Fulfilling orders and meeting customers’ expectations are the core of any online business. It’s important to provide fast and convenient shipping, the best prices, real-time visibility of orders, easy returns and continuous communication from order through to delivery.
In the space between an order being placed and it arriving on the customer’s doorstep, there are several steps that occur which include picking and packing.
Picking and packing is the process through which items in an order are taken from inventory, grouped together and shipped to the customer. The speed and accuracy with which this stage in the process is completed plays a vital role when it comes to reducing costs, improving efficiency and ensuring customer satisfaction.
There are numerous ways to pick and pack items, but it is important to note that one way may work best for one company than it does for another.
That is why we have created a list of 5 different ways to pick and pack your items which will hopefully improve your company’s processes and turn you into an e-commerce pro!
Piece picking is very simple and commonly used by small online businesses that don’t receive a large number of orders. In piece picking, all the items from the packing slip are collected from the warehouse and sent to the packing station to be packed. Piece picking can’t be used to execute large scale orders as it wouldn’t be the most efficient or productive way to pick and pack.
Batch picking works well if there are enough orders to organise into batches and can be used by both small and large businesses. This method gives pickers the most efficient path through the warehouse and as a result saves time and orders go out faster.
Zone picking, otherwise known as ‘pick and pass’, is a popular and efficient approach and is used primarily by large scale e-commerce businesses which have complex warehouse layouts. Pickers are assigned to a specific zone within the picking area and pick products located in their zone for each order. Then they pass off the order to a worker in the next zone. Once an order has passed through all the zones where items on the packing slip are stored, it goes to the packing bench zone.
Wave picking is a combination of batch and zone picking. In this method, warehouse staff pick all the items in batches simultaneously located in their zones. After selecting the ordered items, they’ll move them to the following zone staff who will repeat the same cycle. They continue the process until every item specified in a batch is picked. Then workers send the items to the packing station.
This method of picking involves picking into multiple containers at the same time. These containers may be ones that contain order batches, discrete order shippers, or discrete order totes. This method of picking is best for pick to cart operations and vertical lift modules. Pick to cart operations involve a cart being loaded with multiple totes or shippers so the order-picker can make a single pass through the pick zone, sorting the SKUs into the relevant pick containers. For vertical lift modules or carousel operations, the independent zone picking technique involves a picker setting up the pick container batch to initiate the mechanised pick module. From there, the items are sorted into the proper pick container.
Picking and packing play a crucial role in your order fulfilment process. Identifying the approach that best meets your specific needs will enable you to increase the efficiency of your warehouse staff, fulfil orders in a timely and cost-effective manner, and improve customer satisfaction.
If you need any advice on the most suitable type of industrial racking system for your warehouse’s pick and pack system, please feel free to contact us on 0333 999 7171 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.