Improving Productivity in Order Picking to Reduce Cost

Order PickingE-commerce has become very popular with the customers who want to do shopping conveniently from the home, office, or from any other place at their convenient time. The busy- customers have little time for going to the shopping mall and look for the items on the racks spread over the large area. With E-commerce, the customer has the choice of seeing a wide range of products of the particular brand or even their competitors. This saves him the time, travel cost and offers convenience over and above the competitive product and competitive prices. Today, the customer is also keen to reduce his cost by maintaining a low inventory and therefore places large number of small orders. This purchasing attitude has increased the warehouse operations as order picking has increased tremendously. Studies have shown that more than 50% of warehouse staff is involved in order picking, packing and shipping the ordered items. The distribution warehouses are therefore keen to reduce the cost of labor by adopting more productive method. Some of the methods for improving the productivity of the order picking are:

  • Some of the warehouses store 10-15 ick facings at one bin location. The storekeeper has to struggle to pick the required item and take more time. Keeping one bin location for each item will take less time in locating and picking the items correctly thus reducing the labor cost.
  • Workers in the warehouse have to frequently travel from one location to another to pick the ordered items thus wasting lots of valuable time in number of movements. With a little organized effort it is possible to pick number of ordered items in one single travel. This will help in reducing the picking time to a great extent and may even reduce the need for a large workforce. Order picking in one single travel is cost effective in comparison to order picking through multi-travels.
  • Order picking will be very efficient if layout of the warehouse is planned properly by arranging the fast moving items near the entrance of the warehouse and keeping slow moving items in the interior of the warehouse. The distance to travel to pick the ordered items will be reduced by this way.
  • In the similar way, order picking will be very efficient in case of stock items arranged in vertical racks with different levels. It is easier and time saving if the items are on ground floor but that would need a very large area for the warehouse. It is a good practice to store fast moving items on the ground floor and slowest moving items on the highest level on the rack. It is advisable to store heavier items on the ground floor and the lighter items on the upper racks.
  • Keep the similar category items together in one area. For example, all electrical items can be in one area, all plumbing items in another area and all bearings in yet another place. This will enable the warehouse staff to become familiar with the items of similar nature and will reduce the order pick time.

A proper study of the nature of the items such as fast moving, slow moving and non-moving items will help in proper layout planning and arrangement of items. This will improve labor productivity and help in cost reduction.

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