Pick and Pack Services: 3 Challenges and How to Overcome Them
The most crucial warehouse process that impacts order fulfillment is pick and pack challenges. This procedure involves collecting ordered items from an inventory and packing them for shipment to customers.
The pick and pack process is one of the first steps in the order fulfillment process. Thus, efficiency is an absolute must during this step for a company to maintain a perfect order rate.
During the pick and pack process, not only is it important to locate items quickly, but to ensure they are securely packaged. You don’t want your customers receiving damaged items.
What are some of the biggest challenges that pick and pack services face?
Since the pick and pack process is so crucial to the order fulfillment procedure, it must go smoothly. You want to avoid compromising order fulfillment times and, subsequently, client satisfaction.
However, there are certain obstacles inherent in this process. The following are some of the most common challenges that may complicate the pick and pack process:
Inventory record inaccuracy
If inventory records are inaccurate, this could lead to incorrect order scheduling and longer lead times. This creates confusion about how much stock is available.
Let’s say, that an inventory record shows there are 1,000 units of an item available. Great, but in reality, there are only 500 units. So, if a customer orders 800 units, their order will be delayed until another 300 units are available.
Additionally, if the shortage is not discovered before the pick and pack has begun, it will waste time. The time that could be spent on other tasks.
Missing product information
Another element that can negatively impact the efficiency of a pick and pack process is a lack of product information.
Certain types of data are necessary to effectively pick and pack items. Data such as the total number of SKUs by the category of products. The average number of lines per order and units per order. Product groups (e.g. hazardous, temperature-sensitive, or high-value items). And finally, product dimensions and/or weight.
When this information is missing or difficult to access, it slows down picking efficiency and leads to poor packaging. This results in product damage and customer dissatisfaction.
Poor turnaround time
The time it takes to process, pick, consolidate, and pack an order is known as the turnaround time (TAT). Although the goal is to always minimize this time as much as possible, some things can occasionally prevent that. TAT can increase for various reasons, including poor product placement, inefficient picking methods, and an unorganized warehouse, among other issues.
Even just one of these issues can negatively affect order fulfillment efficiency. However, shipment times significantly increase when multiple issues like this pile up due to ineffective planning or poor organization.
What are some of the best ways to overcome pick and pack challenges?
Although there are a few major challenges that get in the way of efficiency during the pick and pack process, there are ways of eradicating these problems.
The following are some of the best ways to eliminate common pick and pack issues:
Use a warehouse management system to track inventory
With a warehouse management system (WMS), you have a bird’s eye view of your business’s entire inventory. WMS will keep track of at all times and minimize inventory record errors.
A good WMS will also enable you to maximize labour utilization by coordinating and optimizing material flows and usage. With a cloud-based WMS, you will have even more flexibility and scalability to manage your inventory through seasonal and market changes.
Improve inventory accuracy with mobile technology
Mobile technologies, such as barcodes and RFID scanners, are used to maintain optimum inventory accuracy. Inventory data that is manually recorded with pen and paper, is much more prone to human error. Scanning barcodes removes this problem and ensures that data entry is reliable and consistent.
When scanners wirelessly communicate with the inventory management system, stock counts can be updated in real time. And the scheduling of orders can be done with optimal accuracy.
Reduce turnaround time with an optimized warehouse layout
Careful attention is paid to the layout of a warehouse and it is organized according to maximized efficiency. An organized warehouse can significantly reduce turnaround time, and decrease operational costs.
To figure out a warehouse layout that works best, we recommend performing an ABC analysis. This will help you strategically place your products in the most accessible locations based on their order volume. When commonly ordered items are located in easy-to-access parts of the warehouse, the pick and pack process becomes significantly easier.
How Wills Transfer Limited Can Help You Overcome Pick and Pack Challenges
If you need a reliable pick and pack fulfillment center in Ontario, Wills Transfer Limited can help satisfy your order fulfillment needs. With over 75 years of experience in the logistics industry, we have a solid understanding of all the potential challenges that can arise for picking and packing orders. And we have spent years optimizing our processes to overcome such issues.
Our team of experts will efficiently pick, pack, and prepare outbound shipments so that your orders go out quickly and your customers are always kept satisfied.
To optimize our pick and pack services, we will store your products systemically based on their serial numbers, if applicable. Our practices also involve breaking down cartons to pick individual items and building new cartons, packs, or pallets. This service gives you must have flexibility so your products can be packaged depending on your client’s specific orders.
Additionally, our transportation management system (TMS) will help you determine which courier is the most cost-efficient and time-effective for your shipments.
For more information about the finer details of our pick and pack services, or to learn more about why we are the best option for a pick and pack fulfillment center in Ontario, call Wills Transfer Limited at 613-704-7549 or contact us here.