• Jim Southern

Optimise Order Picking Strategies

Your order picking strategy really depends on how you divide and allocate the pick lists. Using Dexterity software these can be divided up and managed in a variety of different ways to suit your business. We have different picking methods, all driven through the handheld terminal by the Dexterity software, not the traditional paper pick lists of old. Lets try to explain some of the different picking strategies using WMS technology:

Picking by Order / Location:

Most customer orders are made up of stock items spanning multiple SKU's and therefore locations across the warehouse. These orders can be picked by a single picker or multiple pickers depending on your business and more importantly the layout of the warehouse. Using this strategy may work well for you if you are picking small orders from defined pickfaces, and particularly if you pick & pack as you go. Dexterity WMS supports this strategy using "pick to box or pallet" functionality.

Picking by Warehouse Zone:

Pick by Zone is where you utilise the whole picking team by dividing the warehouse into "zones" so they are guided to pick the specific items for the order or group of orders in their warehouse allocated space. For example, we have a customer who releases 25 orders for picking in one hit. The picking team are then guided to pick all the items for the order group that are available in their "zone", e.g. their locations or aisles in the warehouse. The items for the orders are then marshalled to a pack zone and packed out as individual orders for shipping & despatch. Operator travel times are reduced by dividing up a warehouse into zones and allocating inventory picking to specific warehouse operators within each zone. Travel time reduction is the number one reason for implementing WMS systems for companies. This can work very well as a fast picking method for certain business models. Dexterity WMS supports this strategy using "Zone Picking" functionality.

Picking by FIFO (First in First Out):

This picking strategy is the de-facto rule for most companies. It ensures stock rotation to, in theory, make sure that the oldest stock is used and shipped first. Strict FIFO can sometime hamper efficient warehouse operations as it is difficult to know the age of the stock in the warehouse. This only works well if paired with a system managed putaway and FIFO pickface replenishment strategy driven by WMS software. Dexterity WMS supports both of these strategies to ensure true stock rotation.

Picking by FEFO (First Expiry First out):

This picking strategy is critical in food and pharmaceutical applications. For these businesses it is essential to keep track of expiry dates and lot numbers to maintain traceability and destruction records. Dexterity WMS supports FEFO strategies including specific batch picking and expiry dates.

Ready to get started? We have a wealth of experience in implementing our barcode driven Dexterity WMS Systems to help clients realise the benefits of a smart Warehouse Management System. Please get in touch for a no obligation and no pressure discussion on how Dexterity WMS could help your business.

#orderpicking #optimisepicking

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