Pick and Pack Methods to Drive Efficiency

When businesses store and ship their products out of a warehouse, the goal is always to keep their products and processes optimized for ease of use and maximum efficiency. On the customer end of things, having their orders be delivered at a given time and in a single batch is just as important, so they can reliably use those deliveries to fulfill their inventories, allowing for sales and moving forward with manufacturing needs, and more.

The strategies used to make sure those warehouse processes are efficient and accurate should not be overlooked. In particular, many warehouses experiment with different types of ‘pick and pack’ processes, or the flow of how and when orders get identified, products pulled from shelves, shipments get backed into boxes, pallets, and/or trucks, and sent out to their ultimate destination. Delays in this process can result in higher costs and frustrated customers, so the name of the game is efficiency in pick and pack processes.

For the sake of you and your customers, you may want to take a periodic step back to assess the strategies you’re employing. Here are some of the more common pick and pack processes:

Piece Picking

When operations are still small, piece picking is typically the most common and efficient pick and pack process. In fact, many businesses may be employing the piece picking process without even knowing what the term pick and pack even means.

With piece picking, a product will be pulled from the shelves individually once an order is placed, and then taken to be packed and processed. When you don’t have many orders coming in, there’s no need to overthink it—piece picking is sufficient.

For the business receiving your order, if they are only ordering small orders such as a single tool or piece of equipment, piece picking will be optimal for them. It’s only once many items need pulling that piece picking may delay the delivery getting to its end destination and disrupting the timing for that client.

Batch Picking

As sales grow and more types of inventory are included in the warehouse, batch picking may start to make sense. Rather than jump into action the moment a single order is placed, batch picking involves waiting and anticipating that more orders for that product (or other products near it in the warehouse) are likely to come in, and not pulling them off the shelves until there’s an entire batch.

This batch picking process minimizes the amount of back and forth, searching, and other inefficiencies that come into play. Suppose the orders into your warehousing are going to fulfill a larger stock of inventory for the end client, such as ordering several dozen of a single product. In that case, the batch picking process will help provide efficiency in service to them.

Zone Picking

As an e-commerce business grows, more complex operations may be suitable for efficiency and accuracy. For example, zone picking will anticipate many orders over the course of the day and separate the different areas of the warehouse into zones. These zones are home to specific products and product types, and each zone will have a specific worker assigned to it. As orders come in, the worker in a given zone will fill up a set of boxes with all necessary products from their zone and then send those boxes to the next zone of the warehouse where a separate worker will do the same. This process is repeated until all the boxes are filled. The clients most well suited for their orders to come via zone picking are ones with irregular orders of many different types of deliveries, so predicting where and when those products will be needed isn’t as easy.

Processing, packaging, and delivering your goods to your final customers is a critical aspect of the e-commerce business, and it’s one you can’t afford to get wrong. If you want to explore what options make the most sense for your business, consider getting in touch with us at Econo-Courier. Reach out to us today to hear how we can help you.