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Efficiency is at the core of our business. Anyone in supply chain management knows that maintaining a streamlined supply chain is imperative for the successful operation of any business. From the customer’s perspective, most of that success hinges on the last (and often, most tedious) leg of the supply chain: product distribution. Recently, retailers and logistics companies alike were faced with a new distribution challenge. As online shopping grew in popularity, retailers were increasingly responsible for shipping their products directly to consumers, not stores. As a result, the industry had to find the best way to ship a high volume of small orders quickly and inexpensively. Read on to learn the advantages of pick and pack distribution.

What Is Pick and Pack Distribution?

Pick and pack distribution is exactly what it sounds like. Retailers store products in bulk cases or pallets in a pick and pack warehouse. When an online order is received, it’s processed through the warehouse’s inventory software, which generates a list of the products to be shipped. Then, workers pick these items from the retailer’s on-site stock, pack them up and ship them off.

A man with an iPad on a production line taking inventory of boxes on roller trays.

What Methods Are Involved with Pick and Pack Services?

In general, a warehouse has a greater number of outbound shipments than inbound. The majority of warehousing labor cost comes from these outbound shipments, but there are ways to generate efficiencies based on the type of order that is headed out. Typically, a pick and pack service provider incorporates the following methods into their arsenal.

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 areas. 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.

Order Consolidation

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.

Why Would a Company Want Pick and Pack Distribution?

Unless you’re a retail behemoth like Amazon, operating your own pick and pack operation can be very costly and time-consuming. Outsourcing to a warehouse eliminates the need for individual businesses to invest in or maintain their own warehouse space (and the workforce to manage it). With the help of an outside logistics specialist, you can focus on your core competencies without the additional stress of managing every moving part of your own supply chain. Using sophisticated inventory management software, a company like CWI Logistics can keep a constant eye on stock levels and guarantee prompt delivery to your customers.

Pick and Pack Distribution for Small Businesses Is for Small Businesses, Too.

The advantages of pick and pack Distribution for smaller companies are vast. Large warehouses receive more comfortable shipping rates because of their high volume of orders. They also have their own customer service teams who specialize in shipping. So if you’re running a small business, a third-party pick and pack service can allow you to offer the same level of service, security, and shipping speed as a larger competitor.

CWI Logistics Is Your Leader

Ultimately, pick and pack services help ensure that customers receive their orders intact and on time. And since the way your product arrives can determine how much trust your customers place in your company, choosing a responsible, experienced warehousing company like CWI can be one of the most important business decisions you make.

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