How to organise a packing station with sortation tables

Sortation tables are the heart of a packing station, and they are where items are sorted, packed and sent out for dispatch.

It is vital that packing stations are organised as efficiently as possible. To do this requires some planning.

Research

Before deciding on the design of a packing station, spend some time observing your existing way of picking and packing goods. Look out for any problems such as items accumulating in areas before they can be processed. Look for workers not following a flow pattern and walking further than they need to.

Do workers have to access multiple areas before completing an order? Can goods in high demand be stacked nearer together? Do packers leave their stations to fetch items missing from orders?

A standard system is one where pickers bring items to the packing station where they are packed into boxes, envelopes etc. at the sortation table. Orders are then taken to the dispatch station ready to be collected from the courier vans or trucks. Create a flow diagram following this process from warehouse storage locations to dispatch station.

Plan for mistakes

Mistakes always happen, but a well-designed picking and packing operation will minimise them. You need to know the areas where mistakes can be made and how they can be corrected. For example, if the packer has several items on the sortation table that need shipping as one order, and an item is missing, how is this corrected? Where are the items stored until the missing item reaches the sortation table? Plan a temporary storage space where unfulfilled order are stored.

Tools and equipment

The packing station needs tools and equipment and places to store them. Equipment can range from computer equipment, monitor, keyboard and mouse to scanners, tape dispensers and label printers.

There needs to be storage space for envelopes, boxes, bags, labels, pens, markers and box padding such as bubble wrap. The packing workers may need access to books and reference documents like training manuals and safety procedure documents.

You may want to have an area for personal items such as jackets, handbags and protective workwear.

Consider the 3D space

You need to consider the 3D space, meaning all directions relative to the packers – to the side, above, in front, and behind. All regularly used equipment and supplies need to be within easy reach. Items that are rarely used can be stored in less accessible areas.

The pickers need an area to place picked orders that do not interfere with the workflow of the packers. One arrangement is to have two sortation tables that form an L shape. The pickers place items on the side table ready for the packer to move them to the table in front of him or her.

Install the sortation tables and other equipment and test out the arrangement. Be prepared to revise the design once it has been operational for a while.

Lastly, don’t forget to plan for future growth. Do you need a larger packing area with more sortation tables if your business expands?

Posted by Derek
4th December 2018
Packing

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: