Brandan Alford Turnkey Solutions Video

Our integrated supply and service approach to Turnkey Solutions means your Storage Solutions team has tighter control over all facets of your project, ensuring you meet your timeline and budget. Oversight for each component and executing entire projects as one team means efficiencies that generate better results with fewer surprises along the way.

We specialize in:

  • Project Management
  • Safety
  • Installation
  • Permitting
  • Logistics

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Using the Right Pick Module

As an increasing number of distribution centers and warehouses adapt to rapidly changing times, pick modules have become more popular as systems to increase storage utilization and labor efficiency. Due to changes in consumer demand, orders are becoming smaller, and expectation between the time an item is ordered and when it is delivered continues to shrink.

In turn, this new dynamic is causing retailers to require less inventory at their stores physically. Warehouses are responding by shifting to store a wider variety of products and SKUs. So, to make fulfillment quicker and easier when inventory grows broader and more profound, pick modules are being widely adopted to support the changing environment.

Our friends at UNARCO Material Handling, Inc. do a great job of explaining the functionality of these systems:

“The idea behind the Pick Module is optimum flow efficiency. Palletized loads are moved by gravity through the system before being broken into cartons and pieces, then sent to pick areas and finally shipped to the consumer. Technology, coupled with integrated conveyor and sortation systems, direct the flow of in-bound product through the order fulfillment stage.”

Industries of all types have seen pick modules improve the operations of their distribution centers. Any facility that processes small-parts or small order fulfillment – think about parts distributors or e-commerce companies – can particularly benefit from adopting pick modules.

Ultimately, it comes down to getting workers more comfortable, ergonomic access to these smaller picks & using automation to deliver the work to workers to minimize travel in the operation. The pick module systems can be designed to fit the needs of the stored parts and how they are picked. So, which style of pick module is the best for your business?

Shelf-Supported Pick Module

Pick modules that utilize rivet or steel shelving offer a degree of customization to support storage capacity optimization. Each shelving unit can be customized to fit whatever product is stored there, which is useful in warehouses that process many similarly-sized items or variations of the same product. They are relatively cost-effective. However, both rivet and steel shelving are considered less durable than pallet rack supported systems. You can learn more about the differences between the rivet and steel shelving here.

Rack-Supported Pick Module

Pick modules configured with traditional pallet racking offer managers the heaviest-duty of the various styles. While they also are the most costly to invest in, they also provide the longest-term solution, because you are essentially designing a system that can be flexible to suit your needs as you grow. By working with a design consultant with years of experience in storage design, you can account for potential growth from your organization, allowing you to easily reconfigure your pick module when bringing in new customers and products.

Pick Module with Storage Bins

Storage bins are an additional method of improving your spatial capacity within a pick module. Among the smallest storage mediums available, containers help keep similar items in one area without intermingling with different products. Typically, they are useful when you want to pick very small products that are not easily contained by packaging, as opposed to full-cases or large cube eaches. They are available in various colors and sizes to best utilize the storage space and make picking easier for the worker.

Light Duty Cantilever Shelving Pick Module

Light-duty cantilever shelving is among the most cost-effective storage solutions for pick modules. Primarily the cantilevered design offers uninterrupted shelving, which can be configured to whatever height provides the most vertical utilization. The world’s most popular online retailers utilize light-duty cantilever shelving because their shelves can span hundreds of feet without wasting inches between racking. Because they process such a high volume, each wasted inch can add up across thousands of shelving feet.

Are You Ready?

Whether you are looking to adapt to changing consumer demand or looking to adopt efficient tools to improve your fulfillment processes, we are here to help. Our team of storage experts can work with you to learn more about your business, what unique challenges you may face, and then create solutions tailored to suit your needs. Give us a call today!

Conveyors or AMRs

For decades, conveyor systems have been a standard solution in warehouses to move products through the fulfillment process. They grew popular because they can handle the heavy-lifting of transporting products while saving the wear-and-tear on your workers, who would otherwise be required to move those products physically.

Unfortunately, conveyor systems can be expensive, bulky, and take up too much room on the warehouse floor. More importantly, they offer an inherent lack of flexibility as companies adapt to changes in the way consumers are ordering products.

One solution we see in this area is integrating autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) alongside conveyors. For the right tasks, these AMRs can give businesses that adaptability to adjust their operations to meet where consumer demand is going. For warehouses and distribution centers, flexibility is more important now than ever. The speed of change is accelerating, and warehouses that rely solely on conveyor systems may not be able to react with the swiftness they need to.

