If your business packs and dispatches many orders each day, you need an efficient and organised warehouse. Every item of warehouse equipment needs to be carefully selected, including the packing table, so what is the perfect packing table?
Analysing the packing operation
How packing is organised varies between businesses. For some warehouses that don’t pack many items each day, a standard table will suffice, but a busy warehouse needs more efficient systems.
The first step to find the perfect packing table is to analyse the packing operation. Typically, pickers take goods to the packing station, where they wait for the packer to pack and label them. The packing process involves packing the item using a suitable box, envelope, or wrapping paper. Fragile items require bubble wrap or other materials to protect them.
Packers need to identify which order items belong to and each order needs a label. The administration system is important to make sure that all packed items are recorded and monitored. Packed items then need loading on the carrier’s vehicles ready for delivery. Some operations use more than one carrier, so packed orders have to be taken to the correct dispatch area.
Carefully analysing and recording the whole packing operation will highlight what functions the warehouse equipment has to fulfil. The analysis will also identify the different packing areas needed. For example, separate areas may be required to store orders ready to be packed, incomplete orders, and orders that are being packed. Possible errors need to be factored into the planning of the packing station. Orders may be incomplete or wrong items picked, so storage areas for these goods need to be planned.
A packing station may need more than one packing table – perhaps one to store goods ready for packing, another for the packing process, a table to store packed items awaiting dispatch, and a fourth for items picked in error that need to return to the warehouse shelves. A busy packing station will have more than one person packing, so do all packers work at the same packing table, or are several needed?
After establishing what components of a packing station are required, the next step is to look at the available area in the warehouse. There needs to be sufficient room to fit everything in. Most packing table manufacturers can make packing tables in custom sizes so that the table fits exactly in the packing area.
The table needs to be at the right height for packers to comfortably work.
Movement and strain
Packers should move as little as possible and not be required to stretch to reach items they need, which may mean making modifications to the packing table. Easily reached shelves can store tape holders, envelopes and other items regularly required. Roller dispensers for wrapping paper may be useful too.
Bottom shelves on a packing table provide extra storage space, and if orders are processed using a tablet or computer, this may require stands to hold the equipment.
The main design principle is to have equipment and materials within easy reach of the workers to save time and prevent muscle strain injuries.
Bespoke packing tables
It will be helpful to consult the packing table manufacturers about the table design. They are experienced in supplying a large number of customers with different packing operation requirements. They can visit the warehouse to see the current operation and the space available for the packing station. They will match the packing table design to your exact requirements and add the shelves, laptops stands and any other additions to the table that make packing more efficient.
The workers who will use the packing table are an asset to the design process. Their input is valuable and they should be listened to. Knowing that their ideas are taken seriously increases their morale.
Sometimes, it is better to have a prototype packing table made for staff to try out before committing to ordering several tables that are not quite right.
After a table design has been finalised, you want a table that is durable. In a busy warehouse, packing station, tables get a lot of heavy-duty use and need to last for many years. The best tables are made from strong but light tubular steel that is powder-coated to prevent corrosion. Joints used in the construction need to be made by expert welders so that the table remains stable. The top of the table should be made from strong wood.
It’s simply not worth cutting costs by buying cheap tables that won’t last.
Although many packers enjoy their job, it can be a repetitive role that offers little in the way of stimulation. Some companies have placed packing tables opposite each other so that packers can chat whilst working. This improves the mood of workers. Rather than being a distraction, chatting can result in improved productivity and fewer stress-related health conditions.
Looking to the future
It’s a mistake to design a packing station just for the level of business today. What happens if the business expands? Can the current packing station cope with a 10% to 20% increase in orders? If orders double, can the warehouse cope?
To deal with a small increase in orders, an additional packing table may be enough equipment to add another packer to the packing operation.
A packing station design needs to look to future growth by being flexible enough to easily expand.
The perfect packing table
The perfect packing table may not yet exist, but with careful planning, the best packing tables designed for the requirements of particular operations can be purchased.
The ideal table works well and lasts a long time. It helps the packing process be more organised by making sure that all equipment and materials are at hand. It may be just a table, but it is a key component of an efficient packing system.
Online customers want retailers to promise fast and accurate delivery or their orders. A well-designed packing table is a key component to deliver that promise. Why not contact Steely Products today to see how we can deliver it for you?Get a free quote