Ways to optimize your order preparation
Order preparation is a key element of the merchant's performance and plays a major role in improving customer experience. A problem with stock availability or inefficient storage in the warehouse can quickly add to the time required to manage the customer's order and increase the risk of errors (incomplete order, preparation error, etc.).
Here are a few good practices to implement to make the order preparation stage an advantageous and positive stage for both the merchant and the customer.
If the warehouse is arranged in a way that optimizes the circulation between the shelves, the operators will take less time to circulate from point A to point B and will therefore be able to manage more orders.
Depending on how the shelves are arranged, the operator saves time when picking. For example, an efficient storage can be explained by a storage of the references according to their rating with the customer: if they are very, moderately or little sold. To optimize the route, the operator must be able to access the required reference as quickly as possible. If the shelves are not automated, the product must not be too high, too low or too deep.
- The ABC method follows Pareto's law and indicates that 20% of the goods in stock correspond to 80% of the total value of the stock. The more the goods are requested by the customer, the closer they should be to the operator when stored in the warehouse.
This reduces the operator's workload. Such an organization also allows him to gain freedom since he will avoid crossing paths with his colleagues too often and will limit the risks of accidents at work. Once again, it is the analysis of the products sold that will determine the worker's route so that he does not find himself in a crowded preparation area, having to wait to access the product he is looking for.
Finally, to optimize his route, it is important that the picker passes the merchandise in the right order. For example, the heaviest goods first, or the foodstuffs first, then the toxic products second, but never during the same route to avoid the risk of spoliation of the product.
To limit the number of trips and make them relevant, picking methods can help the operator.
- The Pick to Light method : each shelf is equipped with light tags to help the picker find the product. Managed through a WMS, the sensor turns off when the operator has informed the software that the right amount of product has been picked.
Once again, to improve the working conditions of the operator and make him productive, the carts for picking and the furniture for order preparation must be perfectly chosen.
To make sorting and picking easier, the break-down sorting method can be used. It works when the orders are composed of several references and not of a single product.
The method consists of picking multiple SKUs for multiple orders as they travel between shelves before returning to the picking area. There, the picker separates the merchandise by dividing it into boxes, each of which corresponds to an order. When each box corresponds to a complete order, all that remains to be done is to pack them for shipping.
The boxes must be adapted to the size of the references and in sufficient number so that the operator can place in them all that he is able to take in a single picking turn.
It can be interesting to integrate the Pick to Light technology to this way of working, in order to allow the operator to move between the shelves with the bursting cabinet, so that a luminous beacon indicates to him where to pick and in which compartment to deposit the reference.
The most important step in the process of optimizing order picking is to know exactly which references have the highest turnover. It is also necessary to ensure that the order picker works in the best conditions, according to the characteristics of the goods handled.
The use of a WMS tool is then to be considered to centralize the received orders, to manage the waves of picking and to inform all the actors of the Supply Chain, including the customer, of the progress of the preparation of the order.
Monstock is the stock and flow management solution that organizes all your orders to satisfy your customers. WMS, TMS, OMS, Monstock offers you a 360° vision on your Supply Chain. Manage the layout, storage of your warehouse and merchandise as well as your picking to save time and money.
To learn more, contact the Monstock team.