When a stock picker pulls inventory from warehouse shelving to fill a custom order, he or she can do it inefficiently – or efficiently. Here are 10 ways an awesome stock picker eliminates wasted steps:
1. Good pickers work with picking methods efficiently
Different types of storage technologies may require different picking methods. Among the most efficient methods are those where the employee doesn't have to move to fill the order. With a sorting systems method, the order picker doesn't move and instead products are brought to him or her via a system like automatic storage or conveyor.
With the "pick box method," picking stations are connected by a conveyor and pickers can then fill individual order boxes with products from the station. The box then moves along to other picking stations until the box in question contains all the items in the customer's order.
2. Good pickers touch items just once
Experienced stock pickers touch items just once while they pack them. The pick areas are well organized so that stock pickers can pick and place items in order boxes, and then move on – no having to fumble around for missing or forgotten items that should simply have been in the proper storage place.
3. Good pickers double-check before they send orders on
Quality control is part of any warehouse set up, but a good stock picker will double-check his/her orders before they are sent on. Veteran pickers also make excellent quality control personnel for this second stage of the picking process.
4. Good pickers watch for and stay on top of new processes
The best pickers become more intuitive and knowledgeable about order picking on the job so that they can come up with their own efficiencies; when they can do this, they can assist other employees in becoming more efficient, as well.
5. Good pickers use system verifications to double-check their work
System verifications can double-verify every step in the picking process with methods like Count Near Zero or Count Back to check that inventory is a match with current pickings.
6. Good pickers use individual cart picks instead of conveyors
This helps avoid slowing down order picking because some pickers are slower than others. Good pickers can increase their productivity by up to 30% when they use individual cart picks instead of conveyor picking.
7. Good pickers start with smaller picks, and then progress to bigger ones
When pickers can start with smaller picks that are easily filled and then move onto more time-consuming picks, they can fulfill orders in less time.
8. Good pickers can use voice-recognition technology
With voice-recognition currently used in receiving inventory, it's also become a great piece of technology for order picking. Voice-recognition software lets pickers work hands-free, which means productivity is increased and errors are decreased.
9. Good pickers know which items are high sellers and which are less so
High selling items can be placed closer to picking areas for easier accessibility, while slower moving products can be placed further away. Good pickers will instantly know where items are placed based on sales volume so that order fulfillment is efficient.
10. Good pickers are aware of how different types of storage technology work
Pallet racks, drawer systems, pick modules, carousels (horizontal and vertical), and shelving are all efficient methods of storage, depending on the items in question. Products vary in terms of size, popularity (slow and fast movers), weight, and many other characteristics. Each of these different storage technologies has its place in storage applications, and good pickers know how to best manage picking from each one.
These will be helpful if you are a distribution center supervisor or an order picker who wants to improve. Are there other examples of how awesome stock pickers eliminate wasted steps you know of? Please share in a comment below.