Picking is the act of taking items or materials valuable to the production process and delivering them to a specified location. Part and order picking hold an important part of the operation of warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Compared to the shipping, storage, and receiving stages, order picking forms as much as 55% of operation costs in a distribution center. A recent survey found that 69% of respondents would be less likely to shop with a retailer again if they did not receive their delivery within two days of the promised delivery date. Therefore, the importance of part and order picking cannot be overemphasized.
There are different systems or methods of part and order picking. Each facility adopts a way that suits their circumstances and their goals. In this article, we shall discuss some tips for improving part and order picking in warehouses and manufacturing facilities.
- Reduce Travel Time
Reducing travel time will improve the productivity of order picking. One of the ways this can be done is by combining multiple orders into a single travel instance. You could consider using equipment like conveyors, pallet jacks or carts for transport of product and articulating jib cranes to fetch the product from hard to reach locations in order to reduce travel time.
- Create a focus zone in the warehouse
Creating a focus zone in your warehouse implies setting up an area that houses your most ordered items, and a clear route to this focus zone will help in fast order picking. Identify those items and set up a separate area for those items. This will reduce excessive walking time and traffic will be eliminated, and orders can be filled more quickly.
- Improve the ergonomics
There are ergonomics risks associated with order picking just like any other material handling activity. The workers in the facility are at the risk of several kinds of musculoskeletal stress like heavy lifting, bending, and twisting. Installing appropriate material handling devices to improve ergonomics and reducing the risks of injury can greatly improve part and order picking. In manufacturing facilities, articulating jib cranes can be of great use.
- Develop picking routes based on your strategy
Picking routes should be established after rigorous analysis of slotting and product velocity. This makes sure order pickers are aware of the routes pertaining to different products.
- Replace signposts with LED screens
Using batch sheets or signposts can lead to confusion and mixed up orders in case there are not enough of these batch sheets. Using LED screens is a more efficient way of displaying order requests, especially in larger operations. The LED screens shall be attached to storage shelves with information about the orders to be picked.
- Allocate storage space according to changing inventory levels
Consider different storage strategies depending on your inventory. Different storage strategies can boost efficiency within a warehouse. You should review storage strategies on a regular basis in order to align your practices with seasonal demand.