Strategies to Improve Warehouse Pick Volume Efficiency

Strategies to Improve Warehouse Pick Volume Efficiency

When it comes to warehouse management, getting orders out the door quickly and accurately is the name of the game. This specific process is known as picking — the act of finding and collecting products to fulfil customer orders. As e-commerce continues to boom in Australia (and worldwide), warehouses have had to evolve into high-tech hubs, buzzing with new technologies and smarter ways of working. This transformation is reshaping how we think about and manage order fulfilment.

But even with all these advancements, there’s one area that’s always ripe for improvement: warehouse picking. In this article, we’re going to explore how warehouse picking is a critical piece of the fulfilment puzzle. We’ll look at the cutting-edge tools and strategies transforming this process, from robotics and to advanced warehouse picking software, and how they can help your business stay on top of the supply chain game. 

The Importance of Picking Efficiency

It’s an open secret in the warehousing world that order picking demands a lot of manpower and is a significant part of the warehouse’s budget, making up more than half of total labour costs. This means that picking efficiency isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s essential for keeping operations cost-effective and smooth. Poor picking efficiency can ripple negatively across customer service, operational costs, and the entire supply chain. It’s clear: streamlining your warehouse picking process is synonymous with boosting your profits.

Embracing Technological Advancements

Modern challenges require modern solutions. Embracing tech advancements is key to staying ahead. Whether it’s refining inventory systems or streamlining order fulfilment, the current logistics climate necessitates cutting-edge, tech-driven solutions to maintain efficiency and competitiveness.

1. Implement a WMS

When combined with a well-run warehouse and dedicated staff, warehouse management picking software can boost productivity without compromising precision in order fulfilment. Among the many functions a WMS should perform is the automatic generation of pick lists, the precise presentation of product availability, the provision of real-time insight into the status of orders, the prediction of when to replenish inventory via reorder point notifications, and the facilitation of staff labour planning. 

2. Get the Right Tools

To automate processes, improve worker safety, and facilitate faster, smoother traffic flow, warehouse management teams need to equip their facilities with the appropriate tools and machinery. There are always new ways and new tools to use to improve the warehouse picking process, such as forklifts to move large containers and rows of high warehouse racks to stack pallets, conveyor systems for sorting orders, barcodes and inventory scanners to improve tracking, and even wearable devices to do away with paper or bulky laptops. 

3. Optimise Your Warehouse Space

Optimising warehouse space is vital, especially considering how closely linked different order fulfilment processes are. As you introduce new tools and refine existing ones, your warehouse must adapt to maintain efficient workflows at every stage. This includes enhancing warehouse picking efficiency and possibly integrating a mezzanine floor system to maximise vertical space and streamline operations.

Additional Strategies for Enhancing Picking Efficiency

Improving pick rates doesn’t come from a single sweeping change but from a series of smart, incremental steps. Warehouse managers should always be on the lookout for more efficient order picking techniques and know how to maximise their use. To reduce picking times, the most efficient methods prioritise easy access to the most frequently selected items. Here are some things to keep in mind to maximise warehouse picking efficiency:

1. Minimising Travel Time

A considerable chunk of your team’s time is spent moving around the warehouse. By strategically placing high-demand items closer to dispatch areas and optimising rack arrangements for easy access from both sides, you can significantly cut down on travel time. Additionally, grouping multiple orders in a single trip and using efficient material-handling equipment can further streamline the process.

2. Establishing Hot Zones

Creating ‘hot zones’ for fast-moving items can drastically improve picking efficiency. These areas, designated for items in high demand or those with seasonal peaks, should be positioned to reduce travel time and reduce congestion.

3. Using the A-B-C SKU Strategy

The A-B-C SKU strategy is an inventory management method where items are categorised based on demand and value. ‘A’ items are high-demand or high-value and crucial for profit, requiring careful management. ‘B’ items have moderate demand and value, and ‘C’ items are low in both but bulkier in quantity. This strategy optimises storage and picking processes, enhancing overall efficiency.

4. Reassessing Warehouse Layout

An efficient layout is key to smooth operations. Ensure your warehouse design allows for easy navigation, quick access, and efficient use of material-handling equipment. A well-thought-out layout can significantly boost picking efficiency.

5. Investing in Quality Equipment

Quality material-handling equipment can revolutionise your picking process. Tools like hand trucks, dollies, and carts, along with well-organised containers and bins, ensure that everything is in its right place, enhancing both speed and safety.

Combining Warehouse Picking Strategies

The message is clear as day — there’s no silver bullet solution to improve your warehouse pick volume efficiency. Rather, it’s more like orchestrating a well-tuned symphony of different strategies. This could be refining your commercial mezzanine floor layout for optimal use, reducing travel time, and harnessing the power of advanced picking WMS technology. Each of these components plays a vital role in ensuring that your warehouse functions at its best, particularly in the dynamic e-commerce landscape in Australia. 

Looking to upgrade your warehouse’s picking capabilities? Unistor is here to help. As Australia’s leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial mezzanine, we offer bespoke services and solutions designed to accommodate your business’s growth and expansion plans. Our team of experts is dedicated to creating a system that aligns with your specific requirements and future goals.

Learn more about how Unistor can transform your warehouse into a more efficient, growth-ready operation. 

Double the floor space in your warehouse

Contact our professionals today to tailor a Mezzanine Floor solution to meet your requirements