Order Planning Increases Pick Efficiency
  • Jim Southern

Order Planning Increases Pick Efficiency



Of course it's been well reported that barcode scanning coupled with wireless technology and RF Scanning helps speed up and improve the efficiency of warehouse operations. It makes perfect sense that it would - it reduces paperwork and it validates that you are picking the right products for your orders.

However what this technology alone does not do is decide in what order the work is performed - you may well be faster at picking and be more accurate, but you may not be picking based on the priorities of the day, e.g. priority customers, urgent orders, picking order groups to reduce the number of times you visit locations, etc.

This is where "Order Planning" comes in. Planning the workflow for the days orders can save the warehouse a further 10% in processing time. This of course doesn't mean that everyone goes home early but it can mean that you have more time to do the work or get more orders out in the same timeframe. Put simply using the old cliche "You can do more with less".

There are many different scenarios that can be applied using a smart system like Dexterity WMS that can help you "Pick Smart" as well as "Pick Fast":

- Group and Release Orders based on Priorities (Due Date, Customer, Carrier, or a combination)

- Assign Picks to Groups of Pickers (Team Picking)

- Analyse the order mix to plan and pick "like" products together in one sweep

- Plan "Pick Zones" to optimise the use of equipment like fork trucks and on-foot pickers

You may already try to use some of these techniques in your warehouse but managing and shuffling the paperwork involved is probably a full time job in itself and of course it can never be as efficient as a flexible rules based software system. The other major advantage is that you can monitor the progress of all the orders and the picker performance in real time, you don't have to wait until the pick notes come back to the office and then update the system manually.

Now consider adding "paperless picking" to the above and things start to sound really smart. Using the Dexterity WMS "Get Next Pick" functionality, the work is distributed to the workforce automatically directly to their handheld devices. This saves time as they don't need to return to the office to pick up the next order instruction. The orders are "drip fed" to the workforce based on the priorities set ensuring the most important orders are dealt with first - no cherry picking involved.

"No panics, no dramas, just smooth efficient workflow" - Ian MacDonald - Endon Lighting

Endon Lighting : Improved fulfillment times, down from 48 to 24 hours, better than their competitors.

This is another old chestnut but it makes no sense and delivers little benefit to simply automate existing processes. Simply introducing barcode scanning to a warehouse operation will not necessarily deliver the utopian warehouse you dream of. If you take a step back and take a new look at how you do things, there is often a much smarter way of working that will help you achieve the higher throughput you're looking for. "Working smarter is better than working harder" - I'm getting all the cliche's into this blog! - but there is proven and well documented evidence to support them all.

Workflow planning together with the latest technology and barcode scanning really can deliver for your business.

We've implemented many successful systems across many industry sectors over the years - Give us a call to discuss your warehouse management project.

#planning #pickefficiency

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