Logistics efficiency must be addressed in multiple facets of the 3PL business. However, Order fulfillment is one of the most relevant areas needed for efficient processes. Warehouse picking productivity and accuracy requires a great deal of organization and attention to detail and, if not done well, can impact your business with higher costs and inaccurate deliveries to your customers.
Order picking truly represents the quality of the warehouse operations. When customers don’t receive the product that they ordered, it talks to not only the efficiency of the warehouse operation but the lack of verification process to ensure zero errors.
Order Fulfillment is usually a key KPI (key performance indicator) that reviews not only order picking accuracy but also indicates the quality of the operational processes.
There are several strategies for picking that can fill orders in the shortest time. The most common are batch picking | zone picking | wave picking and unit picking and can be a variation of these. It’s all about streamlining the process to maximize productivity. With WMS systems, these strategies are embellished and can result in huge results especially when barcode scanners are used.
Product and warehouse layout can also impact productivity. Minimizing travel times between pick locations and placing fast moving products closer to the dock and shipping stations can improve the pace of order picking. Having clear and identifiable location signs for your aisles and product positions will also help improve our picking process.
There are so many elements to efficient order fulfillment and it’s necessary that you delve into your 3PL’s approach to this area of their business. At Pacific Coast Warehouse, picking strategies are designed and implemented based on the characteristics of your business. Some areas that we have implemented that ensure a high level of accuracy are:
- Warehouse and Customer layout design. After review of your order profile and order history, we design a layout of your products that take into consideration density of product. Our goal is to place product in the right slots, reduce travel times for pickers and touch items once.
- Picking Strategy. We implement a variety of pick methods based on order drop volumes and order characteristics.
- Established and trained team. While we cross train our associates constantly. We have a team of people that are not only trained but very familiar with your business. This allows them to have knowledge of your products and customer requirements. This team of individuals are also valuable members who provide input as to changes that are necessary to achieve higher results.
- Tracking of performance. The only way to improve is to track performance. We look at order turnaround times, order accuracy, customer satisfaction, order returns, etc. All these areas will give us a snapshot of our performance specific to your business and order. We use this information to identify issues, re-train, fix slotting and signage, or to celebrate perfect performance. All are necessary.
Logistics efficiency is always an overall performance goal for PCW and the Order Fulfillment area is a key contributor to that efficiency and the quality of the operation. Our operational approach, PCW WAY, is our guideline for addressing metrics of productivity, cost, and accuracy.
Read more about the PCW WAY, our business approach to QUALITY.