Picking and Packing Management
This is one of the most important sectors in the process of moving loads in storage units.
There is some confusion when we use the expressions picking and packing. It is important to make it clear that we are talking about different but interconnected subjects. Picking is one of the operations in the Logistics sector where the separation of goods that will be destined for customers takes place. But before shipping, these products need to go through the packing sector, where what was ordered is packed. In short, picking = picking, packing = packing. It was clear? Excellent! So let’s get to work.
There are many ways to sort products in warehouses and distribution centers. See some of them now:
- Discreet picking: when the operation is carried out entirely by a single employee, who takes care of that specific order from the beginning to the end of the process;
- Picking by zone, area or department: when the process is divided by zones and each employee serves a single SKU (Stock Keeping Unit, in other words, it is the code of each product, used to organize what is stocked). It is suitable for stores with high quantities of products and high demand for orders.
- Batch Picking: When a batch is built by multiple SKUs and each contributor serves a batch with multiple different SKUs. Thus, each employee is responsible for orders that have the same product. In this way, he optimizes his time and the operation in the warehouse.
- Picking by wave: when each employee serves a single SKU for a predetermined period of time or shift, to avoid product accumulation in the shipment. It is similar to the Zone Picking method. The difference is in the time limitation.
- Bucket Brigades: It is a strategy in which the team works in a synchronized way, as orders are completed. It works like a continuous production line. When an operator finishes picking an order, it moves on to the next one that was initiated by another operator.
This is one of the most important sectors of the process of moving loads in storage units. The above methods can help improve operational performance, depending on the characteristics of each business. But the suggestions below, given by the SkyHub website, can also be very helpful. follow up.
- Use Pareto’s Law – also known as the 80/20 rule, this principle is based on the thesis that 80% of the results achieved are a consequence of 20% of the efforts applied. But in the picking area, Pareto’s Law makes it possible to conclude that 20% of the items sold correspond to 80% of the movements. Therefore, the products with the highest turnover must be in the positions that are easier for operators to access. You may need to modify the warehouse layout.
- Keep adequate amounts of stock – it is necessary to know the minimum time that your suppliers take to replenish each item sold by you, as well as the average sales (orders) of each product. Greater control over your supply chain, including inventory turns, reliable records of the available quantity of each item and notions of stock replenishment time are points that help improve your insight into your business’s sales cycle and can drive improvements. for picking management.
- Make products easier to see – organize the location of each item, if applicable. Shelves need to be “addressed” so that you can easily find any item by following a pre-defined categorization.
- Forget paper forms – or at least take care of keeping all processes and information managed in an automated way. This process is essential to avoid making mistakes or prolonging too much a perception that should be simple. This involves the help of an ERP, but also of other tools that support each stage of sales, such as receiving and managing orders and controlling stock on all the platforms where you sell. An integration tool with marketplaces is very useful to provide this visibility and drive a single inventory for sales across multiple channels.
- Get rid of obsolete stock – stock must be lean and some management concepts such as “Just in Time”, purchasing only when necessary, can adjust to your reality. Study the possibility of burning your margin, without compromising the business, to sell them at more attractive prices.
- Improve the speed of operation – data collectors, radiofrequency systems, better technologies and team involvement in management systems oriented towards process improvement, such as the Kaizen Model (focused on the pursuit of continuous improvement), can boost the efficiency of your picking management. Kaizen will be able to contribute with good team spirit, morale, self-discipline and perception with all professionals focused on improving quality and efficiency.
- Think about adopting cross docking – cross docking is an alternative that can reduce storage costs by about 25% when the operation of distributing products in the warehouse, from one truck to another, becomes only in the dock areas. This strategy is only indicated for those who have greater sales predictability.
The analysis of a specific case of your company will define the most suitable picking model and the suggestions above can improve the management of this operational process. It is essential that the defined strategy seeks a balance between efficiency and agility. But before leaving the warehouse, the product needs to go through the packing sector, which is also very important. In fact, the ideal is that two areas (picking and packing) are close to each other. No customer wants to receive a product that is broken because of packaging failures. Therefore, below are some of the main techniques used in this sector, indicated by the website Blog do Tiny:
- “loose filling: the product is always placed inside a larger box with some protective materials, such as pieces of foam, paper or styrofoam balls;
- wedging and shoring: the shipping package is shimmed and braced (inside) with a more resistant material, which can be used to protect specific parts of the order;
- wrapping: the protective materials completely wrap the order units, the most common materials being bubble wrap, styrofoam inserts or inflatable packaging;
- molded liners: liners are made specifically for the product, fitting neatly into the original shape of the item or packaging, thus coating them completely.”
When the packaging is well done, the company reaps a number of advantages. The order is in perfect condition, shipping efficiency is increased, returns are reduced, the customer is satisfied and, probably, loyal to the brand. Simply put, future sales are guaranteed. But to be able to reap the good fruits of an efficient separation and a well-made packaging, it is necessary to monitor the services through KPIs that evaluate the performance of the team. Among the performance indicators here are some that can help the entrepreneur in this control:
- Labor cost: Functional and training costs must balance billing results;
- order separation time: you can analyze collection/hour worked, for example;
- waiting time in shipment: measurement of the average time in which the order waits for dispatch;
- picking time: time used by employees to pick each order;
- team productivity: how is the performance considering locomotion and the type of product in weight, volume, unit;
- measurement of service quality and compliance using OTIF (On Time, In Full).
The management of these two operations must be done by a good data management system (ERP) so that failures are identified as quickly as possible, thus reducing possible losses.
We at Águia Sistemas can collaborate in this process. We are able to help your company with the most modern in terms of Intralogistics. Here are some of the solutions we have for your company when it comes to picking and packing:
- “Free Movement Systems: Cargo transport systems without motorization, which can direct the loads to the packing areas.
Motorized Conveyors: Systems with motorization that can direct the loads to the packing areas.
- Flow Rack: It can be a solution with or without conveyor belts and also a combined solution at different levels of pallet structures with the use of mezzanines for the movement of operators in the picking areas.
- Mini Porta Pallets: These are structures that can store small loads that also allow manual access in various operations. They can be integrated into other structures using mezzanines.
- Mezzanines: Type of structure used to enable the logistical operation with the movement of people in the picking areas.”
(The text above was constructed with information from the websites aguiasistemas.com, blog.tiny.com.br, blolg.bling.com.br, ideris.com.br, orgfelix.com.br, pier8.com.br e skyhub.com.br)