How to improve picking speed

Warehouse supervisors are always on the lookout on how to improve picking speed. Further still, ongoing comradery among team members causes peers to always seek to outdo each other, with safety in mind of course.

In this post, we’ll be sharing some strategies that can increase warehouse picking speeds. Some of these are fast to implement with minimal costs.

Consider picking methods

There are numerous picking methods that can improve picking speed. Some operations have been using the same methods for years, whilst others are open to trial out different strategies for enhanced productivity.

Some may choose to pick by zone, reducing unnecessary travel times between BIN locations. Commonly, those picking with trolleys will pick within small zones.

Some might instead to pick by inventory type. In the instances of a forklift driver, they may be assigned to pick only the heaviest of items that cannot be manually handled by personnel.

Others can pick based on timing. Busy warehouses with limited staff rotate staff and have scheduled receiving times to minimize dispatch operations. Some CartonCloud clients, for example, choose to schedule the receiving of inventory for night shift teams.

Lastly, some pick based on urgency. Some freight needs to dispatch quickly, especially at peak seasonal times. Some warehousing operations choose to pick express freight prior to cut-off times before allocating resources to regular freight.

Simplify picking locations

Picking locations need to be clearly marked for personnel. This can avoid dreaded mis-picks. Inventory of similar types (size, colour, material) shouldn’t be placed directly next to each other where possible.

BIN locations should also be clearly marked in large writing. Those on forklifts should clearly be able to see the BIN location from some distance away. At the same time, the location should be easy to interpret, even for the largest of operations.

Items in BIN locations should be kept singular where possible. In the case where a BIN might have 5 to 10 items, warehouse personnel therefore have to spend additional time finding the correct SKU, and this simply does not improve picking speeds.

Create operational-wide training

Those whose role predominantly is picking and packing orders need to be well trained. This avoids staff from creating their own picking regime and instead works with the operational standards.

Training can be simplified or complex, but does need to be initially delivered in the induction process. Regular toolbox talks are also helpful in emphasizing the need to adhere to picking standards. A supervisor should also ensure that warehouse pickers are maintaining flow in the field.

At the same time, supervisors and managers should always be looking at new ways to optimize their warehouse systems. This can boost not only productivity and freight movements but also employee morale and worthiness.

Start with the system first

Every warehouse has a system of some type. Those that are looking at how to improve their picking speeds in the warehousing and logistics industries would likely find solid benefits in a robust software system.

CartonCloud, in almost every case, does improve picking speeds for warehouse personnel. This results in greater and more efficient freight movements and reduced shelf life. Our cloud-based system now has thousands of users across Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia actively enhancing their operations.

Increased warehouse picking speeds does start with the system in mind. Give us a call as we may have the ideal solution for your operation.