Did you know that picking orders is the most costly exercise in warehousing?
In the competitive warehousing world, efficiency is the game’s name. The picking process, which involves selecting and retrieving items from storage, is a critical aspect that significantly impacts a warehouse’s operating costs. In this blog, we’ll delve into practical strategies for reducing warehouse picking costs in the United Kingdom enhancing productivity and profitability.
Implement Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)
A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is a powerful tool that can transform your picking process. It optimises inventory management, order processing, and route planning, reducing picking time and fewer errors. WMS offers real-time data and analytics, enabling better decision-making in warehouse operations.
Batch picking is a strategy that groups multiple orders to minimise the distance travelled within the warehouse. By consolidating orders based on location or product type, your pickers can efficiently gather items, improving picking efficiency and reducing labour costs.
Pick-to-light systems utilise visual displays with lights and indicators to guide pickers to the correct location and quantity of items. This technology reduces picking errors, enhances accuracy, and increases productivity by providing clear visual cues.
In a zone-picking system, your warehouse is divided into zones, and each picker is responsible for a specific zone. This approach reduces congestion and minimises the need for long travel distances, making picking more efficient and cost-effective.
Voice-picking technology provides pickers with instructions and item locations through headsets or mobile devices. This hands-free method increases efficiency and accuracy while allowing workers to be more flexible in their movements.
Regularly evaluate your warehouse layout and product placement. Optimise your slotting strategy to ensure frequently picked items are easily accessible, reducing the time spent traversing the warehouse.
Optimising warehouse space is something we pride ourselves in, we make the best use of every square foot on site, get in touch and see how we can help your warehouse work smarter for you.
Cross-docking involves unloading incoming shipments and immediately loading them onto outbound trucks. This reduces the need for storage space and increases order fulfilment, decreasing operational costs.
Employee Training and Development
Invest in ongoing employee training and development to enhance skills and efficiency. A well-trained workforce is less likely to make errors, leading to cost savings and improved overall performance.
Labour Management Systems (LMS)
LMS software helps monitor and optimise workforce performance. By analysing labour data, you can identify areas where productivity can be improved, resulting in lower labour costs.
Real-Time Data and Analytics
Leverage real-time data and analytics to track and optimise the picking process. This helps identify bottlenecks, assess picker performance, and make data-driven decisions to reduce costs.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
Automation technologies, such as conveyor systems and autonomous robots, can handle repetitive tasks in the picking process. This reduces the need for manual labour and can lead to substantial cost savings in the long term.
Seasonal Labour Flexibility
Consider hiring temporary or seasonal workers during peak seasons to manage the increased demand. This flexibility ensures that you have the workforce you need without overloading your year-round staff.
Implement a culture of continuous improvement within your warehouse. Regularly review and refine your processes to identify opportunities for cost reduction.
In conclusion, reducing warehouse picking costs in the UK requires a combination of technology adoption, process optimisation, and a well-trained workforce. The strategies outlined here are applicable in the UK and can be tailored to suit the specific needs of your warehouse. By focusing on efficiency and accuracy in the picking process, you can enhance your warehouse’s profitability and competitive advantage while ensuring timely and accurate order fulfilment for your customers.
We hope this has provided you with some insight into areas to consider when looking to cut picking costs. If you’d like to disciss this further or any of your warehouse concerns, get in touch.
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