch picking boosts pick rates from 60-70 lines per hour for single-order picking to 200 lines per hour or more based on order profile and the average cubic size of your orders
- Use a batch-picking strategy any time you have a high concentration of SKUs over a larger area
RFgen offers flexible, reliable mobile and wireless automated data collection solutions for JD Edwards, Oracle, SAP, Deltek Costpoint, and Microsoft Dynamics. Director of marketing for RFgen, Nancy Master explores the reasons you should consider voice picking and shares best practices for deploying this picking method in her article for the company’s Mobile Supply Chain Blog.
Three key points from The Benefits of Voice Picking and Best Practices for Deployment:
- Voice picking systems are mainstream technology because they improve safety and efficiency in addition to reducing order picking costs
- Voice picking increases picker productive because it is a hands-free technology that enables workers to multitask
- Pickers must confirm they are at the correct product location when they use voice picking, which improve accuracy to nearly 100%
EBN is the site for news, analysis, opinion, and debate about the global electronics supply chain. Puga Sankara, principal at Smart Gladiator, shares best practices for order picking in this EBN article, which reminds readers that accuracy and efficiency is key to customer satisfaction.
Three key points from Best Practices for Order Picking in Distribution:
- The picking process easily creates a bottleneck because it is the most time-consuming warehouse process
- Ensure pickers follow location sequence for the pick path to improve efficiency
- Divide pick locations into zone and assign pickers to specific zones to improve picking processes by reducing travel time and helping workers become experts within their zones
RF-SMART, a leader in mobile data collection solutions for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, shares this article on picking and packing best practices by George Gulliford. He emphasizes the need for improved warehouse operations that will meet the demands of transitioning from a single-channel warehouse and of meeting changing customer expectations.
Three key points from Best Practices: Multi-Channel Pick, Pack and Ship Strategies:
- You may need to use various types of picking methods to optimize efficiency
- Use a mobile solution to facilitate and automate picking methods
- Consider implementing packing verification to determine hidden shortages and provide more accurate shipping rates
Vice president of operations at JM Bullion, Tom Fougerousse shares his insights into business and eCommerce on his blog. In his warehouse picking article, Tom admits that the first time he set up a high-volume warehouse, he chose the wrong picking method. He shares his experiences to help others understand when to use various picking methods to optimize efficiency.
Three key points from The Best Warehouse Picking Methods and When to Use Each:
- Smaller warehouses can get by with picking by order and keeping operations simple
- Wave picking is not the most efficient way to pack, but it is adequate if you ship approximately 50-300 orders per day or ship multiple items in a single box
- Regardless of which picking method you use, drop items at one central shipping area to save pickers time printing shipping labels in warehouse orders
Koke Inc. has more than 45 years of experience as an industrial equipment and material handling equipment manufacturer focusing on warehouse, safety, and dock. Their warehouse picking best practices article covers several tips for improving picking efficiency, from limiting handling to avoiding storing multiple SKUs in the same location.
Three key points from Essential Tips for Efficient Stock Picking:
- Strive to double-verify as many steps in the picking process as possible and use pick verification flags to have pickers scan and verify LPN, quantity, item, etc.
- Experiment with various storage strategies to determine which result in the most improved picking efficiency
- Consider using a mix of picking methods to improve productivity and efficiency
GlobeCon Freight Systems is a leading provider of transportation services, transloading, retail distribution, fulfillment, and trucking, among others. In this article, the company examines various picking methods and shares the best use for each.
Three key points from Evaluating the Upsides and Downsides of Order Picking Methods in Fulfillment Warehouses:
- Piece picking becomes inefficient when each order has only a few SKUs because picker movements become inefficient
- Zone picking is ideal for completing a large quantity of orders with a relatively small number of SKUs
- Batch picking is the best option for operations with medium-to-high volume orders and a small quantity of SKUs
Supply Management is a leading procurement and supply chain magazine and website. In his Supply Management article, Patterson Pope president Danny Hammack offers quick tips for improving warehouse operations with the ultimate goal of increasing customer satisfaction via accurate shipments.
