Order picking is the method of finding and extracting products from a warehouse to deliver orders to the customer. Since the order picking method involves notable cost and can affect customer satisfaction levels up to a great extent, there has been an increasing number of improvements proposed to help companies with this supply chain issue.
Types of Solutions For Order Picking
Choosing an order picking system depends on a number of factors such as cost, complexity, the volume of customer orders, and the size of items and orders. Every company has different requirements, and one order picking solution may suit one business and not another. Supply chain experts have proposed a number of ways to categorize order picking systems. These are of four types:
1. Picker To Part
The picker-to-part method is the most common order picking solution applied in many warehouses. The process includes a storage area, a separate picking area, and a material handling system that refills the picking locations from the storage area. The handling system can be forklift-based or more specialized types of equipment.
2. Part To Picker
The part-to-picker method consists of the same elements as the picker-to-part method: storage area, picking area, and a material handling system. In this, the picking area is made up of a series of picking bays. Products are shifted from the storage area and delivered to the picking bays. Each bay collects the items for one or more orders. The picking operator then collects the products after they’re delivered to their bay and fulfills the customer orders.
This method can result in wastage labor because picking operators may find themselves waiting for items to be delivered to their picking location.
3. Sorting System
The sorting system method involves an automatic material handling system and multiple sorting devices. The material handling system consists of numbers of conveyor and items are placed on a conveyor in the storage area. Every item is sorted in a particular order. The operator in the picking area collects the items that have been sorted for a customer order and processes that order. This method can be more efficient because the operator does not have to collect individual items and thus it saves time.
4. Pick To Box
The pick-to-box method is similar to the sorting system because it uses the same component: a picking area, a storage area, reloading of the picking area, and a sorting device. The picking area consists of a number of picking zones connected by a conveyor system. The picking operator fills the box with the items on a customer order, and the box moves to the picking zones until the customer order is complete. It’s then ready for delivering to the customer.