Order picking is a key step in the supply chain. It consists of picking and gathering the different elements of an order to send them to the final customer.
Why is order picking a key step in the supply chain?
Poor order picking management can have serious consequences for an organisation. In a world where the customer is increasingly demanding, errors and/or delays in an order can lead to dissatisfaction or even frustration which can damage the company's image. In addition, poor order preparation management can lead to economic losses and thus impact the sustainability of the business: management of returned parcels, replacement, disruption of the organisation, impact on stock management, etc. When time and resources are not used optimally, additional costs are generated. This is why it is essential to properly organise and manage order picking.
What solutions are available to optimize order picking?
There are several solutions for optimizing order picking. This article will deal with solutions that limit unnecessary steps, different picking methods and smart picking solutions.
Limit unnecessary steps
In order to optimize order picking, the first step is to limit unnecessary steps. Planning is essential for this. Planning allows you to arrange the space so that order picking is as quick as possible. Good organisation of the space makes order picking easier and reduces the risk of errors. There is, for example, the ABC organization method. This method classifies items according to their representation in sales. The items in class A are the best-selling items and are therefore more accessible. Planning also makes it possible to optimize the route of the operators when picking items. Good organisation of the items and proper planning ensure that the operators' movements are optimised. This saves the company time and increases efficiency.
Choosing the right picking method
There are two picking methods: the Goods to Man method and the Man to Goods method. The "Goods to Man" method implies that the items come to the operators. It is therefore the product that moves in this case. The "Man to Goods" method, on the other hand, means that the operators move to pick the items.
In addition to these two methods, systems such as “pick to light”, “pick to voice” and “put to light” can be implemented. The “pick to light” system consists of a light signal that tells the picker where to pick up the items in an order. The “pick to voice” system means that the order pickers receive instructions in spoken form about the items in an order. The “put to light” system uses a light signal to indicate in which bin the operator should place the items of an order.
These systems simplify the work of the order pickers and reduce the risk of error. Order picking pace is also higher.
The smart picking solution
Smart picking is an innovative and mobile solution that optimizes order preparation and reduces the risk of error. Sherpa Mobile Robotics (SMR) offers a smart picking solution. This solution can be adapted to different uses such as picking by zone, picking by station, or even replenishment. The solution proposed by Sherpa Mobile Robotics enables more fluidity, because it combines the use of an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) with an intelligent picking software. Moreover, the robot works closely with the operators and relieves them of the burden of carrying loads. This reduces the workload of the operators and the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). In addition, to facilitate the work of operators, the Sherpa Mobile Robotics smart picking solution is equipped with IoT (Internet of Things) modules to implement "pick to light" and "put to light" systems. These systems mentioned above reduce the risk of error. The smart picking solution is also ISO 3691-4 certified. This certification testifies that the Sherpa solution is safe. Furthermore, the solution proposed by SMR is easy to implement and can be adapted to the specificities of your environment without changing your infrastructure. The deployment of the solution is fast and does not require extensive training. Finally, the smart picking solution from Sherpa Mobile Robotics leads to the optimization of order picking in a quick and efficient way.
More information on the smart picking solution
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