When a UK based business, which stores a wide variety of goods on a 3PL basis, came to us requiring automatic instructions to keep their pick faces replenished, how could we say no?
MW Fulfilment, based in Bolton, is a relatively new business, but have been taking on 3PL clients in all areas including electronics, cosmetics and clothing, and continue to grow as they appeal to e-commerce customers with Optima’s standard integrations to use as a selling tool.
Pick faces are the shelves most easily accessible that are designed to be kept full of most frequently used items so vital in any warehouse environment, the ones within easiest reach of the pickers essentially.
If the stock runs low the entire picking and packing operation can be disrupted so it is vital that these areas are easily accessible and constantly stocked to their highest level possible in order to keep the business running smoothly and efficiently.
By working closely with the client we were able to install a background process which constantly monitors stock in the pick faces and triggers a transfer instruction to move a pallet’s worth of stock to that same location if it dips below a set amount.
This means the customer can now have a dedicated replenishment team that just completes the automatically assigned task – massively increasing the efficiency of picking by ensuring the majority of orders can be picked from the pick face.
We also worked with them to automatically group orders into “waves,” which is when orders are grouped together, ideally because they are orders for the same items.
Pickers are now able to visit the locations that contain those items once – making picking more efficient when picking lots of orders for the same items – and the items can be separated out later when packing for despatch.
Each picker has a trolley that holds 12 trays – one per order – and is required to be able to pick up a wave and just fill their trays before delivering to the packing bench.
To ensure orders were grouped into 12s, instead of making users manually group them we set up an automated job that groups orders logically into 12s. Any picker can just pick up the next wave and get up to 12 orders without the need for administrator intervention.
This gives pickers autonomy to just pick up the next set of tasks without returning to the office, but also saves the administrators a job – they can just bulk-allocate orders and Optimiser will organise them automatically.
“All of the automation sets this business up to grow without the pain of extra manual work,” explains David Appleby of Optima who worked on the project.
“What makes them a successful user of Optimiser is that they’ve thought about setting up in the most efficient way from the start and are committed to keeping their processes streamlined and standardised. We’re looking forward to seeing them grow and really make the most of the benefits of an automated WMS.”
If you need new WMS software, want a better of way of dispatching orders, or are interested in how to make your warehouse more efficient, then why not see how we can help?