Where AMRs can replace conveyor is in the areas of transportation and work distribution. They assist in moving products from one pick zone to the next or from a pick zone to a packing area or a quality control area. They can also move products from pick locations to a put-to-light area. Several applications potentially make sense for this change. Really, other than when a package must move through a place at a very high rate, AMRs can potentially make sense to replace conveyors.

By integrating AMRs, you can have your labor force working on more valuable tasks like picking versus physically moving products themselves. We have broken down the many advantages of these AMRs in warehouse operations prior (link), but this relatively new technology is a smart, flexible technology that can sometimes replace functionality historically handled by conveyance.

Look, conveyors will never go away completely. There are some things a conveyor does that really can’t be replaced altogether. Especially with high-speed transportation or sortation, a conveyor will probably be needed. However, full reliance on these monuments of infrastructure may keep your company from adapting as necessary to changes within the supply chain industry.

Really, an investment like this is an investment in your facility’s ability to be dynamic in response to demand changes. As e-commerce continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, facilities need to follow suit and understand how to react accordingly. By prioritizing adaptability in your processes, you can meet the challenge of changing demand quicker. That means down the road, your costs will be fewer, your downtime will lessen, and ultimately your customers will be more satisfied.

Of course, if you need any assistance in evaluating your facility design, the Storage Solutions team will help. Our experts have decades of experience in equipping warehouses and distribution centers with the right mix of tools to get the job done right. We understand that, as the industry continues to change, adaptability is becoming increasingly important. Armed with the right combination of technology with tried-and-true mechanisms, warehouses can respond to dynamic changes with relative ease.

If you are considering adding conveyor systems to your facility, talk with us first. While we recognize the value that these systems have traditionally brought to warehouse operations, technology has evolved to the point where they may not be the best option any longer. Our team of experts can talk with you about your processes, challenges, and then design a custom workflow to amplify efficiencies without breaking the bank.

Fulfillment Strategy

Good news! Your business is growing! Now, what do you do?

Growth in business is often nonlinear. Instead, growth comes in stages. Like a staircase, businesses grow until it is time to invest in more people, technology, or equipment needed to advance to that next stage. Then, repeat.

Usually, the move to each new “stage” occurs when the cost of labor becomes higher than the cost associated with investing in new equipment. Especially when it is time to make that jump from “small” to “midsize” business, managers often debate which investment they need to make.

For those businesses in any growth stage, there are some excellent fulfillment optimization tools out there. These tools are mature, proven pieces of equipment and/or technology with a proven return-on-investment attached.

Let’s take a look at a few that we have seen be particularly useful to improve warehouse operations:

Modular Pack Stations

Modular pack stations are simple workstations that allow packers to efficiently right-size a box to a series of products, add void-fill, tape, and send down a conveyor to shipping once packed. A proper modular pack station will have everything ergonomically located and within arm’s reach from a packer. These pack stations optimize product flow, boost productivity, and improve your packing area’s floor space by keeping everything clean and organized. Workers are happier because they have everything they need at their fingertips, and accessories like ergonomic floor mats can be added to absorb shock and take the stress off joints.

Gravity Flow Racks

Gravity Flow Racks are perfect for packing environments in which identical kits are created from the same sets of products. The racks are comprised of a mobile cart with angled flow wheels on each level that allow gravity to deliver the next part in line to you seamlessly. If you have a gravity flow rack next to a pack station or area, you could put all of the components one would need for a day’s worth of packing, and then allow the packer to ergonomically access whatever part is required next. These are mobile, sturdy, and adjustable, with the ability to be accessorized to meet whatever challenges your worker has.

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)

Automated material handling is another resource available to improve productivity in picking areas. Our partners at Fetch Robotics, a leading provider of On-Demand Automation, offer AMRs that do not require an integration with a WMS/WES and can be programmed to move carts from the storage/kitting area to the point of use line side. The carts could also be programmed to pick up packing materials or totes and return them to another area of the warehouse to be reloaded with new products/packages.

Value-Added Solutions via Simple Conveyor Lines

Conveyor lines offer a dynamic solution to improve productivity, quality assurance, and safety for a warehouse or distribution center. Conveyors also can give facilities the ability to move totes at higher speeds. However, conveyors bring with them the opportunity to add Value Added Services (VAS) to your packing process. VAS includes items like coupons, magazines, or marketing pieces that encourage the end customers to make another order. Adding VAS through conveyor has become increasingly popular in recent years and has helped e-commerce companies stand out among their competitors.

