Order picking is a continuous cycle. Knowing the process inside out can help you automate your order picking methods, whether you’re looking at pickers per order or lines or periods per shift. If your picking methods need updating, here are the four top order picking methods for your warehouse.
Discrete order picking
This is the most widely used method thanks to its simplicity. Discrete order picking means one order picker works on just one order and completes it one line at a time. This would be ideal if you were using few operatives and the garage shelving Ireland businesses rely on as stock keeping units (SKUs). Orders are not subjected to scheduling and therefore can be picked at any time during the day.
The advantages are obvious. This easy method has a fast response time and can be easily tracked when you’re assessing picker accuracy. It’s also ideal for paper-based picking, although it does involve a high degree of travel. Cart-based automation is often helpful here.
In this methodology, each picker has their own defined zone. This is often referred to as the pick and pass method, and it means that the picker in any area is responsible for picking all of the SKUs in that area.
However, there is only one scheduling period during a shift, so if an order is received after the cut-off point, it will not be fulfilled until the next shift.
In this methodology, a picker will deal with a batch of orders one SKU at a time. If there are multiple orders with the same SKU, the picker only needs to travel to a given location once. This significantly boosts productivity by limiting travel time. Batch picking is generally used for a relatively small number of SKUs that are physically small.
If you’re relying on garage shelving Ireland made for your SKUs, cluster picking could be another option. This methodology involves either pick-to-cart operations or vertical lift modules. By picking multiple orders at any given time, the picker only needs to make one pass, thus avoiding unnecessary travel.
On a larger scale, the cluster picking methodology can be automated not only to avoid unnecessary travel but also to limit the number of machine cycles for optimum efficiency.