Order picking is one of the most critical tasks in warehouse operations, as it affects customer satisfaction and the overall efficiency of your supply chain. Often, order-picking problems can arise, making the process slower, inaccurate, and more costly. Accurate and efficient picking ensures customers receive the right products on time, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and repeat business. However, getting it wrong can lead to severe consequences, including unhappy customers, lost sales, and damage to a company’s reputation.
In this blog, we look at some common order-picking problems in warehouse operations and explore how implementing a (WMS) warehouse management system helps irradicate them.
Common Picking Challenges
- Printed paper pick lists: These lists are challenging to manage and prioritise, often get lost, and provide no accurate traceability of who did what and when.
- Poor inventory management: This results in products not being where expected or with the correct quantities.
- Manual replenishment processes: This can lead to delays in sourcing the inventory for the pickers, causing further delays in the picking process.
- Re-work: Caused by inaccurate picking processes creating additional costs.
- Poor warehouse layout: This can mean longer walk paths to collect the stock, resulting in lower productivity levels.
How a WMS Can Help
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) control the picking process and efficiently manage each activity. A WMS provides real-time inventory visibility, allowing companies to make informed decisions about inventory levels and product positioning. These controls reduce the risk of lost or misplaced pick lists and improve traceability. A WMS can also optimise inventory management and replenishment processes, reducing delays in sourcing inventory to ensure pickers have access to the products they need when needed.
In addition to a WMS, companies can also leverage automation solutions to optimise their picking process. For example, Goods-To-Person solutions, which deliver the products to the operator rather than the operator going to the items, increase accuracy and reduce picking times. In addition, robotic pick-and-place solutions automate the picking process entirely, effectively eliminating the risk of errors and increasing productivity in high-volume warehouses. These automation solutions increase accuracy and reduce labour costs, making them an attractive option for companies looking to optimise their warehouse processes.
At Apex, we develop real-time solutions and implement many strategies to resolve order-picking problems and improve the efficiency and accuracy of your warehouse operations. By investing in the right tools and technologies and taking steps to resolve these issues, companies can ensure that their picking process is efficient, accurate, and capable of meeting customer demands.