Pick-to-Light / Put-to-Light Solutions

Pick-to-Light and put-to-light technologies help with order accuracy and fulfillment speed by indicating when a specific product needs to be placed in (or picked from) a specific area. We recently put a spotlight on these technologies in an earlier blog (https://storage-solutions.com/pick-to-light-put-to-light-systems/), but these systems have proven successful for businesses in e-commerce or direct-to-consumer industries in which there is a high volume of orders.

Let’s Talk!

While these products and technologies all may vary in their ideal use for your business, they are all mature pieces of equipment with proven returns-on-investment attached. There may not be one perfect solution for you, but rather a combination of solutions that can custom fit your operations while leaving room for growth. If you need help getting started or making that decision to hit the next stage of your business growth, give us a call, and we can help find you solutions for every square foot of your facility.

Pick Modules AMRs

If there is one pain point we hear most often from operations managers, they are always fighting a battle between what they need to accomplish today versus preparing for changes down the road. The priority always defaults to ensure that day-to-day operations remain steady, restricting the amount of planning one could be doing.

Often, the operation team doesn’t know what is coming down the road. The team is often blind to the decision to add a new product, remove a product, or some other mandate that will require a new aisle or a lane to their storage configuration. However, especially in the age of Amazon, those changes are coming faster than before. The change is happening regardless — “when” not “if.”

Traditionally, pick modules have been constructed along with a conveyor system within a facility to optimize the fulfillment process. The pick modules and conveyance systems can be seen essentially as giant monuments within a facility. Costly and inflexible, multi-level structures have been “how things have been done” for so long that even the most attuned manager may not realize that alternatives exist. Not only do they exist, but they may also make more sense for certain operations.

Pick modules are becoming the “old school” way to process orders. Technology continues to evolve, and new processes have shown that perhaps that old-school way of thinking may be outdated. Especially when it comes to adaptability, the types of changes you can make with a pick module or a conveyor are limited. What can an operations manager do when a change is required?

In response, we have seen facilities create several efficiencies and save resources by switching to a more “new school” methodology by modernizing using autonomous mobile robots. By automating material transport with AMRs, you can see all the same benefits of the traditional pick module/conveyor system, without the massive investment in infrastructure.

The thought behind the process is the same: You can conduct the same picking operation, but you pick in an environment where everything is on the ground. Instead of using the inflexible conveyor to move products, you utilize the AMRs. Instead of the multi-tiered structure, you can use vertical storage space to store safety stock or reserve inventory. Plus, you still save the steps – and time – for your employees to move products down the line.

The real advantage of this system is how quickly you can adapt to the next change. Let’s face it: consumer demands and behavior will continue to change, but it is unlikely that change will come in the form of slower expectations with a greater appreciation for errors. Using cloud-based on-demand automation software, changes in processes can be quickly made via a mobile device. That is a little easier than installing a new “monument” to an old school way of thinking.

The costs are similar, especially when you consider the ongoing maintenance costs that come with the conveyor. By adopting this “new school” way of thinking, you set yourself up to adapt to the next change in the fulfillment process. This is the type of investment that can see returns early through efficiencies and continue delivering for years to come.

When it comes to investing in the future of your operations, the decision isn’t always easy. However, learning more is.

Our Solutions Development team would love to learn more about the challenges you face and develop a simple, smart, and strategic way to address those concerns for the future while understanding the need to fight the fires that come with managing day-to-day operations in a distribution center. We’re here to help – give us a call today!

Creative Picking Solutions

Warehouse managers can take solace in knowing that they may not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to evaluating their picking strategies. There are some simple-yet-creative picking solutions available that can improve productivity, increase order accuracy, and reduce labor costs associated with the fulfillment process.

Identifying these simple, smart, and strategic solutions becomes even more critical as more warehouses and distribution centers adjust their operations to meet the ever-changing dynamics of the world we live in. We often see warehouses operating under the mindset of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, those working under that mindset may be overthinking – or underthinking – how to improve their operations. By finding the solutions that can deliver a near-immediate return-on-investment, managers can quickly and effectively improve the processes for their workers without breaking the bank.

Let us look at some of the simple, creative picking solutions that can smooth your processes:

Corrugated Bin Boxes

Corrugated boxes are like your typical, everyday cardboard boxes. However, they differ in that corrugated boxes are made up of three cardboard layers that make the boxes more durable, cost-effective, and offer a higher strength-to-weight ratio. They are created to be more heavy-duty than the boxes that may come to your home from an e-commerce giant like Amazon.

Because of their construction and heavy-duty nature, they are stackable, creating a better storage density for the picking items.

