Pick and pack is one of the keys to successful order fulfillment. If you can get your products off the shelves and ready to ship with zero error, that’s half the fulfillment battle already won. Today’s ecommerce landscape requires pick-and-pack operations to move faster and more efficiently – and with industry giants like Amazon offering same-day delivery, consumers expect faster speed of service and a seamless experience. Plus, you need to be able to move inventory quickly to reduce inventory carrying costs.
One of the keys to good pick and pack is visibility. Not just visibility in terms of locating products within the warehouse, but visibility into your supply chain as far as product lead times, freight rates and shipping deadlines, and more (this is especially crucial if you’re drop-shipping). It would be best if you were in regular contact with your suppliers and manufacturers about stock levels and inventory movement to ensure that things move smoothly. Technology that updates in real time, and constant communication, will ensure that your suppliers are in the loop and customers aren’t kept waiting.
Tips To Pick Quick
1. Place fast-moving items near the packing station. The cardinal rule. If it is ordered often, put it where you can grab it! You can even ask your supplier to pre-package it in your packing materials so they are ready-to-ship: all you need to do is print and position the label. This can be done for products sold in single units and rarely purchased with other products, like electronics.
2. Place frequently bought together items near each other. Shampoo and conditioner; cleanser, toner, moisturizer; tablets and tablet sleeves. There are certain products that are sold separately but frequently at the same time. Facilitate easy picking by keeping these items stored close to each other.
3. Try kitting. Better still, you could try kitting products. Products often bought together can be combined into a single package and sold as one unit. These pre-packaged products can then be shipped out, and the customer gets a value-add while you sell more and save time.
4. Organized shelving. Another way to streamline the pick and pack process is organized shelving. We know it sounds almost too basic to include in this list, but you’d be surprised how many warehouses still lack neat, well-organized shelving. The longer it takes to locate a product, the more productivity you lose. Know which products move fast and make them easily accessible. Keep things at an easy-to-reach level, and avoid placing heavy/sharp/large objects on high shelves. No one wants a giant shoe rack or a surfboard falling on their heads! Your shelves should also be organized and labeled to make products easy to locate. Plus, each product/shelf should have labels, sizes, and SKUs printed in a legible font that catches the eye.
5. The right staff makes a difference. And, of course, the people involved in the operation make all the difference. You need to hire right and train well. Your staff should be able to meet the demands of the job, which include being on their feet for long hours, wrapping and handling packages, and understanding seasonal fluctuations. And above all else, your staff should know the brand and the products well, so that consumers have a seamless experience from when they place an order until they receive it.