The Next Big Challenge
What will be the next big challenge in the warehousing industry? Every person wishes they knew how to answer that question so they can be more prepared for the future. In the materials handling world, new challenges come in many different forms. There is the challenge of growth, not enough laborers, and of not enough productivity. These challenges are what I like to call the “positive challenges of being successful. The strength of a company like NITCO is the ability to take all of these “positive” challenges and turn them into a success story.
The productivity of an organization can either drown it or showcase its true brilliance. Some view the warehouse as the part of the company that is an evil necessity. The warehouse is an unexpected key to keeping an organization afloat. Without a well organized and flowing warehouse, you will ultimately have a dissatisfied end user. There are two different forms of order picking in your facility, and each one of these processes will improve productivity, cycle time, and accuracy.
Orderpicking: Location and Accuracy
The first style of picking is piece picking (broken case picking or pick/pack operations). All of these fancy definitions are short for the system of picking individual items. This method helps drive down the life of a cycle time. In a world where nothing is done fast enough, this method helps to address the need for instant orders. Location and accuracy are extremely key when dealing with this method. Whether you are piece picking by basic order picking, batch picking, zone picking, or wave picking, a well defined system for your pickers is imperative. The type of system you choose is dependent on the amount of picks and the amount of order pickers. Remember that setting up your picking orders is all about the location. The whole success of an operation could be jeopardized, depending on the accuracy rates. This will help solve the challenge of utilizing the labor hours you have more efficiently.
Productivity, Cycle Time and Growth
Another style of picking is case picking. An application for this style would be if you have a limited variety of products and barcodes. The simplest version of this style of picking is the basic case-picking method. The product is stored either in pallet rack or floor locations. Very narrow aisle (VNA) lift trucks have revolutionized the world of warehousing. This solution will not only double pallet positions (in most cases), but it will also give you high pick rates. By using this equipment, you can utilize the case picking method of wave picking. Utilizing this method helps reduce cycle time for large orders with multiple picks per order. This method will address all three “positive” challenges of productivity, cycle time, and growth.
From Mediocre to Positive Change
This is just barely touching the surface of methods that will take a mediocre warehouse into a well working and highly functioning tool. These methods will improve the productivity, organization, and ultimately the success of a business. You should never become stagnant with the current condition of your company, and always be ready to face that next “positive” change with a success story.
By Marcus Warner
NITCO Materials Handling Solutions
150 North Plains Industrial Road
Wallingford, CT 06492
O – 888.828.7767