Corrugated Plastic Bin Boxes

Corrugated plastic bins offer pickers a lightweight but durable receptacle that is attractive, stable, and cost-effective. The layered design is similar to corrugated boxes and similarly provides a higher durability level than traditional boxes and bins. Corrugated plastic also does not absorb moisture and is dust-free, making it an ideal option when cleanliness is essential for a pick process.

High-Density Modular Storage

By incorporating high-density storage shelving, like UNEX’s Speedcell solution, workers can maximize their space, pick orders faster, and increase their order accuracy. These high-density storage options consolidate your picking area by dramatically increasing pick faces, bringing a higher SKU density, allowing for less travel and less time searching for the appropriate location.

Goods-To-Man Automation Solutions

The prospect of introducing automation seems like too large of an investment, but products like OPEX’s Perfect Pick® system offer a scalable goods-to-person picking solution that increases the pick process’s rate and efficiency. This, and similar systems, provide a low-risk entry to automation because you are introducing automation aisle-by-aisle to learn early if this investment is right for your operations. There are other options, like the Exotec system from our partners at Conveyco, that can bring a simple automation level to your picking process. These automated systems bring a high degree of sophistication to your operations and can be game-changers in the right situation.

Learn More, Start Today

We are here to help your warehouse incorporate solutions – big or small – to support your operations and keep your facility running optimally. You can introduce manual solutions that have a lower cost to entry and are easier to implement, or you could add more automation that brings with it a higher price and requires more training but brings a higher level of efficiency. Ultimately, the key is to find the right solution for where your operations are at.

If you are interested in these simple, creative picking solutions, or you like the idea of improving your warehouse’s operational efficiency, give us a call, and our team of experts can speak with you and identify solutions to improve the speed, safety, and accuracy of your operations.

Micro-Fulfillment

Over the past decade, distribution centers continue to adjust and adapt as “the Amazon Effect” becomes more pronounced. The Amazon Effect refers to the impact on the supply chain created by consumer demands changing to require smaller orders with faster delivery.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, continues to deliver on those expectations in ways the supply chain has never seen before by delivering directly to consumers. Products that used to be distributed to warehouses, then major retailer hubs, then to the shelves now are expected to be delivered to consumers in less than two days. And the bar continues to be set higher and higher. In some cases, products can even be shipped to the end-location on the same day.

While that turnaround may be unrealistic for some industries, consumer behavior is not turning around any time soon. When was the last time you heard someone say they ordered something online and it got to their house too quickly? Luckily, there is a solution that companies are increasingly adopting to meet the demand of consumers: micro-fulfillment.

Logistics giant DHL refers to micro-fulfillment as “the concept of placing small-scale warehouse facilities in accessible, urban locations that are closer to the end-consumer.” This “last-mile logistics” solution has allowed businesses that offer e-commerce an option to reduce shipping costs and the time associated with getting an order filled.

In essence, micro-fulfillment centers take the most-ordered products from your warehouse and store them in smaller, more strategically located distribution centers closer to where the people are ordering them. This shift allows these centers to be more agile in fulfilling orders quicker, more accurately, and in line with what consumers expect in today’s environment.
There are a wide variety of industries making the shift to compete with Amazon and align with consumers. Even the rise of food delivery services like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron showcases the success and innovation that micro-fulfillment centers can bring to an organization.

However, some companies are slow to realize the potential these centers can bring to an operation. They think the investment in new facilities or highly sophisticated equipment comes with a price tag too heavy to justify increases in productivity and performance. But they may not have the expertise to look at creative, low-cost strategies employed by these centers that could be applied to their own operations.

While many of these new micro-fulfillment centers feature a high degree of automation, the same level of productivity can be achieved with the right mix of design, dense storage, and on-demand automation, and without the price tag of a fully automated facility. There are combinations of cost-effective solutions that can be dynamically implemented to supplement your labor force and optimize your operations.

Our team of experts would love to connect and learn about your challenges to see if micro-fulfillment is the best solution for your operations. Giants like Amazon will continue to grow and deliver on these rapidly changing expectations of consumers. Micro-fulfillment could get you closer than you may think, without the investment you think you need to make to get there. For us, making that shift begins with a simple, smart, and strategic approach.

Roll-Out Pallets

Did you know that, according to the National Safety Council, overexertion causes 35% of all work-related injuries? This type of damage is, by far, the most significant contributor to workers’ compensation costs at more than $15 billion and is also the top reason for lost workdays.

Also, repetitive movements, such as lifting and lowering, account for 34% of work-related injuries.

