4 Tips to Streamline Your Pick and Pack Process

May 31, 2012 1:50 AM  By

As a direct-to-consumer merchant, your order fulfillment operations are as critical a piece of the customer experience as your front-end activities. The accuracy, appearance, and delivery time of your shipments will ultimately affect customers’ perception of your brand. So it’s important that the processes your warehouse has in place maximize both operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Not sure where to start?


Here are four tips for making your warehouse’s pick and pack process more efficient and more cost-effective as well.

Item location
Layout is a critical piece to running an efficient warehouse. Arrange the picking areas so that high-selling or fast-moving inventory is located in areas closest to the packing stations. This will increase labor productivity by reducing the amount of time it takes for a warehouse worker to pick an order and prepare it for shipment. If you have SKUs that are frequently purchased together, locate them near each other.

Pick areas
Your warehouse shelves should be optimized for accurate, efficient picking. That means bins that are easily accessible, easy to see into, and proportional to the size and quantity of the products they hold. Product areas should be neatly organized so that workers can select products quickly without having to dig through or sort multiple SKUs to find what they need.

Standard packaging
At the packing station, packers should spend their time giving your customers’ orders a special touch – not constantly making decisions about which box to use or how to best wrap the contents for shipment. Have several package sizes that are predetermined to fit your products and average order sizes/weights without being oversized or oddly shaped. This practice not only saves time during the packing process, but can also save you money on shipping costs as well.

Kitting
Kitting, or the pre-assembly of individual products into a ready-to-ship package, is a great way to streamline the pick and pack process. Not only can kitting complementary items save time during the order picking process, it also reduces the amount of time and materials needed to pack the order. We’ve seen this method work especially well for ecommerce retailers who sell in bulk quantities or have product offerings that are frequently purchased together.

Jake Vogel is vice president of operations at outsourced order fulfillment provider Fifth Gear.