Three key points from Five Simple Ways to Improve Warehouse Efficiency:
- Maximize available space by using vertical space and utilizing the right equipment to pick materials in the same square footage rather than incurring expansion costs
- Adopt a warehouse management system or ERP system with a strong WMS module to optimize routes and methods for picking
- Use a system that provides automated pick lists that can be sent to mobile readers and devices to practically eliminate mistakes and reduce wasted time and paper
New Equipment Digest (NED) shares the latest in industrial product news and information. In his NED article on order picking options, WIPRO principal Richard Barnes explains how the right picking solution significantly impacts your logistics budget.
Three key points from Four Picking Options for Your Digital Order Profile:
- Regularly review your picking methods to improve efficiency and quickly get orders to customers
- Choosing the correct picking strategy depends on several factors such as order size, warehouse size, and business needs
- Using a WMS solution improves cluster picking effectiveness because it directs packers through picking areas and displays what to pick and which container to place items into for corresponding orders
Practical Ecommerce publishes independent articles and commentary to help businesses succeed online. Michael Manzione, COO for Rakuten Super Logistics, puts his expertise in eCommerce-focused fulfillment and shipping to work in this article, which offers tips for more efficient operations for warehouses with limited resources and automation.
Three key points from Fulfillment: How to Speed Up the Picking Process:
- Locate your products by velocity to shorten pick times
- When organizing a warehouse, consider picker walking distance and the appropriate product placement for pickers
- Reduce pick time and increase productivity by sorting and bathing orders to the most appropriate method for your warehouse
Handshake is a B2B commerce platform that helps manufacturers and distributors grow by riving in-person and online ordering. Monica Orrigo’s Handshake article centers on increasing picking efficiency and improving customer satisfaction as a result.
Three key points from How to Drive More Efficiency from Your Pick and Pack Process:
- One significant challenge in picking is streamlining the movement of order pickers ass they move through the warehouse to fulfill the largest number of orders in the shortest time possible
- The most common order picking methods include piece picking, batch picking, zone picking, and wave picking
- Use the 80/20 rule to optimize your picking process: keep in mind that 80% of your orders likely come from 20% of your stock, so be sure to store and handle these items in the most efficient manner possible
RGIS provides solutions for stocktaking, mapping, retail merchandising, seasonal resourcing, and more. This short RGIS article offers practical tips for improving the accuracy of your warehouse picking.
Three key points from How to Improve Order Picking Accuracy:
- Fully document picking and packing processes without errors or inconsistencies so staff can follow them and adhere to them
- Have a clear picking location for each SKU so pickers do not have to waste time searching through different SKUs
- Have a complete stock control system in place to ensure 100% product availability so pickers do not waste time looking for items that are out of stock
SilverLining Storage, a leading storage rack manufacturer in India, offers intelligent racking solutions so you can optimize your warehouse space. This SilverLining Storage article highlights tips for improving order picking efficiency from a holistic perspective.
Three key points from How to Improve Order Picking Efficiency:
- Manual order picking is impacted by warehouse storage layout, existing picking arrangements, and available order picking machinery
- Reduce picker travel time by enabling pickers to pick from both sides of the aisle and pick multiple orders in a single trip via batch or cluster picking, stocking slow-moving times on inside aisles, and introducing conveyance systems
- Reduce changeover time by reducing a picker’s time spent moving from one assignment to another during a shift
Dear Inventory offers advanced inventory management software for managing your products, customers, suppliers, contacts, purchases, and sales in one user-friendly system. This Dear Inventory article reminds warehouse executives that they need to get back to the basics for improving picking processes.
Three key points from How to Optimize the Pick and Pack Process with These 5 Tips:
- Design and organize your warehouse with efficiency in mind by placing top-selling items closest to the packing stations, storing items that are packed together near one another, and arranging remaining inventory from top-selling to least-selling
- Keep the floors clean and free of clutter to avoid picking accidents
- Ensure that items are put in the same place every time they are received to ensure easy picking
Smart Gladiator provides solutions for taking your supply chain, distribution center, and warehouse to the next level with advanced mobile technology. This Smart Gladiator article begins by highlighting why picking is one of the most important functions in the warehouse and then offers suggestions for implementing best practices to improve picking efficiency.
