A manual pick and pack process can result in longer data collection cycles and slower pick times. Both lead to higher operational costs. Order pickers and order picking methods vary as greatly as the distribution centers that use them. Automated order picking systems design and increasing speed and efficiency is a key parts of every CASI solution.
The future of warehouse operations is trending towards fewer human touches on customer orders. And more decisions are being automated by intelligent warehouse management systems. Regardless of which type of order picking a customer utilizes, from cluster picking to discrete picking, any large order fulfillment operation will see the benefits of automating the order picking process.
Order Picking Carts: Smart Carts
CASI’s Smart Cart and its intelligent software improve pick times, lowers order pickers’ overall travel time and distance, and reduce operator errors.
The CASI server receives all of your orders at a time from your host system. CASI’s software optimizes your pick waves based on several variables such as inventory locations, SKUs in the order, and more. The CASI server then distributes orders to each Smart Cart. Each cart is equipped with a mounted tablet, a rechargeable battery, and a hand scanner.
Having multiple assigned orders to a cart allows for pickers to pick in bulk with SKUs to multiple orders. CASI selects the cart based on your container parameters. The tablet is a flexible feature that can be mounted to different carts as your pick carts change over time.
Tablet-Based Order Picking
CASI also specializes in tablet-based picking. Tablet-based picking has a configurable GUI interface, yielding a customizable and easily updated experience for the user. CASI can design and implement comprehensive picking systems to fit your unique requirements with reliable and flexible intelligent solutions.
CASI’s A-Frame Dispenser systems can be arranged in various configurations to automatically dispense fast and medium-moving items. Items can be dispensed either directly into totes or shipping cartons or onto a conveyor for downstream sortation. Replenishment can be performed on the fly, at any time without stopping the picking process.
Each dispenser is built using 9’ plug-and-play modules that can easily be configured for your operation. Dispensers are great for hard goods products that can be uniformly stacked including round objects such as pill bottles.
- Dispense to the belt, tote, or shipping container
- Adjustable channels
- Replenish on the fly
- Modular plug-and-play design
Order Picking: Definition, Methods, and Advantages
Order picking is a crucial process in the fulfillment of customer orders in various industries, including e-commerce, retail, and distribution. It refers to the systematic retrieval of items or products from their storage locations to fulfill specific orders accurately and efficiently. The goal of order picking is to assemble the required items in the correct quantities while minimizing errors, maximizing productivity, and reducing costs.
Several methods are employed in order picking, depending on the nature of the business, the size of the operation, and the types of products being handled. Here are some commonly used methods:
Discrete Order Picking: This method involves picking one order at a time. Order pickers receive a single order, gather the required items from the storage location, and move on to the next order. Discrete order picking works well for businesses with low order volumes or when the products are large or bulky.
Batch Order Picking: Batch order picking involves picking multiple orders simultaneously in small batches. Instead of focusing on one order at a time, pickers collect items for several orders concurrently. This method can improve efficiency and reduce travel time, especially when multiple orders share common items or are located close together in the warehouse.
Zone Order Picking: In zone order picking, the warehouse or distribution center is divided into specific zones, and each picker is assigned a dedicated zone to fulfill orders. Pickers become experts in their assigned zones, increasing their familiarity with the layout and products. This method is particularly useful for large facilities as it reduces congestion and travel time.
Wave Order Picking: Wave picking involves dividing the picking process into distinct waves or stages. During each wave, specific items are picked for multiple orders. Once all waves are completed, the items are consolidated and sorted before shipping. This method is effective in high-volume operations, improving efficiency by minimizing the need for pickers to revisit the same area repeatedly.
Implementing efficient order picking methods offers several advantages for businesses:
Increased Accuracy: Effective order picking methods, supported by technology such as barcode scanning or pick-to-light systems, reduce the likelihood of picking errors. Accurate order fulfillment enhances customer satisfaction, minimizes returns, and builds a reputation for reliability.
Improved Efficiency: Optimized order picking methods can significantly improve operational efficiency. By reducing travel time, utilizing batch or zone picking, or implementing wave picking, businesses can process orders more quickly, meet deadlines, and handle larger order volumes.
Cost Reduction: Efficient order picking methods can lead to cost savings. By reducing errors and minimizing the time spent on picking tasks, businesses can lower labor costs, decrease operational expenses, and improve overall productivity.
Enhanced Warehouse Utilization: Well-planned order picking methods can help maximize the utilization of warehouse space. By organizing storage areas strategically and optimizing picking routes, businesses can reduce congestion, utilize vertical space effectively, and accommodate more inventory.
Flexibility and Scalability: By implementing adaptable order picking methods, businesses can easily scale their operations to handle increased order volumes during peak seasons or periods of growth. Flexibility in order picking allows for efficient handling of diverse products and varying order profiles.