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How does Pick and Pack process works?

by Zeeshan Khan

The pick and pack process are a lot like arranging a suitcase; you begin by selecting some clothes from your closet and organizing and packing them in your suitcase. However, pick and pack fulfillment is not as simple as it sounds. In reality, a lot goes into the pick and pack fulfillment process.

Gathering items for each order and packing them into boxes is fine, to begin with, but as your business scales, you need to embrace different pick and pack strategies to keep up with increasing order volumes. Your business size and the products you handle will determine the best pick and pack method.

Pick and pack describes all the activities involved in pulling items from their individual locations in a warehouse or order fulfillment facility and packaging them in compliance with customers’ requirements and specifications.

The last process before shipment or last-mile delivery, pick and pack fulfillment is a critical supply chain function. How it is handled can significantly impact customer satisfaction levels.

With the advent of consumerization and the growing number of online shoppers and e-commerce outlets, logistics operators can optimize the pick and pack process to differentiate their services and gain more customers. This is particularly true in the world of e-commerce. According to Convey, 98.1% of online shoppers say that delivery impacts their brand loyalty, and 83.5% of consumers say they’re less likely to buy from a brand again following a single negative delivery experience.

Logistics operators that offer same- or next-day shipping almost always have strategies in place for ensuring a smooth, seamless pick and pack process. These strategies include choosing the right picking method (or a mix of picking methods) and deploying warehouse automation technology.

Your choice of picking methods can make or break your pick and pack operations and impact customer satisfaction. Since the latter is critical to maintaining/increasing brand awareness and ensuring a healthy bottom line, it’s essential for warehouse managers and other stakeholders to critically analyze several factors before deciding on a picking method. These factors includeCustomer service requirements, Physical product characteristics, Facility size and layout, Level of automation, Type of infrastructure and technology in place, Specialized procedures, Operational maturity, Available resources, and workforce, after reviewing the above factors, supply chain managers can then make an informed decision and choose one or more of the picking methods which are Discrete order picking, Batch picking, Cluster picking, Zone picking, Wave picking, Multi-batch picking, Zone-batch-wave picking.

Here are several basic picking methods that many warehouses rely on for fulfillment:

Piece Picking

In piece picking, the picker/employee takes the packing slip of a single order, moves around the warehouse, and picks the ordered items off shelves. Once all the order items have been gathered, the employee takes them to the packing station to be packed. Piece packing is one of the simplest pick and pack methods, ideal for small businesses.

Batch Picking

Like piece picking, batch picking is effective if a business has enough orders to group into batches. Each individual- batch of orders includes items that can be found in the same warehouse area, making it easier for pickers to find items on shelves. Rather than pick and pack each order as it comes in, batch picking is more efficient.

Zone Picking

Zone order picking works best for large fulfillment warehouses where each picker is assigned a specific area of the warehouse to pick one order at a time from that area. Once picked, the order is passed off to a picker in the next zone. After an order has moved through all the zones that contain the items on the packing slip, it is sent to the packing station.

Wave Picking

A blend of batch and zone picking, wave picking involves workers picking items within a particular zone for a batch of orders instead of a single order. Therefore, workers stay within their respective zones but pick multiple orders at a time. Then they transfer the batch to the next zone when it is ready for picking.

Cluster Picking

The cluster picking method is used to fulfill multiple orders simultaneously. Pickers travel through the warehouse, retrieving order items on multiple order/pick lists and collecting them into separate containers/bins. Cluster picking eliminates frequent trips to the picking location.

Packaging is an integral aspect of the e-commerce fulfillment process, and it’s important to distinguish between the various levels of packaging since each is suited for different types of products.

Types of packaging that together form a typical packaging line:

Primary Packaging

Commonly referred to as a consumer unit, primary packaging is the first level of packaging that stays in direct contact with the product. The primary purpose is to preserve the product and protect it from damage and contamination. The first layer of packaging, it is mostly intended for the end consumer. The primary packaging may convey printed information to consumers, such as the cardboard box containing the cereal pouch.

Secondary Packaging

The secondary packaging is the second layer used outside the primary packaging to create a SKU (stock-keeping unit). An SKU is a group of smaller products collated to create a single package. The secondary packaging adds an additional layer of protection to preserve the integrity of the primary packaging and often serves as a container for smaller shipments. Secondary packaging materials are made up of various components such as boxes, bags, papers, separators, padding, etc.

Tertiary Packaging

Tertiary packaging is used for packing larger quantities of stock-keeping units to transport them from one location to another. Thus, tertiary packaging comes in handy when products are handled at distribution units. It protects products from damage, facilitates handling and storage, and makes it easier to transport large shipments. A stretch-wrapped pallet of cardboard boxes is an example of tertiary packaging.

One of the major benefits of the right pick and pack strategy is improved customer service and satisfaction levels.

The right pick and pack strategy will ensure on-time shipments, which can be used to build a loyal customer base and engender competitive differentiation.

The right pick and pack approach is efficient and saves time. It speeds up order fulfillment activities and enables goods to be inventoried, stored, picked and, packed in one location. Since all order fulfillment activities are performed under one roof, this shortens the tedious process in which products are assembled from various storage facilities and sent to another location for packing and labeling.

pick and pack is cost-effective. It maximizes asset utilization and minimizes operational costs. A warehouse management system can help streamline the process by collating and managing operational and inventory data as well as packaging information. A fulfillment management system helps optimize orders’ storage and fulfillment, boosting throughput.

Logistics operators can achieve greater cost-efficiency by leveraging collaborative robots. Collaborative mobile robots like Chuck by 6 River Systems are optimized by a fulfillment management system. They guide associates through each task to boost efficiency and tap into machine learning and AI to optimize real-time pick routes, reducing unnecessary walking.

Highlighted red will go to this page https://www.amsegroup.com.au/fulfilment/

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