Three key points from Implement Best Practices Today to Improve Order Picking Efficiency in Your Multi Channel Distribution Centers or Warehouses:
- Pickers should travel in a location sequence so they don’t have to go to the same location twice and follow a streamlined path the reduces confusion
- Assigning pickers to specific zones results in better picking processes with reduced travel time
- Track SKU velocity to ensure correct slotting
One of the largest privately owned end-to-end business technology companies, MicroChannel provides solutions for CRM and marketing technology, ERP, WMS, business intelligence, and retail in addition to managed IT services. In this article, MicroChannel explores ways to improve picking accuracy to keep customers happy and avoid expensive reverse logistics projects.
Three key points from Improving Picking and Packing Accuracy: Five Tips:
- Use images and other visual clues to reduce mental effort for pickers and hep them locate correct items on shelves
- Use colors and shapes for shelf labeling rather than letters and numbers to reduce picker fatigue
- Show the picker one item at a time and sequence items to minimize walking distance
National Product Fulfilment picks, packs, and ships more than two million products each year for online retailers in Australia and around the world. Their order picking article offers tips for improving picking efficiency and considers tips for packing processes as well.
Three key points from Improving Picking and Packing Efficiency:
- Create a culture that supports pickers who double-check at every stop of the process to reduce errors
- Improve your storage strategies to reduce the time required for picking items and to improve workplace safety
- Segment your warehouse into clearly defined areas to reduce costly picking errors and implement a well-organized aisle system to make it easier for workers to move throughout the warehouse
Inbound Logistics is an educational supply chain resource for businesses looking to better match demand to supply and transform operations to support that shift. Deborah Catalano Ruriani’s Inbound Logistics article offers ten tips for improving picking practices, such as analyzing your current picking method and considering an automated solution.
Three key points from Improving Picking Practices:
- Profile your orders to reslot your warehouse to accommodate your business model and ensure your top SKUs are in the correct storage media and physical location to reduce unnecessary travel for pickers
- Use software to sequence your orders by pick path and batch together single lines, same-zone orders, and difficult picks
- Improve storage density and picker productivity by placing slow-moving, low-cube items in bin shelving and fast-moving items in carton/pallet flow or another appropriate storage option
A resource for warehouse managers and distribution professionals, WarehouseIQ.com gives industry experts the opportunity to share their insights on warehousing, distribution, logistics and supply chain in articles, how-tos, and opinion pieces. This WarehouseIQ article explains that increasing order picking speeds is one way to meet customer demands and offers tips for achieving faster speeds.
Three key points from Increase Warehouse Order Picking Speeds:
- Consider discrete picking or batch picking to optimize order picking for faster shipping and accuracy
- Reduce travel time for pickers because 60% – 70% of the costs associated with picking is due to travel time and the distance between picks
- Use a warehouse management system to have access to information that will help you direct pickers to pick multiple orders at one time, reduce travel distance, and increase overall picking productivity
SalesWarp’s software seamlessly integrates all of a retailer’s channels and systems to provide centralized control, automation, and intelligence across retail operations. In this warehouse management-focused article, the company encourages readers to implement RFID technology to optimize picking processes.
Three key points from Optimize Your Picking Process Using RFID Technology:
- Order picking must be done effectively and accurately because it creates a ripple effect across the entire retail process
- A leading strategy to improve the warehouse picking process is implementing RFID tags that enable merchants to track items throughout the picking process, check them in and out automatically, boost visibility across the warehouse, and combine multiple orders effectively
- Leverage hand-held RFID terminals to improve the picking process by eliminating multiple steps from it
UNEX, a carton flow solution provider for 50 years, creators Span-Track and Flow Cell and are “experts in the science of Pickology.” This UNEX article points out that supply chain executives must improve order fulfillment by refining picking processes to meet the demands of smaller, more frequent orders and improving customer service to gain a competitive advantage.
Three key points from Order Picking: Best Practices :
- Designate a discrete pick location for each SKU to eliminate the need for pickers to sort through multiple SKUs in a pick location to find the right one
- Put more items at ground level to reduce costs and assign slow-moving items to vertical locations to keep the fastest items on the floor
- Set up hot zones in the warehouse where you store SKUs with the most picking activity to increase pick density
Dealing in optimizing storage space, Adaptalift Hyster is the official dealer for Hyster forklifts in Australia. This Adaptalift Hyster article offers practical tips for improving order picking processes because the company recognizes that order picking is the most labor-intensive activity within the warehouse.
