Companies work hard perfecting the ideal business model by tweaking product development, boosting sales numbers, and getting manufacturing specifications in place. The fulfillment aspect of any business, however, can still pose challenges even to seasoned operations veterans. Pick and pack distribution can require a different process dependent on each specific order. This can be frustrating for business owners accustom to streamlined models and predictable manufacturing routines. Outsourcing distribution to a 3PL that offers warehousing and pick and pack services can help make order fulfillment easier in the long run.
In general a warehouse has a greater number of outbound shipments then inbound. The majority of warehousing labor cost comes from these outbound shipments, but there are ways to generate efficiencies based of the type of order that is headed out. Typical pick and pack services incorporate the following methods:
Single Order Picking
These orders are typically the easiest to fulfill. A single order is placed for shipping and prioritized by ship date. A pick label may be used to identify what will be shipped to the customer. This is ideal for wholesale ordering or larger orders that occur for a specific customer on a regular basis. The focus on single order picking is to increase accuracy and eliminate downstream handling.
Multi-Batch Order Picking
When multiple smaller orders need to go out, batch picking is the ideal pick and pack solution. These orders are more effective for pickers traveling lengthy distances within a warehouse or other pick area. This method is used for orders that come from different parts of the warehouse and in the end reduces the order pick times by picking multiple orders all at the same time. Multi-batch order picking also cuts down on the time needed to process numerous SKUs. The focus on multi-batch order picking is utilizing software and procedures to help reduce pick time and eliminate the mixing of orders.
This method works by grouping picked merchandise by customer or shipping destination. Using this information typically allows for a single pass through a pick area and focuses on shipping time as a priority. Consolidation is ideal for multiple orders headed to a similar destination or marked urgent. In these cases, cross-docking can help add even more efficiency and speed up the distribution process.
These methods are only guidelines for effective pick-and-pack distribution, but not absolutes! These exist to eliminate what can be a labor and time-intensive part of the fulfillment process. Streamlined pickup, shrink-wrapping, labeling, and weighing inventory before timely shipping is essential to better sales and fulfillment practices overall. Whether business-to-business or business to customer, Commercial Warehousing can assist your business’s fulfillment needs with pick and pack services. We work with businesses to get the best results possible.