How should you design your order pick strategy?
In the last few weeks we published several blogs within the order picking theme. We started at the base: 4 components for the best order picking strategy. Followed by the tactical placement of slow- and fast moving products within your warehouse and creating efficient walking routes. Next, we focused on your order pickers and mentioned 5 attention points for their efficiency. A lot of theory, substantiated with some practical explanation. Now, we will move more towards applying the components, tips and attention points. Which order pick strategy suits your work processes best?
Building from the base
So, you now know what you basically should focus on. Your order pickers also know where they can save time and your warehouse is efficiently arranged. Now you should decide what kind of assignments you should give your order pickers via their scanner. In this blog I will give you some alternatives to consider.
Sequential versus parallel
First of all, you have to choose whether you want the warehouse employees to work sequentially or parallelly. With sequential order picking, the entire orders are handled completely by one person. From beginning to end. In parallel order picking, several employees work simultaneously on one order. For example different product categories for one customer, where it would be inefficient to cross through the entire warehouse for an order.
Per order versus per item
Another choice you should make is the one between picking per order or picking per item. Do you want an order to be fully completed before a new one is started? Or do you prefer that a picker takes care of multiple picking lists and collects similar products? Both of these methods can be performed sequentially or parallelly. Boltrics can then configurate this with your WMS, even if you work with similar products with the same features (e.g. mobile phones).
What does this depend on?
The beforementioned is (of course) dependent on certain factors. Firstly, the assortment is important. Do you have many similar products or product groups? Is your assortment extremely different? This can affect the number of orders per day, the second variable that you have to keep in mind. Within the food or FMCG sector for example, order quantities run high. But when you work with furniture or kitchen appliances, these numbers are significantly lower. How do you currently deal with this? This brings me to the third aspect: the products themselves. Each product has its own characteristics, which in turn affects the warehouse and inventory format. This is where the fast- and slow moving goods come forward again.
General rules of order picking
You might notice that this blog raises a lot of questions. And that is exactly the case with order picking: there is not one correct answer or a general order pick strategy. In practice, there are too many different factors to draw up general rules. There is a reason we can write so many blogs about it. The only thing that can be seen as a general rule: in most cases sequential collection per order works best if the number of order lines per order is not too big. When this number grows and the range remains limited, parallel picking can be considered. But again, this is not always the case.
Ask yourself the right questions
You really need to ask yourself the right questions and then answer them yourself. If you can answer them, this means you have a clear overview of your processes. This way you can determine the correct order pick strategy based on the above variables and the earlier blogs. If this is hard for you, contact us and we will be happy to think along with you.