Proper fulfilment is the biggest task for an e-commerce business, and one very important aspect of order fulfilment is order picking. Order picking operation is a time and labour-intensive procedure that involves retrieving and arranging specific products from a list of products as per the orders received from the customer.
Order picking takes place in a warehouse, and even though it is one of the final stages of the order fulfilment process, it requires utmost attention, effective strategies, and best practices to ensure an efficient and smooth business supply chain.
Warehouses today are typically over 180,000 square feet on average – and are likely to keep growing in the future, which shows how challenging the orderpicking step can be if the right techniques are not applied to optimise this process.
Here are the best practices that you can adopt to optimise your order-picking operation.
4 Best Practices to Optimise Your Order Picking Operations
1. Organise Warehouse As Per Facility Flow
The most important step to ensure an efficient order picking is to organise the warehouse – a warehouse is a large space full of inventory. If the products are not organised well, the picker can easily get lost between the racks trying to find one small product.
Focusing on product organisation in the warehouse is important – one good technique here can be focusing on facility flow. This means organising the warehouse in a way so that the inventory can simply travel through each functional area of the warehouse. For example, it can go from receiving to storage to order picking to consolidation and sorting to packing and then finally staging for shipment. Since each area will automatically lead to another, there will be no need to do a double check and waste time.
2. Make Use of Totes, Bins and Dividers
Whether you store your inventory in racks, shelves or automated systems, subdividing the inventory using bins, dividers, and totes makes it easier to find the product you have been looking for. This is an ideal solution to sorting and makes things faster, thereby optimising the entire order picking operation.
3. Reduce Travel to Walking Time
Large warehouses account for longer walking travelling time – in fact, the travel time in a warehouse takes up to half of the total order picking time of the process. Hence, it is best to work on ways you can reduce the walking and travelling time in the warehouse to optimise operations.
This can be done in various ways, such as arranging and slotting the facility in a way that the picker doesn’t have to make rounds of the same place twice. For example, by placing items that are frequently ordered closer to each other.
4. Choose the Right Order Picking Strategies
There are five main provider picking strategies: discrete, batch, cluster, zoning and robot picking strategy; considering the size of your warehouse, the number of staff you have, and the number of orders you receive per day – apply the strategy that you think works best for optimising your warehouse’s operations.
Get in Touch with 3PLWOW
Order picking is a small yet crucial and time-taking step of the order fulfilment process for an e-commerce company. If you are an e-commerce business owner and finding it tough to handle a warehouse as well as your overall business simultaneously, we suggest you hire a third-party order fulfilment company to handle operations.
3PLWOW is an experienced third-party logistics company helping numerous businesses across the UK; they offer pick and pack service alone with an 180,000 square feet warehouse that you can use. So contact them today!