Three key points from Order Picking in the Warehouse:
- Use ABC item analysis to ensure short pick lines for A items (those most commonly ordered), and then place slower moving B items in the next closest area and C items in the farthest area
- Do not put your pickers in a position where they face an empty pick slot waiting for replenishment; design your replenishment system so that it keeps a specified minimum level of inventory in each location and automatically alerts workers to replenish items that have fallen below the minimum level
- Use barcodes to verify all picks and set up your order picking system so that it verifies each step of the picking process twice
This WarehouseIQ article centers on picking strategies, tips, and tactics to ensure you use best practices in your warehouse. The goal is to pick faster by maximizing efficiency in pick lines, systems, and processes.
Three key points from Order Picking Strategies for a Warehouse:
- Design your warehouse picking strategy so that each step of the process is double-checked to eliminate errors; strive to catch errors while the picker is in place at the pick slot
- Minimize picker walking distance by enabling them to pick from both sides of the aisle and use small pick facings
- Touch each picked item once by designing your picking process to ensure accuracy and quality control
InventoryOps.com provides information on inventory management and warehouse operations. The site is owned and operated by Dave Piasecki, an inventory operations consultant. In this article, Dave explores various picking methods and equipment; he realizes that it is difficult to choose the best methods for your operation and encourages you to use a combination of picking methods to handle your diverse product and order characteristics.
Three key points from Order Picking: Methods and Equipment for Piece Pick, Case Pick, and Pallet Pick Operations:
- Your objectives win designing an order picking operations should be increased productivity, reduced cycle time, and increased accuracy
- Measure your order picking productivity using your pick rate
- While full-pallet picking methods are simpler than those for piece pick or case pick, the options for full-pallet picking storage equipment, storage configurations, and types of lift trucks become more numerous
One of the UK’s leading third party logistics providers, Bray Solutions handles fulfillment, pick and pack, logistics, and warehouse storage options. This Bray Solutions article asserts that picking and packing are fundamental parts of the supply chain that can make or break a business because they must be done accurately and efficiently to meet customers’ expectations.
Three key points from Picking and Packing… What Is It?:
- Place frequently purchased items nearest the packing station to save pickers time
- Place products that repeatedly are ordered in pairs together to simplify the picking process
- Ensure your staff are trained to meet the demands of picking and that they understand the affects of mistakes on your warehouse
In this Cisco-Eagle article, Scott Stone encourages you to determine how your order picking productivity matches up against industry averages. He also emphasizes the need to know metrics for picking rates.
Three key points from Quick Guide to Order Picking Methods & Productivity:
- Labor productivity is the key to warehouse picking operations because it is the largest cost factor
- Use your own metrics in addition to timely feedback from employees to improve your picking processes
- Keep in mind that other factors, such as warehouse layout, individual employee productivity, and process improvements significantly impact picking metrics
iCepts Technology Group offers solutions for distributors, manufacturers, warehouse management, and infrastructure. In this article, the iCepts team considers warehouse picking strategies as best practices in supply chain management and reminds readers that labor cost savings can be realized via proper picking strategies.
Three key points from Supply Chain Management Best Practices: Warehouse Picking Strategies:
- You must implement an accurate inventory picking procedure and utilize warehouse technology to reduce labor costs, improve customer service, and maximize warehouse space
- The picking functionality in warehouse management systems is designed to move paper picking processes to wireless devices
- Utilize the best picking method for your organization’s objectives
This MicroChannel article examines picking and packing best practices. As the article points out, order fulfillment is becoming more difficult because there are far more orders of smaller size today, and there is a far greater number of SKU types.
