For most smaller companies, the pick, pack, and ship process represents the greatest time consumed – and largest inefficiency.
That’s not bad. It simply means you have ample opportunity to improve your operating efficiency so you can divert more time and money toward other business investments.
In your pick, pack, and ship process, these are the areas to audit and analyze to win big efficiency gains:
1. Implement an Order Management Software System
Your software should help your employees pick the entire order in a single pass, eliminating the need to check and recheck an aisle multiple times. You should also be able to pick multiple orders simultaneously.
That means your software works with wireless devices to map routes so it understands where you keep your inventory. And all the data related to the pick should be kept digitally on a handheld device (not on printed paper).
2. Optimize Inventory Locations
Which of your products sell the fastest right now? Do you have seasonal items coming up soon?
Your fastest-selling inventory should be located nearest your packing stations. And if you have multiple products that frequently get bought together, they should be located near one another also.
You might also consider creating kits, which means you simply pre-pack the items together so they’re ready to ship when ordered.
3. Audit Picking Paths and Minimize Touches
In an ideal world, your order only gets touched once during the pick, pack, and ship process. That means no errors. And it means packing the order correctly the first time.
You shouldn’t have to repack the item into different size containers. Think of that as “rework.”
Make sure you include regular audits of your pick, pack, and ship paths and the number of touches. It’s easy to become inefficient, especially during times of rapid growth.
Understand This Isn’t Simple!
The pick, pack, and ship process is complex. It’s not easy to fix it in just a few days. And the more employees, products, and orders you get, the harder it is to optimize – and keep it efficient.
So the sooner you analyze and optimize your processes, the better. And the more regular you make your optimization, the better.
Make it a priority – and watch the efficiency of your company increase in response.