Warehouse Order Picking: The Guide to Efficiency

Dive in to ensure happy customers and secure repeat business.

September 5, 2023

Warehouse Order Picking manager

Hey there! With online shopping booming, making sure you’re nailing the warehouse order picking game has never been more vital. Trust me, getting this right will be the difference between happy customers and… well, the ones that might not return. So, let’s break it down together.

Warehouse work order picking

What is Warehouse Order Picking?

Think of order picking as the heart of your business. It’s all about grabbing the right items, boxing them up, and getting them ready to ship out. Mess it up, and your customers won’t be chuffed. Nail it, and you’ll have punters singing your praises. The trick? Making sure it’s swift, accurate, and slick.

Different Ways to Pick

  1. Zone Picking: It’s like footie positions. You’ve got your striker, midfielder, and defender – each focusing on their zone. By splitting the warehouse into sections, everyone knows their bit and works more efficiently. It’s a game-changer, increasing productivity by up to 30%. Pros: More productivity, less legwork, fewer mistakes, and it’s adaptable. Cons: A tad complicated, more training needed, and might cost a few more quid.
  2. Batch Picking: Fancy being a multi-tasker? This is where pickers grab items for several orders all at once. It’s like doing a big shop for the week rather than popping to the shops daily. Pros: Faster picking, less wandering about, fewer mistakes. Cons: It’s a bit more complicated, needs more training, and possibly costs more.
  3. Wave Picking: Orders get grouped into “waves” and are picked in chunks. It’s like rounds at the pub – everyone gets served, but in an order that makes sense. Pros: Quicker, less footwork, fewer mix-ups. Cons: Needs a bit more planning, training, and perhaps more cash to set up.
  4. Discrete Order Picking: This is old school – picking one order at a time. Think of it as making a cuppa for one mate at a time rather than a round for everyone. Pros: Straightforward, perfect for low volumes, flexible. Cons: Not the best for big numbers, more walking about, can be trickier to keep tabs on things.

Order Picking Technologies

Some nifty gadgets can make your warehouse run like a well-oiled machine:

  • Barcode Scanning: Like scanning your groceries for the warehouse. Keeps errors at bay and helps track inventory in real time.
  • Pick-to-Light Systems: Lights show the way, a bit like guiding you to the cold beers in a fridge. Helps pickers spot items quickly.
  • Voice Picking: Having a sat-nav for the warehouse is like guiding you through headphones.
  • Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs): These autonomous vehicles are like your warehouse’s personal taxis, zipping around without a driver.

Setting Up Your Warehouse Like a Pro

  • Product Segmentation: It’s like organising your record collection – keep similar tunes (or products) together.
  • ABC Analysis: Put the top hits (most popular items) front and centre, making them easy to grab.
  • Slotting and Ergonomics: Make sure everything’s within arm’s reach without doing the limbo.
  • Signage: Like road signs, but for your aisles – clear, bold, and to the point.

Training Your Team

Get your team up to speed. Offer proper training, check in on how they’re doing, give a pat on the back for a job well done, and keep things versatile with cross-training.

Keeping Score on Order Picking

Track how you’re doing with metrics. Check out things like how many orders are picked per hour, the accuracy rate, and more.

Challenges to Watch Out For

  • Seasonal Rush: Think of the Christmas pub rush – you’ll need extra hands on deck and top-notch planning.
  • Inventory Ups and Downs: Ensure you have the stock and know where it is.
  • Crowded House: Keep things tidy. A cluttered warehouse slows everyone down.

Wrapping Up

To win in the warehouse wars, get your order picking spot-on. With the right strategies and tech, especially when you’ve got Clarus WMS by your side, your warehouse can operate smoother than a pint of stout going down on a Friday night. The future? It’s looking brighter than a summer’s day on Brighton Beach. And while sunshine in the UK might be a tad unpredictable, with Clarus WMS, your warehouse efficiency doesn’t have to be.

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