Effective "Pick" techniques in a Warehouse

(Please feel free to watch our video instead of reading)

One of our previous blogs had explained about "Location Numbering Techniques" that you might have already read. This blog tells you the reason why we should do Location Numbering effectively.

For an E-commerce business, once an order is placed by a customer, the system has to check which is the nearest warehouse that all the specific items are in place.

And if the items are not available in a specific warehouse, the system has to find other warehouses to fulfill the orders and list down the number of warehouses to visit.

Then, the next thing is to calculate the distance between each warehouses and thereby prepare a route plan that should connect all the warehouses but at the same time, through minimum time and effort. Now, the plan is all set upto the decision of warehouses.

The next aspect is very important as how to make an effective pick from one specific warehouse by considering minimum time and effort. Here, the system has to check how the required items are being placed within a specific warehouse. And most probably, the items are placed at different locations in a warehouse, through different racks. The system finds the different racks and plan for a effective travel within the warehouse. Following this plan to pick the items definitely saves time and effort to a great extend.

Here, the given techniques are some of the effective 'pick' plans which are being used by different companies.

One-Sided Picking

In above figure given, it is clear that each location in a row of racking is given a number as 1.1, 1.2, etc. The shared numbers denoted in the pick locations are the pick sequence. The shaded area is a pick location. This results in one-sided picking as denoted by the arrows. The order picker visits the locations on one side of the aisle and then returns to visit the locations on the other side. This is effective when aisles are reasonably wide or when the picker has to visit at least 50% of the locations in that aisle.

Two-sided picking

Here, likewise, the shared blocks denotes the required items to pick up. The order picker traverses the aisle only once as given in the figure and picks from both the sides at one pass. This could be more effective and time saving. This will even reduce the effort of travel significantly. This is referred to as snake path or S-shape picking.

Optimal Pick Way Path

This rigid sequence of locations does not, necessarily, lead to the shortest pick path. The ideal scenario is for the WMS system to fully optimize the pick sequence however, very few WMS cab be able to do this. But, in fact an experienced operator with a paper-based system is more likely to do this independently as technology prompts the picker to pick in numerical sequence. This warehouse optimizer can determine the best layout for an order-picking area. It determines the optimal number of aisles and blocks. Furthermore, it can be used to calculate average travel distances for order-picking applications.

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