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Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Batch Picking Basics

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Batch Picking Basics

Batch Picking and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)

Growing distribution centers (DCs) are well aware of the two constant challenges to achieve both productivity and accuracy in fulfillment. As the Amazon model begins to make every company a multi-channel fulfillment company, knowing if you are picking the right order or, more importantly, picking the order in the right way becomes an important determinant in the overall productivity of your operations.

In our previous two blogs,we covered the basics of wave picking and discrete picking.   

Batch Picking and the Warehouse Management System (WMS)

Batch picking allows the picker to collect all the products required in a wave (a group of orders) before packing them into cartons. For each pick, you are guided to the pick bin, and told the product and quantity to pick, but not the cartons into which to pack the items. Instead, you place the products in aggregate onto a pallet, cart, or into totes and bring them to a sorting area where you then segregate them into cartons for the appropriate orders.

The benefit of this wave picking method that it fits best when  a warehouse layout that  is not designed for bringing cartons through aisles of pick bins. It is also an efficient way to pick a large number of orders (each with a few lines), as it lets you split the picking and packing functions between two people.

When planning a Batch Pick process, consideration must be given to pack station space and configuration. At the pack station, the pack operators will be breaking down the batch of inventory into discrete orders (this is often referred to as a secondary pick) so there should be adequate space and equipment to support the inventory and handling. Similar to Wave Picking, the primary benefit of batch picking is reduced travel time associated per order. However, process benefits should also factor in the increased space and labor required to perform the secondary pick process at the pack stations. Pick labor versus pack labor is the balance to measure when Batch Picking.

Top Objectives for Overall Picking Strategy:

  1. Keep pickers picking - Pickers in waiting are not conducive to increasing productivity.  Keep a queue of orders and/or products available to the picker. This requires an effective replenishment strategy if you are using a forward pick/reserve storage layout.
  2. Keep pickers picking - Take of the pickers plate any non-pick tasks. Do not bog pickers down with other tasks such as carton erection and taping, labeling, wrapping, adding dunnage, etc. Pickers are typically your most skilled warehouse resource.
  3. Minimize product touches - Ideally, it is best to design your pick process so that there is sufficient accuracy at the time of picking to eliminate the need for subsequent checking and repacking. Each unit of product is touched only by the pickers’ hands before the carton is sealed and transported to an outbound truck.
  4. Minimize travel - Pick from both sides of the aisle from properly sized pick modules. Unused space between pick modules and pick lanes can unnecessarily lengthen a pick path. Segregate slow movers from fast moving SKUs to avoid repetitive, unproductive travel past them when not needed.
  5. Reserve storage - Consider picking very slow moving SKUs from reserve storage rather than forward pick bins. Seek opportunities to batch pick many smaller orders in one trip. Pick all one-line, single-piece orders together since no sorting is necessary to break them down into a discrete order level.

Learn more about critical features to consider when upgrading to a Warehouse Management System

Posted by iCepts Technology Group, Inc. An Accelos and Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partner in Pennsylvania

About iCepts Technology Group, Inc. Middletown, PA

We are a Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partner offering implementation, service, and support for Microsoft Dynamics NAV in: PA, DC, DE, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, VA, WV, and the entire Mid-Atlantic Region. We also offer implementation, service, and support for Accellos One Warehouse Management Systems in: PA, DC, DE, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, VA, WV, and the entire Mid-Atlantic Region.

As experienced SCM, WMS and ERP consultants and value added resellers (VARs), we provide start to finish services for the solutions we represent Microsoft Dynamics NAV for Distribution and Manufacturing, Accellos Warehouse Management System (WMS), Server virtualization, open source VOIP phone systems and infrastructure and security. We provide services that cover process analysis, implementation, training, security and networking. Naturally, we also provide full ongoing support for years after implementation to help our clients succeed. We are your one stop shop for your business technology needs.
Contact us for additional information by clicking HERE or give us a call or send a note:

Phone: 717.704.1000
Email: info@icepts.com

Another version of this article was previously posted by iCepts Technology Group, Inc.- A Pennsylvania Microsoft Dynamics NAV Reseller on August 25,2016 - Warehouse Management Basics Batch Picking

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