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Improving Order Picking in a Warehouse

Authored by Derek Rotondi
April 10, 2023

Order picking is a crucial process in any warehouse, as it directly affects customer satisfaction, delivery times, and operational costs. By improving order picking, warehouses can achieve better efficiency, accuracy, and productivity, while reducing errors, delays, and waste. In this blog, we will discuss some of the best practices and technologies for improving order picking in a warehouse.

Use a well-organized warehouse layout

The first step to improving order picking is to have a well-organized warehouse layout that optimizes the flow of goods and people. By grouping fast-moving products near the shipping area and slow-moving products in the back, order pickers can minimize travel time and increase picking speed. Additionally, warehouses can use signage, color-coding, and labeling to make it easier for order pickers to locate products and reduce errors.

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Adopt a reliable inventory management system

The second step to improving order picking is to have a reliable inventory management system that tracks inventory levels in real-time and prevents stockouts and overstocking. This includes using barcodes, RFID tags, or other automated identification technologies to scan products and update inventory levels in a central database. By having accurate inventory data, warehouses can reduce the risk of picking errors, improve order accuracy, and avoid delays caused by stockouts. Additionally, warehouses can use predictive analytics and demand forecasting to anticipate customer demand and optimize inventory levels accordingly.

Implement efficient order picking methods

The third step to improving order picking is to implement efficient order picking methods that balance speed and accuracy. This includes using different picking strategies, such as batch picking, wave picking, or zone picking, depending on the order volume and product mix. Batch picking involves picking multiple orders at once, while wave picking involves picking orders in waves based on a pre-defined schedule. Zone picking involves assigning order pickers to specific zones and having them pick orders only from their assigned zone. By choosing the right order picking method and optimizing picking routes, warehouses can reduce picking time and increase productivity.

Use ergonomic and mobile picking equipment

The fourth step to improving order picking is to use ergonomic and mobile picking equipment that reduces physical strain and fatigue on order pickers. This includes using handheld devices, such as smartphones or tablets, that allow order pickers to scan products, view order details, and update inventory levels on the go. By using ergonomic and mobile picking equipment, warehouses can improve order picker satisfaction, reduce injuries, and increase productivity.

Train and motivate order pickers

In conclusion, improving order picking in a warehouse requires a combination of best practices and technologies that optimize warehouse layout, inventory management, order picking methods, picking equipment, and order picker training and motivation. By adopting these strategies, warehouses can achieve better efficiency, accuracy, and productivity, while reducing errors, delays, and waste.

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About Our Company

American Surplus Inc. is a premier supplier of new and used material handling equipment, offering a wide selection of high-quality products at competitive prices. From pallet racks and conveyor systems to forklifts and mezzanines, American Surplus Inc. has everything you need to optimize your warehouse or distribution center. With decades of experience and a commitment to customer satisfaction, our team of experts is dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes find the right equipment solutions for their unique needs. Whether you're looking to buy or sell, American Surplus Inc. is the go-to source for reliable, affordable material handling equipment.