Want to pick more efficiently without spending a fortune on technology?
Behold the batch cart. Though batch carts are not particularly sexy, says Sam Flanders, president of Durham, NH-based Warehouse Management Consultants, they can be especially useful. You don’t need anything more than a cart, some readable numbers, and a specially batched paper pick list to create an effective batch-picking device.
Batch picking is extremely effective when your pickers have to do a lot of walking in the distribution center. Any time you have a high concentration of SKUs over a larger area you want to use a batch-picking strategy because as much as 60% of the picker’s time is spent in transit, Flanders says.
Batch picking is effective in growing businesses as well. Simply put, as the number of SKUs increase, your total pick area will increase as well.
In small-order environments, characteristic of direct businesses, order batching can boost your pick rates from 60-70 lines an hour to 200 lines an hour or more, depending upon the order profile, and the average cubic size of your orders.
Hence the importance of the batch cart: Generally speaking, the more orders that can fit on your cart, the higher your resulting pick rates.
If you want to get high-tech, you can add a scanner-based or voice-based software system to the cart. Alternately, you can opt for the pick-to-light cart. All of these solutions have the major benefit that they support batching of multiple orders together.