How does your material flow through the warehouse? Evaluating your order picking processes involve a myriad of considerations in your day-to-day operations. What products are picked and their respective specifications help determine the most efficient and effective material handling solution to move the product—providing a path of least resistance.
SKU profiles play a critical role in the pick path. And evaluating those profiles to get a clear picture of what type of product needs to move throughout is important in determining its path. Lighter and smaller products may be more apt to picking first, putting them at the start of the pick path vs. larger, bulkier and heavier items towards the end. In evaluating the SKU profiles, various picking technologies shed light to the most effective ways to move product and improve order picking efficiency.
It is critical to create a warehouse footprint environment that encompasses both—a cohesive pick path and the material handling equipment to handle and manage those SKUs.
One cannot talk about a pick path without talking about slotting/zone slotting—allocating product to various zones/locations in your warehouse. If done right, slotting can improve order picking efficiency as product is placed and picked based on SKU characteristics (fragile items, light items, easy-to reach items). For example, products that are generally picked together may have adjacent locations, and products that move faster than others may be closer to the conveyor for ease of picking. Zone slotting, much like pick path, requires a constant and accurate pulse on the SKU, tying back to the importance of the SKU profile. Without a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the material flow within your warehouse, you are left at a fork in the road.
SKUs are plentiful—products keep moving. The path of least resistance is that road of sorts that allows the product to flow seamlessly throughout the warehouse; navigating its way through various channels to reach its final destination. It’s up to you to implement a pick path that highlights and maximizes throughput effortlessly, efficiently, and effectively.
Author: Heather Connors, Director of Marketing, Conveyor Handling Company
Looking to implement a picking path in your facility!