New order picking models challenge traditional approach

A typical distribution centre will most likely use the tried and tested person-to-goods picking system, a model which has been in use by warehouses for several decades. This model is now being challenged by a new approach, the goods-to-person picking system.

With the increase of e-commerce sales, a growth in the number of SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit) that need to be kept in a warehouse, just-in-time ordering, and the resulting increased labour costs, the traditional model can sometimes be found lacking.

Consumer demands have grown to such an extent that the once acceptable picking time of 60 percent travelling time to 40 percent picking time is proving inefficient. Minimising the time between picks can increase order processing time. Correctly applied and working with an advanced warehouse management system, the new model of goods-to-person can have a positive impact on productivity, accuracy and miss-pick rates. This new approach needs careful evaluation before new models are introduced, some distribution centres may find 90 to 95 percent of SKUs may be perfect for a goods-to-person model, while the remaining SKUs are better suited to traditional methods.

Eliminating or reducing the travelling time of pickers, and having the goods delivered by an automated system straight to warehouse packing tables, can have a big impact on pick times and reduce costs significantly. Identifying which system best suits your needs requires a logistical assessment before any major investment is made, something a warehouse equipment supplier may be able to advise on.

Posted by Katrina
19th December 2017
Retail & Warehousing

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