• Jim Southern

Order Planning & Picking

Planning & The Picking

The big win in implementing a WMS system is the ability to pick, pack and despatch orders for your customers faster and more accurately resulting in improved customer service and less returns. Coupled with the fact that you can pick more orders with the same or less staff, it all adds up to big savings in the warehouse, a better bottom line for the company and happier customers who will come back for more.

How do you achieve this Utopian dream? Is it the introduction and use of barcodes, scanning instead of writing and keying? These are certainly important factors but not the only reason why a WMS system can be so revolutionary for your business.

From our experience the key to an effective warehouse operation in terms of efficient order picking and fulfilment is as much to do with the planning and workflow as the actual technology used - although the technology is essential in supporting the real time processes a WMS System delivers.

Simply sending the pick orders to mobile scanning terminals is not the whole story or necessarily the answer, as some companies have found out to their dismay after implementing simple scan to pick add-on software modules masquerading as true warehouse management software solutions.

This is best described as "Automating the existing paperwork method" which isn't necessarily a good thing. Take a fresh view and work differently! Focus on new ways to work and the benefits will follow.

Directing the pickers to do the same tasks as they've always done, in the same order with the same priorities there will be some savings, but they will be minimal as you are not really addressing the main issues of utilising and directing the workforce to pick in the best way.

For real benefits and improvements in the warehouse the WMS system should guide the pickers on the best route to minimise travel time, prioritise orders so that the most important work gets done first. For example, Wave picking for a carrier collection time, having the system allocate the tasks in a dynamic way to balance the workload across the picking staff, can deliver huge benefits in time savings.

Planning the days work in the warehouse using a smart WMS system can mean an extra 10% throughput without throwing additional staff at the problem. Organise the order priorities for the day in various flexible ways to make the most of the workforce and the time and then let the WMS System "feed" the pickers dynamically using the handheld terminals. This is where WMS technology comes into its own by guiding the pickers on the shortest routes, confirming picks by scanning barcodes on locations and products and auto-generating documentation and shipping labels without manual re-keying. Massive savings in time can be made through picking task automation.

So, in conclusion, scanning barcodes and high-tech terminals on their own won't deliver the "pot of gold" you're looking for, its how the technology is used in conjunction with a smart software system that plans and guides the warehouse operations.

We have a wealth of experience in implementing our WMS Systems to help clients realise the true 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.

#orderplanning #orderpicking

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