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How to be a faster warehouse picker?

WMS Explained

Top tips for faster, more effective ecommerce picking and packing.   

If you’re running a warehouse for your ecommerce business, speed is everything! Slow processes, delays to orders, lengthy fulfilllment times and hold-ups in your operation are killer. You don’t want to be missing deadlines for things like next-day delivery, and if you don’t clear one day’s worth of orders in that day, the next day’s come piling in, and so-on, until you are buried under a deluge of orders you just can’t fulfill quick enough.  

So much for all those marketing efforts! Influencer campaigns and much-hyped product drops are only going to give you more of a headache, and more of a backlog, unless you can, quite simply, fulfill faster. And it’s not just the pain felt by your team. 69% of shoppers won’t purchase from a retailer again if their order isn’t received within two days of the promised delivery date!  

So, if you’re worried about warehouse picking rates, and looking up how to be a faster warehouse picker, this is the article for you. Here are our top tips for how to pick faster in a warehouse, and how to transform your ecommerce picking and packing operation for exceptional customer experience and improved warehouse picking rates. 

1. Be smart about where you put your best selling items 

If 50% of your sales come from your best selling 10% of items, it makes most sense to have those items located as near the shipping stations as possible, to cut out walking time.

2. Batching up multiple orders for the same item

If 100 people have all ordered the same thing, send one person to collect all 100 items in one go, instead of including those orders in various other pick runs through the day. 

3. Divide your warehouse into zones

Send 5 pickers to 5 defined areas of the warehouse to collect items only from their zone. This will stop the pickers repeating each others steps, wasting time and getting in each others’ way. 

4. Maximise your pickface

Use as much space as possible in the warehouse for picking locations, rather than bulk storage, to stop having to replenish the pickface as frequently. 

5. Separate similar looking items

By using dynamic locations, you don’t have to put all the blue mediums next to the large mediums, which can slow down pickers. If you’re looking for the only blue thing in an entire aisle, it makes finding the right item much faster. 

6. Easy to follow app

Tech should improve warehouse efficiency for everyone. If you’re using a mobile barcode system, make sure the instructions to move from one item and action to the next are crystal clear and without distraction.

7. Pick and sort as you go

Often it’s not picking that slows your operation down so much as time taken to sort multi-item orders. If you sort the items you pick into totes on a trolley, one order per tote, by the time you have finished your pick run, you make packing and shipping those orders much less of an undertaking. 

8. Gamify your work

By putting dashboards up in the warehouse, you can show everyone working who is the fastest picker, who has packed the most orders, and who is lagging behind. No-one wants to be last, come the end of the day! 

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