With moderate changes to the pick process coupled with the use of proven packing technology, an operation can accelerate order processing, saving valuable time and money as well as reducing the pressure on your warehouse team.
With a busy period around the corner for many of us, we often expect more from our warehouse packing and picking operation than we do the rest of the year. This can lead to fatigue, stress and low morale of the warehouse team as well as put a lot of pressure on the rest of the system. There are however things that can be done or implemented to help improve the efficiency of your warehouse operations, thereby relieving some of this additional pressure. With moderate changes to the pick process coupled with the use of proven packing technology, an operation can accelerate order processing, saving valuable time and money as well as reducing the pressure on your warehouse team.
- Picking efficiencies - Ensuring your warehouse is designed for efficiency
Gathering the items to fulfil and order is one of the most time costly activities in order fulfilment, but the good news is there are many things that can be done to improve the time this part of the operation takes. Keeping your warehouse well organised seems a bit obvious, but is so important in maximising efficiency. It’s worth mentioning and re-checking on your part.
- Ensuring top-selling products are located closest to the relevant packing stations
- Keeping products that are often packed together next to each other
- Arranging your warehouse inventory from top selling to least ordered and considering vertical and horizontal locations of these products.
- Keeping floors and packing areas clean and clear of clutter to avoid accidents
2. Minimise handling
Every touch involved in fulfilling the order in the warehouse has a cost to the operation. Minimising the amount of times the products are handled can dramatically improve your efficiency and save valuable time and money. Think about how many times a product is handled in your picking and packing process and if there are any ways this can be reduced. This could be through focusing on reducing picking errors, or asking your operatives to pick straight into the packaging box to avoid unpacking and repacking at the packing station.
3. Double checking each order
The cost of return shipping, repicking, packing and re-shipping the correct item is massive to your warehouse operation and can lead to unhappy customers and loss of future business, so minimising this should be a priority to ensure efficiency. Even with the use of advanced software, you should have a ‘real’ person responsible for double checking your goods before they’re shipped.
4. Packing efficiencies
Regardless of how you picked it, each individual order must still be suitably and securely packaged and marked for transit before shipment. In most packing operations there is usually room for efficiency saving and optimisation. Here are a few of our top recommendations for maximising efficiency in your packing:
- Pre-printed pack slips - Operators pick a pre-printed slip instead of waiting on one to print, which often leads to a bottleneck in the pack process.
- Having dedicated packing stations for manual packaging and a clear flow of operations to completion.
- Ensuring the packing stations are organised and that supplies the packers will need are always close at hand to do the job without having to find things or source new supplies during the working day.
5. Packing automation
- Quick void fill - Void fill top off done very quickly in a packaging line can greatly improve packing times. There are many options in the market for this and most packaging suppliers can recommend the best option for your packaging operation or even design a custom solution for you like a bespoke hopper over your packing station.
- Automated tapers - A conveyer that feeds an automated taper that folds the flaps of the box and applies tape can dramatically improve both the time taken in manual taping as well as the quality of the seal.
- Inline scales - The conveyor then continues to an inline scale where the package weight can be captured and recorded quickly.
- In larger packaging operations there are massive cost and time savings to be made in automated strapping and palletisation machinery. Often seen as a luxury or cost-prohibitive, these machines in reality pay for themselves in efficiency savings and improved package protection in transit. Many packaging suppliers can help you calculate the savings that can be made and determine if these are the best option for your specific needs.
Swiftpak specialise in optimising your packaging operation, we are more than happy to help you work out where savings can be made.