How to improve order picking productivity in your warehouse

September 3, 2021

Warehouse order picking efficiency is a vital parameter and one that you should never neglect. There are numerous warehouse picking best practices that you can follow if you seek to improve order picking accuracy. Order picking is a vital but much-neglected aspect of managing warehouses, although order fulfilment depends on this procedure. Unfortunately, numerous things are slowing down the order picking process, including inefficiency in strategies and inaccuracies concerning inventory counts. Errors in order picking may lead to significant delays in goods packing procedures along with order shipping. This may ultimately lead to dissatisfaction amongst consumers.

Here are some great ways to enhance your picking accuracy warehouse models and learn how to pick faster in a warehouse. 

  • Get multiple locations for each SKU- Mixing in several SKUs in a similar bin location is a method that is not very efficient. Studies have indicated that such mixing may lead to the order picking procedure slowing down eventually. This is because pickers will have to ferret through various SKUs to discover the item to be chosen. This is one of the biggest warehouse picking tips that you will need. This scenario may lead to several errors, including selecting the wrong items positioned between different SKUs. Hence, every SKU should have its discreet location for pickup. 
  • Demand Variations should help in Inventory Segmentation- While you will naturally be looking for more efficient and cutting-edge warehouse picking equipment, you should also pay close attention to inventory segmentation based on the demand variability. Ensure that the bin location is closer to the shipping and packaging zone for the items most popular amongst consumers. Slower-moving items may be positioned further downwards in the inventory. 
  • Accurately know your entire inventory- Do not permit a scenario where pickers are confused due to discrepancies between the number of items you have and the amount recorded on the inventory-based system. Whenever pickers find the same, they will adjust inventory likewise. This will take up a long period as a result. For bypassing this scenario, you should ensure that you track the inventory that you have in hand. A sound inventory management system is a must in this case. 
  • Proper order picking blueprints are also required- Warehouse order determining efficiency is of paramount importance. Read how to improve the warehouse efficiency. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy in this case. It all depends on your order volumes, warehouse location and layout, and also company policies. You can take your pick from Batch picking, where pickers take items from various orders, i.e., one SKU simultaneously. This will help if you have numerous orders with the same SKU. Pickers only have to visit the pickup location once for any specific SKU. Zone picking is where pickers get items from a particular zone. They hold responsibility for the selection of all the SKUs present in a particular area. Other picking types include cluster and wave picking. In the former system, multiple items are derived from various orders in a single trip and put back into numerous containers. In usual scenarios, trolleys with multiple trays are used for item collection. Every order should be placed in different trays. In the wave picking system, pickers should take items at the rate of one SKU at a time from a single order. Orders may be scheduled for pickup at particular times for better optimization and coordination of the process of shipping and picking. 

Warehouse management software implementation- This one is crucial for ensuring better order picking productivity. You should have a lean management strategy for warehouse. WMS is a life-saver for scaling up efficiency, speeding up the process of inventory audits, and ensuring proper purchasing management for end-to-end supply chain optimization.