How to improve warehouse packing efficiency

Warehouse operators are always looking to improve productivity to better serve their customers. Fast, efficient order processing leads to increased profits.
A key area of a warehouse operation that processes customer orders is the packing station. Here’s a guide to improving packing efficiency.

Measure performance

In order to see how packing improvements increase productivity, several points need to be measured. These include the number of orders processed each hour, the cost of employee wages, the cost of packing materials and the accuracy of orders.

Any measures that are implemented to make packing more efficient should improve one or more of the above measurements.

Eliminate unnecessary touches and movement

The basic steps of order processing are picking items, delivering them to the packing station to be packed and sending them to the dispatch area. Ideally, the order items should be touched by as few people as possible. Is all contact with the order necessary?

The picking journey should be as short as possible. Warehouse management software can plan optimal routes so that pickers collecting items for multiple orders take the shortest routes. After an order has been packed, the journey to the dispatch area should also be short.

Is the packing station efficient?

The packing process involves a variety of equipment and materials. A typical packing cycle starts with the order items received at the packing station. A packer places the ordered items on a packing table, where they are wrapped or put into a box. The parcel is sealed, and an address label affixed to it. The packed order is then taken to the dispatch area, and the packer uses a warehouse management application to confirm that the order has been packed and ready for delivery.

The key to an efficient packing station is to have all the materials and equipment needed to process an order to hand. There should be no need to stretch or twist to pick up items. If a picker uses a laptop or tablet to record the progress of the order, this should be attached to a holder, so that it can be operated hands free.

At Steely Products, we specialise in packing table equipment modified for a particular packing station’s needs. We visit warehouses to observe existing packing systems. We then suggest the most suitable equipment solutions. We create bespoke designs if our standard equipment is not the best solution.

Identifying packing materials

Most warehouses handle a variety of parcel sizes and weights, which require a variety of box sizes. Lightweight, small items may require just a padded bag, whilst larger, heavier items need a sturdy box. The system needs to inform the packer as to which packing materials are required for each order, so that they have the correct packing materials to hand for the next order they need to pack. Fragile items also need identifying so that bubble wrap or other protective packing can be used to prevent breakages.

For advice on the optimal packing equipment for your warehouse, call us at Steely Products or fill in the contact form below to arrange a meeting with us.

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    Posted by Derek
    29th July 2021
    Retail & Warehousing

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