Global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion in 2021. That’s an approximate 61% increase since 2018. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of these sales are dominated by business-to-business transactions (B2B). This is indicative of the preference for self-service and a simplified ordering experience.
The rise of e-commerce is beneficial for the warehousing industry, but has impacts on the way it operates. It has primarily increased the importance of accurate order picking. In the past, Sorder-picking accuracy was less of an issue due to the fact that there were larger orders and less customers in total. Now, there’s a higher volume of orders with less items requested in each.
Improving the order picking process allows you to fulfill more orders in less time while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.
Courtesy of the warehousing experts at The Material Handler, here are the top ways to improve your order picking efficiency:
Finding the Correct Order Picking Method
Generally, there are four methods used in order picking. Many warehouses have also adopted their own individualized methods, but these order picking strategies can be used across industries
- Single Order Picking
Also known as discrete order picking, this method is the most common, as it is basic and easy to understand. Orders are fulfilled one at a time by the same picking employee. This method is simple but also the least efficient as it requires a lot of travel time.
- Zone Picking
This method refers to having an order picker designated to a specific physical area within the warehouse. The specified order picker is responsible for picking all of the SKUs within this area and passing the order along to another picker once they have filled the requirements within their zone.
- Batch Picking
For batch picking, the name says it all. A picker collects a group of orders that contain the same SKU at one time. This is very effective in the instance where there are multiple orders with the same requirements because it reduces travel time and increases productivity. It is, however, not effective with items that are large or heavy.
- Wave Picking
Another method used to fulfill orders is wave picking. Orders are scheduled to be picked at specific times and are collected one SKU at a time. Times are specified in order to correspond with shipping requirements.
One of the main issues associated with order picking is fulfillment error. An approach to mitigating this risk is to introduce the use of barcode scanners. These devices tell employees which items they should be picking, how many, where they are located, and provide confirmation that the order is correct before it’s shipped. Barcode scanners are recognized as a useful tool in optimizing the order picking process.
The Material Handler is dedicated to improving your warehouse’s logistics and productivity. We provide a variety of services including pallet racking, mezzanines, lift tables, and shelving. To learn more about our services or request a free quote, call 1-800-857-1315.