20 Expert Warehouse Picking Tips
Important Warehouse Picking Tips
Everyone just thinks of warehouses as places full of stuff that gets moved around, packed, and shipped. The reality is that warehousing is a complex system where items need to be strategically placed and everything needs to be properly cataloged to ensure the ship runs smoothly.
What Is Warehouse Picking?
Warehouse picking is the process where items are taken from a warehouse facility according to a customer’s orders, properly packaged, and shipped off. The bigger the warehouse, the more complicated this process can be. When you have a good system in place warehouse picking can be streamlined and more productive so here are 20 expert warehouse picking tips to help you manage the dynamic world of warehouse and logistics.
How Can I Improve My Warehouse Picking?
There are many ways you can improve warehouse picking and these are some experts tips:
1. Most Popular Items First
Check the inventory and sales for the most popular items and keep them nearest to where you package them ready for shipment. If a particular item shows up in most orders, putting it up the back somewhere will mean you will spend most of your time going backward and forwards. By having them closer, you will be clearing orders faster.
2. Understand The Process
In short, warehouse picking involves moving fast to get orders shipped to consumers. The faster you can pack, the faster the order goes out and that means you can invoice the customer. This turns the warehouse wheels and the faster you get to the invoice part, the sooner the money comes in.
3. Think Of The Layout
Look around your warehouse. All those rows of goods need to be neat with perfectly set up rows that also allow for a forklift to get through unhindered. You’ll also need to decide where certain types of goods should be placed depending on their popularity.
4. Streamline Travel Times
How quickly can you get an order packed will depend on how much time it takes you to get all the items for each order to the packing area. Think of how the layout of the warehouse and what you can do to improve travel times with pallet jacks and forklifts.
5. Keep Your Inventory Up To Date
The worst thing that can happen to a warehouse picker is to think they have an item available that is no longer there. Keep the inventory up to date and make sure you have a program that is synced to sales and packing so that after each order is processed you know what you have left.
6. Have A Dedicated Storage Corner
You can’t always store everything on the racks as soon as they come in. Have a corner dedicated to storing incoming items until they can be warehoused properly.
7. Know Your Team
Knowing who your fastest and slowest packers are is essential to know who to assign tasks to. If some of the slower ones aren’t too good at getting items off the racks, reassign them to packing.
8. Split Case Picking
Grabbing a pallet load off a rack and loading it on a truck is relatively easy but when you need to pack orders of different items to be packed into one shipping box, you need to have a system in place. This includes a variety of boxes and packing materials.
9. Avoid Paper
If you’re still using a paper-based warehousing system, move to digital ASAP. Paper-based systems are slow and leave too much room for human error.
10. Store As Much As You Can At Ground Level
When you can see your inventory, it’s easy to get to and keep track of. Only stack higher with larger quantities if you can.
11. Keep Your Warehouse Clean & Tidy
Messy warehouses result in extremely slow picking and packing. Keep the floors clean and inventory on racks.
12. Keep The Process Simple
Don’t have multiple people working on the picking process. Have a picker to gather the items ordered and a packer to get them ready for shipping.
13. Reevaluate As Needed
You may have a decent warehouse picking system in place, but don’t get complacent. Reevaluate from time to time to ensure you stay on top of things.
14. Keep The Learning Going
Warehousing and logistics are constantly changing so you need to keep learning new methods to stay up to date on the most efficient and productive methods. Create an environment of learning among your team and ensure each member gets the training and support they need.
15. Establish Zones
Set up the warehouse in zones and assign a team to each zone. Assign pickers to each zone to limit travel times. You can then have other pickers assigned to collect picked items to take to a central packing location within the warehouse.
16. Keep The Equipment In Good Order
Pallet jacks and forklifts are only good if they are well maintained. Ensure regular checks of the equipment in your warehouse at all times and ensure faults are reported promptly.
17. Trust Your Documentation
Reports are the hallmark of any good business and warehouses are where good documentation is crucial. Ensure you have a system in place that is reliable and accurate.
18. Address The Hazards
Loose wires, a leaky roof, and spills are all hazardous in a warehouse. Address any of these issues as soon as they arise and train staff to report them immediately.
19. Find A WMS (Warehouse Management System) You Can Work With
What works for the warehouse system down the road may not work for your warehouse. Even in the same company, you may not be able to implement the same systems. Find one you can implement to the specific needs of your warehouse and make sure all of your staff are advised of the system you use and always organize a workshop if changes are made to the system.
20. Make Safety A Priority
This means knowing how to safely get around the warehouse, visible jackets or vests, and shoes for warehouse pickers. Also, have a plan in place for emergency situations.