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your warehouse might need some attention ... If picking is a treasure hunt

Written by Michael Badwi
Created: 01 September 2016

your warehouse management system and pickingI must have watched Peter Pan and the Lost Boys hunt through Never Never Land searching for Hook's treasure with my 4 year old 100+ times (which to be honest was fun the first 5 maybe 10 times) but if the pot of gold that you are searching for is to fulfill an order it can be a tedious, error prone and time consuming exercise.

I have seen warehouses where they store multi SKUs on a single pallet from the ground level right up to 7th level. Orders are then be sent through in multiples of cases or eaches and picked with a VNA turret truck picker. The process becomes even more compounded when counting is performed as cases need to be removed from the pallets to ensure that they are still “there”. If the above example makes you think OH MY WORD! Then the concept of pickfaces in the sky might make you cringe.

Although the process is similar to the one above, several DC's that I have visited actually have permanent pick faces, yet still pick eaches and cases from reserve. Why I hear you ask?! This is due to the facility layout not accurately representing the companies SKU order profile.

While these examples are from highly successful  companies, we actually see this as a matter of course rather than the exception. So how should one deal with such challenges?

Make your order data a priority

The starting point is to understand your SKU volumetrics, sales and stocking patterns, from there you can start to analyse the optimal layout and process in your facility.

Single SKU Locations

I would suggest that its best practice is to have a single SKU allocated to a location, this makes inbound, inventory and outbound processing so much simpler, cleaner and faster.

Location Marking

Have a clear concise location labeling strategy so that you can accurately track inventory into and out of those locations

Measure & Monitor

Ensure that your warehouse KPI's are tracking the appropriate productivity measures so that you can continuously review your team and facility performance.

A well thought out location strategy and resulting appropriate improved flow of goods will result in massive returns via reduced labour costs, improved accuracy and increased efficiency

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