Order fulfilment and pick and pack aren’t the most glamorous topics, but handling them correctly can substantially reduce your overall costs, and mean more profits at the end of the year.
DMG Freight Services offers some of the lowest prices for warehousing, pick and pack and distribution for any provider serving the London area, and a lot of our customers (and competitors) are curious how we can do it.
So how do we keep our pick and pack costs affordable?
Below we list some of the tricks to efficient warehousing and order fulfilment management that we use to keep prices down, and customer satisfaction up
1. Understand and review your product profile. Know which lines are most subject to seasonal or other variations, and keep the most popular lines most accessible in the warehouse.
2. Use the right picking method for your product. As most e-commerce retailers carry a wide variety of SKUs, flexibility is important. Be able to shift between batch, multi-order and single order picking in different circumstances.
3. Use a good WMS to sequence your orders efficiently. A good software package can sequence orders by path, batch together orders for efficiency, and keep the best possible warehouse flowthrough. Don’t skimp on your WMS.
4. Most often, a small portion of your SKUs account for the majority of your orders. Group them together, and keep them accessible. The amount of man-hours saved can be dramatic.
5. Alternatively (or also), keep your fastest SKUs at waist to shoulder height on your racks. Not only are they faster to pick, the health and safety benefits are substantial.
6. Keep your fastest moving SKUs in a box or pallet flow system, and reserve bin shelving for slow moving products.
7. Standardised packaging. If you reduce the number of different sized boxes you have to deal with, you can standardise your packing and freight procedures as well. The time and money savings are well worth the trouble.
8. Automation. Depending on the size of your facility, you might look at conveyor belts or trolleys, or even articulated robots or automated lift trucks. Your pickers spend more than half of their time moving around the warehouse. Machines can do that less expensively.
9. Tagging your SKUs. Whether you choose bar codes, RFID tags, or even voice activated systems, you’ll need some way to track the movement of units without humans writing it down.
10. On a more practical level – turn your warehousing, pick and pack, and order fulfilment operations over to a well-qualified 3PL. You almost certainly noticed that most of the solutions above aren’t practical at the single e-commerce retailer level. 3PLs provide fast and efficient service for less than you spend doing it all yourself because we operate at larger scales than any of our individual clients. That’s the real secret to our prices.