Choose the right picking strategy for your warehouse operations​.

Picking Strategy for WMS

Picking constitutes a substantial portion of warehouse operations costs. As you can directly associate it with customer satisfaction as compared to other warehousing activities. In typical warehousing operations, pickers spend 60% of their time walking between locations. Thus, adopting the right picking strategy is key to driving down picking costs by increasing picker productivity and accuracy.

In all areas of operations management, there is often a trade-off between competing objectives – productivity, accuracy, and time required for an activity.

The methods for order picking vary. Also, the level of difficulty in choosing the best method for your operation will depend on the type of operation you have. There are several factors that will affect your decision on a method for order picking. Such as the characteristics of the product being handled, the total number of orders, picks per order, picks per SKU, the total number of SKUs. Many times we need a combination of picking methods to handle diverse product and order characteristics.

Key objectives in designing an order picking operation include – increases in productivity, reduction of cycle time, and increases inaccuracy. Often these objectives may conflict with one another. Such as a method that focuses on productivity may not provide a short enough cycle time. Or maybe a method that focuses on accuracy may sacrifice productivity.

Productivity

The pick rate measures productivity in order picking. Piece pick operations usually measure the pick rate in line items picked per hour.

Cycle Time

Cycle time is the amount of time it takes to get an order from order entry to the shipping dock.

Accuracy

Regardless of the type of operation you are running, accuracy will be a key aim. Virtually every decision you make in setting up a warehouse will have some impact on accuracy. For example, from the product numbering scheme to the design of product labels.

Warehouse managers know that one size fits all approach would not qualify to attain these objectives. Hence making them choose from the various picking strategies tailored for different order quantities and placement.

Basic Order Picking

  • Picker picks one order at a time.
  • The picking sequence should ensure an optimal route. And try to end the pick route near the original starting point.
  • Suited for operations with a small total number of orders and a high number of picks per order.
  • If used with many orders or low picks per order, it may cause congestion in the warehouse, thus slowing down operations

Batch picking / Multi-order picking In batch picking

  • You can group multiple orders into small batches.
  • Picker will pick all orders within the batch in one pass using a merged pick list.
  • You can use multi-tiered picking carts to keep orders separate.
  • An intelligent WMS helps create the most optimum batches by ensuring the right orders come together in the batch. Also, it ensures maximum savings.
  • A good WMS also helps prevent the mixing of orders using checks and validations.
  • Reduces travel time in operations with low picks per order.
  • Batch picking requires the accumulation of orders to create batches. Thus, introducing a delay in order cycle time.

Wave picking

  • Combination of zone and batch picking.
  • All zones are picked at the same time by respective pickers mapped to the zone.
  • All the picked items reach a processing area where they are sorted into individual orders/shipments.
  • Sorting can be tricky, only a few warehouse management systems offer this functionality. Also, you can use some automation for high-volume operations.
  • Suitable for operations with a high total number of SKUs and moderate to high picks per order.

Zone picking

  • You can assign pickers a specific area/zone. Pickers will operate only within their zones.
  • Pick and pass – orders are moved from one zone to the next as the picking from the previous zone is completed.
  • Zone workload balancing is critical while setting up Zone picking.
  • Suitable for large operations with high total numbers of SKUs, high total numbers of orders, and low-to-moderate picks per order.
  • You can assign pickers a specific area/zone. Pickers will operate only within their zones.

An efficient WMS lets you implement the suitable picking strategy more efficiently. Also, it enables you to derive the most productivity out of the operational improvements. Therefore, Pyrops WMS is a solution that will help you to pace up your picking, packing, and shipping activities.

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