Customers are continuously demanding faster deliveries from companies. Order fulfillment from warehouses has a significant impact on the speed of deliveries. Thus, in the advent of online shopping, the efficiency of order fulfillment matters more than ever.
The warehouse pick rate significantly impacts the efficiency of order fulfillment. Warehouse operations managers must identify opportunities to improve the pick rate. For example, you can start using industrial containers for faster, easier, and safer order picking. Examples of industrial containers include totes and bins.
There are many more ways to improve your warehouse pick rate. Keep reading to better understand warehouse pick rate, how to improve it, and how to reduce warehouse picking error rates.
What Is a Warehouse Pick Rate?
Warehouse order picking is the process of retrieving goods from storage to fulfill a client’s order. It is an integral part of order fulfillment and uses a lot of labor and capital. The cost of order picking can even amount to more than half of a facility’s operating costs.
A warehouse pick rate is the number of products picked within a particular period. The pick rate directly impacts the speed of delivery, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
Human beings are prone to making mistakes. Employees can make errors in order picking leading to dispatching the wrong order. High warehouse picking error rates result in a lot of additional costs.
Higher costs derail profitability. Thus, companies are always looking for ways to improve pick rate while reducing the picking error rate.
However, you may be asking yourself what causes an inefficient pick rate in the first place. Using the wrong picking model is the leading cause of high warehouse picking error rates. The picking model you used a few years back may not serve you anymore. That could be because the warehouse now processes a larger volume of products.
Advantages of an Improved Pick Rate
An improved warehouse pick rate leads to numerous benefits for any business. Some of the benefits include the following:
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Customers form a crucial part of any business’s success. So, companies must prioritize customer satisfaction if they want to thrive. When you improve pick rate in a warehouse, it directly impacts customer satisfaction.
Faster pick rates translate to products getting to delivery trucks and customers faster. Quicker and accurate deliveries play a significant role in improving customer satisfaction. If order picking is slow, it causes delays and lower customer satisfaction rates.
As mentioned earlier, an improved pick rate contributes to customer satisfaction. Pleased customers are more likely to buy from the seller multiple times. When a customer becomes a repeat client, it means more sales for the business. Additionally, a faster pick rate means a warehouse can fulfill more orders. More sales lead to increased profitability and business success.
Strategies to Improve a Warehouse Pick Rate
A slow and inefficient warehouse results in problems for businesses. Thus, managers must improve the pick rate while minimizing warehouse picking errors. Here are some strategies to use to improve a warehouse pick rate:
Evaluate Order Profiles
Take time to analyze your order picking process on two levels. First, consider your order mix. Make sure you comprehend your high and low volume mix. Then, maximize on material handling equipment like hopper bins and pallets.
These types of equipment can have a significant impact on efficiency. Second, assess your order size to ensure you have the proper handling equipment for any order size.
Improve Your Storage Process
If you want to improve warehouse efficiency, use the right storage plan. Also, use storage equipment like trays and boxes for better organization. An exemplary storage plan allows you to store items logically while maximizing space.
Most times, the organization of warehouses is haphazard. People place products in any available space, not considering strategy. Having a warehouse organization strategy will improve the pick rate.
For example, you can place popular products near the start of the picking area. You can then put the least popular products near the back of the area. Sorting according to popularity will allow for faster order picking.
Select the Right Picking Strategy
The right picking strategy can set your warehouse up for success. There is a variety of picking strategies that you can choose from. Each of the strategies has its benefits.
One picking strategy is piece picking. It is one of the most popular and straightforward methods for an improved pick rate. In piece picking, an employee will go to the warehouse and source for products. Piece picking is suitable for smaller warehouses.
Another picking strategy is batch picking. Here, an employee picks many different orders at once. Batch picking is best for warehouses with more volume. Other picking strategies are:
- Zone picking
- Wave picking
Limit Picker Travel Time
Reducing movement is a great way to increase the warehouse pick rate. If workers walk long distances, they will get tired quickly and spend too much time moving. That time could go towards fulfilling orders. Having tired workers may increase the warehouse picking error rates. Warehouse managers can choose a picking strategy that reduces travel time. In doing so, they can improve the pick rate and reduce the amount of warehouse picking error rates.
Make Use of Slotting
Slotting groups the same inventory items in one location. Proper slotting allows you to group products according to size, demand, and other shared factors. Using slotting will enable workers to pick products quickly and with less movement.
It is essential to leverage technology to improve your warehouse’s pick rate. You can use conveyor belts to transport products around the warehouse. Barcode scanners can help track products as they leave the facility.
Automation can free up workers to dedicate more time to picking items. It can also contribute to the actual picking process.
Make Improvements to Your Warehouse Layout
The warehouse layout can contribute to inefficiency. For example, congestion and unused space between racks can increase picking error rates in a warehouse. Take time to assess the warehouse layout to ensure it allows for a fast warehouse pick rate.
There are always opportunities to improve the warehouse pick rate. All you have to do is assess your current process and identify how to make it more efficient. You can follow the tips above to enhance your pick rate and thus make your warehouse run more smoothly.
At MDI, we offer top-of-the-line warehouse storage and picking products. Contact our team today to learn how to improve your warehouse’s pick rates and drive customer satisfaction.