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Order picking – methods and types - In: all, last published

Order picking – methods and types

Kategoria : all, last published Komentarze : 0 Autor : KMMF Data : 05 Jul 2024

  The efficiency of warehouse processes is becoming crucial in the dynamically changing world of e-commerce. One of the most important elements of efficient

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Kategoria : all, last published Komentarze : 0 Autor : KMMF Data : 05 Jul 2024

 

The efficiency of warehouse processes is becoming crucial in the dynamically changing world of e-commerce. One of the most important elements of efficient shipment fulfillment is effective order picking.

What does the picking process in a warehouse entail? What are the methods of picking and what devices support this process?

In this text, you will find a set of the most important information on this topic

What is order picking?

Order picking is the process of collecting products from their location in the warehouse. It is carried out according to the list from the order or orders placed by the customer in the webshop. The aim of the picking process is to prepare the order for dispatch, minimising errors while maximising efficiency. The process involves several key stages: identifying the products, retrieving them from their storage locations (so-called storage addresses), completing the order, protecting it against transport, i.e. packing it and releasing it for shipment.

The activities carried out during the order picking and securing stages take place in the picking area. This is the area in the warehouse where the products of the individual orders are collected together, i.e. picked.

Modern methods of order picking in the warehouse

There are several order picking methods, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In practice, the most common methods are:

  • Unit picking (piece picking) - a method involving the collection of individual units ordered by the customer. This is the most time-consuming method, but allows a high degree of flexibility.
  • Batch picking - collecting several orders at the same time in order to optimise the route through the warehouse. Increases efficiency, but requires precise organisation.
  • Wave picking - a method that combines the characteristics of unit picking and batch picking, allowing orders to be picked in waves, which allows for better management of time and resources.
  • Zone picking - the warehouse is divided into zones and workers are responsible for specific areas. Each order is picked by several employees, which reduces picking time.
  • Picking using carousel systems and conveyors - products are delivered directly to the employee's workstation. Carousel systems, with their rotating shelves, automatically move the relevant products within easy reach, eliminating the need to move around the warehouse. Conveyors, on the other hand, transport goods on special belts, ensuring a continuous flow of products to where they are needed, which significantly reduces order picking times.
  • Pick and pack picking - a method of order picking that allows products to be prepared simultaneously for several orders at once. The products are picked and packed and then transported to the dispatch area. Printed lists are used here, ensuring accuracy and orderliness in the order picking process.
  • Pick-by-light picking - operators use intelligent light systems that indicate the exact location of products using lamps and screens. This makes the process of finding goods faster and more efficient, significantly speeding up order picking and increasing productivity.

Types of picking in the warehouse

When analysing this topic, it is worth noting that order picking methods can also differ due to the technical means of order picking. Depending on the specific characteristics of the warehouse and the type of products stored, we can distinguish different types of picking:

  • Manual picking - most often used in smaller warehouses or where the products are fragile and need to be handled carefully.
  • Semi-automated picking - uses technology to support the process, such as forklift trucks with navigation systems or conveyor belts.
  • Automated picking - fully automated systems such as warehouse robots that pick products without human intervention.

What does efficient order picking look like?

Efficient picking is one that minimises the time and cost involved in the process, while ensuring a high quality customer experience from the order received. Key to effective picking are the following process features:

  • Accuracy - accurately picking all products ordered, without errors.
  • Speed - reduced picking times through route optimisation and the use of modern technology, scheduling the routes of workers picking products.
  • Flexibility - ability to adapt quickly to changing orders and market conditions.
  • Automation - implementation of supporting systems such as WMS (Warehouse Management System) or warehouse robots.

Picking aids

Today's warehouses use a number of devices to support the picking process. The more complex the warehouse, the greater the number of these aids. The most common picking aids include conveyor:

  • belts that automatically transport products between different areas of the warehouse,
  • barcode scanners and RFID, which facilitate product identification and control over the picking process, minimising the likelihood of human error,
  • warehouse robots that automate the process of collecting and transporting products from their location in the warehouse to the picking area.

The introduction of each of these solutions involves specific investments. Their introduction is usually determined by the size of the warehouse facility, but also by the level of automation in the country's logistics industry. They significantly support the process of efficient order picking, but without properly designed processes in the logistics centre, it will not meet the expected standards.

Order picking is a key process in warehouse logistics, which requires appropriate planning, technology and organisation of logistical work and processes. The choice of appropriate methods and equipment can significantly affect the efficiency and quality of customer service, which is particularly important in the rapidly growing e-commerce market, but only the combination of these facilities with experienced management guarantees success.

At EUROCOMMERCE, we achieve an error-free rate of 99.9% when processing orders, handling an average of 5,000 orders per day. This is a result across all our locations, covering a variety of customer logistics handling methods.

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