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Warehouse with many products on shelves

Faster Warehouse Picking and Dispatch

03/4/18

Lots of boxes on conveyor belts in a warehouse

As mentioned in our article about warehouse consultancy we take the time to get to know your business, and see how else we can help, and what else we can automate and improve, like faster picking and dispatch.

Improving picking and dispatch leads to greater efficiencies, so that you can send out more orders without having to work harder or longer, or needing more warehouse staff.

Here are the most commonly used different picking methods we see:

Piece picking (picker to part)

This method requires the warehouse operative to walk around the warehouse with a list of required items and a box, to get every item needed for each order.

Wave picking

This method sees the warehouse operator pick the required items for several orders at a time.

Sorting systems

This method sees the items brought to the warehouse operative, so they don’t have to move.

Pick to box

This method sees a number of picking stations connected by conveyor belt, and the warehouse operative fills the box with their products, and then the box moves on to the next station.

How can you achieve faster picking and dispatch?

As can be seen, there are pros and cons to each of these methods, and you probably already have your own preferred and most effective method.

However, what you might not know is that order pickers can spend as much as 60% of their time walking around or moving items around.

So, in order to make your warehouse staff more efficient and effective, you’ll need your warehouse and your processes to be more efficient and effective too.

Here’s what we’ve learnt.

Identify bottlenecks

Being able to see what the holdups are, and where and when and why they happen will help you to see what might be slowing you down, and so how you can speed up.

These are some of the common questions we ask to identify bottlenecks.

  • Are your packers often left waiting for picks to arrive?
  • Do your pickers have to wait for paperwork to be printed?
  • Does it take too long to organise and process deliveries in the office?
  • Do your pickers take long journeys around the warehouse to pick common items?
  • Is there a printer that often jams?
  • Are orders only received on a single computer in the warehouse?
  • Are your most ordered products stored all over the warehouse?

Use technology

You can use technology to help you see things like what stock you’ve got, and how many items you’ve sold via certain ecommerce platforms is essential.

Amongst other things, it will mean that Purchasing will know whether they should take advantage of that ‘too good to miss’ offer, or which products Marketing should be promoting.

Using a Warehouse Management System such as Optimiser will help to automate many of your processes and procedures and reduce errors, as repetitive or error-prone tasks can be handled by an eager computer, rather than a busy warehouse operative.

Use barcode scanners

Using barcode scanners will help to ensure that your warehouse operatives pick accurately, each and every time.

Again, this reduces errors and saves time.

Stay on the floor longer

Doing everything you can to enable your warehouse operatives to stay on the floor longer, picking and dispatching orders, will help them be more effective.

Remember, if your staff are not picking as many orders, you can’t dispatch as many orders.

Talk to your warehouse staff

Talk to your warehouse staff to help you to understand how they think things can be improved.

You might be surprised at what you learn.

It could be something really simple, cheap and easy-to-implement that makes a huge difference.

It might be that the systems and procedures that worked several years ago are now no longer fit for purpose, and you really do need a WMS.

Conclusion

Optimiser WMS helps achieve faster picking and dispatch in many ways, including:

  • Enabling you to organise your warehouse more effectively
  • Allowing your to automatically choose the right courier based on your rules and criteria
  • Integrating with your ecommerce platforms

In addition, we can make suggestions to improve your warehouse, thanks to over 15 years of experience, and based on what we’ve done for other companies in your situation.

If you’re looking for faster picking and dispatch, then why not see how Optima WS can help you?

Contact Us on 01270 500777 today, and tell us what you need us to do for you.