Three key points from Three Picking and Packing Best Practices for Improving Order Fulfillment:
- Warehouse executives must work to address the inefficient customer order trend of placing more orders with fewer items
- The picking process naturally has become more labor intensive and complex because of the changing customer order pattern
- Use technology, like pick-to-light technology or bar codes, that is best suited to your order fulfillment needs
Modern Fork Lift Service has been providing parts, sales, service, fork lift rental, and leasing for all types of fork lifts to clients throughout Toronto and the surrounding areas for more than 40 years. In this article, the company emphasizes the role efficient picking plays in productive supply chains and offers suggestions for improving your picking processing and reducing costs.
Three key points from Tips on How to Improve Warehouse Order Picking and to Reduce Your Costs:
- Choose the right material handling solution, including maintenance requirements, to reduce picking costs
- Use carton flow racks to reduce the distance pickers need to walk
- Provide workers with the resources they need to deliver the best picking performance, including the appropriate equipment, warehouse management system, and mobile scanning devices
Speed Commerce provides fully managed eCommerce solutions, custom fulfillment services, and brand-focused customer care. Their article offers suggestions for meeting customer demands and making picking processes faster and more efficient. They also emphasize the need to increase visibility into your supply chain by implementing technology with real-time updates and communicating with suppliers and manufacturers regularly.
Three key points from Top Tips for Better Picking and Packing:
- Fast-moving items need to be placed near the packing station to save pickers time
- Keep products that are sold separately but purchased together as close to each other as possible to facilitate efficient picking
- Streamline picking with neat, well-organized shelving
Southwest Solutions Group works with businesses and government institutions to provide innovative efficiency solutions that reduce operating costs while maximizing floor space and worker productivity. Their article offers advice to help you improve your existing picking strategy or implement one that maximizes warehouse productivity without overhauling your SKUs.
Three key points from Types of Picking Strategies to Maximize Productivity in Warehouse Operations:
- Modify or combine a variety of picking strategies to fit your warehouse operations
- Automated picking enables workers to remain in one location while carousels or lift modules deliver SKUs to them so they can pick the quantity to fill the orders in a batch and save time visiting each SKU location
- Utilize order management software to manage order flow from one zone to the next using the pick and pass strategy
SkuVault is a warehouse management technology platform that empowers B2C and B2B companies to optimize operations at a fraction of the cost. Their article centers on keeping warehouse workers on task and accountable to satisfy customers.
Three key points from User Accountability: Keeping Your Warehouse Workers on Task:
- Simplify picking by implementing a quality inventory management system that makes it easy for pickers to scan a product and then a location to eliminate mistakes and streamline the picking process
- Implement or improve profit-sharing programs to help workers do quality work and remain accountable
- Organize employees in stages and have pickers work certain warehouse sections after giving them appropriate training and education to develop their skills and competence to improve efficiency
FastFetch USA provides a smart technology solution for transforming warehouse operations into a high throughput and highly accurate order picking operations. In this article on their blog, FastFetch shares the results of a study showing that warehouses need to improve productivity and reduce operating costs to remain profitable and competitive. They share tips to help executives and managers optimize warehouse picking to achieve those goals.
Three key points from Warehouse Basics: Picking Fundamentals:
- While increasing order picking rates, don’t forget to focus on improving customer satisfaction
- You must adapt your warehouse layout, pick slots, and pick bays to allow for the increased number of SKUs in your inventory
- Begin to increase order picking productivity by implementing a warehouse management system that guides you to the best picking method for organization’s needs and goals
As the number one provider of Sage 300, SageCRM, Sage HRMS, and Sage Intacct in Canada, BAASS Business Solutions implements and supports end-to-end solutions in accounting, ERP, CRM, and business intelligence. BAASS’ Dan Sulman is an award-winning consultant with expertise in software implementation covering Sage 300 ERP (Accpac) and Sage CRM across several industries. His article reminds readers that improving picking by reducing the number of mistakes pickers make significantly improves the bottom line.
Three key points from Warehouse Management Tips: Picking and Packing:
- Monitor picking and packing to advance your distribution center and warehouse management system
- Review data on returned orders; if there is a problem with your picking and packing system, there will be a high number of items returned for incorrect products or reports of incomplete orders
- Review and update warehouse processes for picking and packing and build a written process to reflect the steps staff currently take or the ideal steps you want them to take
Angela Stringfellow is a writer with 10+ years of experience. She focuses on news, trends, and insights in marketing, business, and technology.