Optimizing the Pick and Pack Process

Warehouse Fulfillment

Pick and Pack Best Practices

The most important goal of a warehouse operation is to fulfill customer orders efficiently in a timely and cost effective manner. Timely could mean same hour, day, or week. Cost effective is relative to what the customer and market dictate – fast turnaround will typically be more costly than preparing for a weekly delivery.

To help improve this process, consider how people and product flow and what are the factors that resist smooth flow.  Think about fingerprints and footprints, moves and touches – how can you reduce the number of times a product is touched and how far it is moved during pick and pack.

The key metrics related to the picking and packing process are:

On Time Ready to Ship – Having orders ready for pickup by a carrier at the appointed time is important, but having those orders take up staging space by prepping them hours or  days ahead is not a good thing.

Lines Picked and Shipped per Hour – Focus on lines picked.  Consider the flow, touches and distance moved.  Measure and compare productivity by associate or team.

Internal Order Cycle Time – Look specifically at the time between pick release and packing/Load Consolidation.  Do you have opportunities to compress this time?

Picking Accuracy – If not 100% do a root cause analysis to determine cause and use the learnings to improve by training people and fixing processes.

Fill Rate – A great measure of supply chain success, but not for measuring outbound operations.  Products cannot be filled if they are not available.  This is a planning problem, not a picking problem.

A few ways to improve the picking and packing process:

  1. Organize the storage areas for easy access and pick flow.
  2. Identify the storage locations using a standard scheme –Bldg/Zone, Aisle, Column, Shelf, Position using barcoded labels.
  3. Add a dedicated picking area or module for high velocity fast movers and promos.
  4. Identify the product using common industry standard labels and barcodes.
  5. Have the right equipment for the task – varies by situation.
  6. Locate products in the right place. Slot those most often picked near packing/shipping and slow movers further away.

Source: http://www.werc.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3PL Provider – Warehousing, Transportation, Logistics, Plastics Processing, and Consulting