Let’s face it; how often have you seen employees having to bend or lean into racking to pick or load their pallet positions? By installing roll-out pallets into existing racking, you can prevent employees from having to bend or lean under racking beams. These pallets feature an ergonomic, smooth roll-out that provides easy access to full pallet positions.

Roll-out pallets are easily installed into any style of existing racking. Plus, our partners at Roll Out Racks offer a nationwide turnkey service, meaning they are available to help you service your racking anywhere in North America. They also provide quick delivery of in-stock sizes.

Some other benefits include:

  • Designed for any structural and roll-formed racking
  • Ergonomic access to the full surface of pallet positions
  • Installed easily to any existing racking – less than 10 minutes
  • 42’’ or 48’’ deep In-Stock throughout North America
  • Engineering Services available upon request throughout North America

If you are looking to improve the ergonomics of your workplace, give us a call. Our experts are on hand to share how these roll-out pallets can keep your employees safe and healthy, all while reducing labor inefficiencies in your operations.

SmartGuard UV Blog

As the supply chain industry continues to adjust to a “new normal” in business operations due to the COVID-19 crisis, managers across the country are looking to provide their employees with additional measures to stay safe in uncertain times.

What new products are out there to keep your team moving? What solutions could maintain – or improve – productivity while limiting distractions? Is there such a thing?

We are excited to share an innovative solution for warehouse safety, introducing the SmartGuard UV disinfection autonomous mobile robot (AMR). The AMR moves through a facility and uses flashing ultraviolet lights that send out antibacterial and germicidal flashes that act as a powerful sterilization agent.

The result is a process that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the AMR’s path.

Dual pulsed xenon UV lamps power SmartGuardUV, so while the robot has the highest germicidal power, it is also environmentally friendly with low power requirements and no toxic mercury like other UV lamps.

The SmartGuard UV technology has been tested by independent, accredited third-party testing labs to deploy these broad-spectrum UV-C, UV-B, UV-A, and violet-blue light to kill germs. The system has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food and medical areas but is adaptable to take the same disinfecting technology into the warehouse. The device is also registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The SmartGuard UV robot offers quick disinfection with minimal downtown and can disinfect from 2,400 to 3,800 square feet of space in an eight-hour shift. The technology also features a safety motion sensor for automatic shut-off to prevent unnecessary UV exposure. So, once the robot completes an area, it is immediately available for use by employees.

These AMRs are particularly effective in disinfecting areas where there is a high level of activity in a condensed space, making it perfect for:

  • Pick modules
  • Picking/packing areas
  • Break rooms
  • Changing rooms
  • Cafeterias
  • Waiting areas/lobbies
  • Private offices
  • Conference rooms
  • Loading areas
  • Entrances / exits
  • Hallways
  • Work stations

Because these devices run on the cloud-based FetchCore operating system, you can be up and running in just hours. The AMR’s task flow can be mapped, tested, and deployed simply and easily. Once deployed, the AMR’s sensors allow it to follow workflows while avoiding obstacles, keeping employees safe.

If changes need to be made once deployed, the cloud-based platform also allows you to dynamically schedule, initiate, or modify the workflows from anywhere with an internet connection using a mobile device. This technology gives you more control to disinfect your facility without requiring you to supervise every move.

Optional disinfection analytics provides disinfection event validation and UV light performance, including date, time, location, photographic evidence, disinfection duration, and cleaning performance.

All this means the SmartGuard UV offers a fully-automated disinfection solution that allows the employees currently tasked with a new degree of workplace cleaning to be repurposed to only focus on high-traffic or high-touch areas when the AMR is not in those areas. In short, you can clean more areas more thoroughly, using fewer labor resources.

As times change, we understand that businesses and managers change to meet the needs of changing demands. With employee safety at a premium during the COVID-19 crisis, these AMRs provide a simple but effective tool to ensure your team stays safe in uncertain times. If you are interested in utilizing a SmartGuard UV AMR in your facility, contact our team of experts, who can speak further to these devices’ benefits.

Picking Strategies

The time has come; it is time to evaluate your warehouse’s picking strategy. In most situations, picking strategies do not change that often. However, all aspects of your operation should undergo evaluations from time to time to make sure that there is no process or product out there that could support your activities to a higher degree. Why would the evaluation of your picking strategies be any different?

For warehouse managers, any successful picking operation’s priority is to minimize the order selection time and distance your employees are walking. Manually moving products from one place to another is among the least efficient tasks in warehouse operations. Some of the inherent inefficiency caused by travel distance should be accounted for at the design-level, meaning your facility layout and storage configurations should already be optimized to this to some degree. (If it is not, let us know! We can help.) However, there is still work to do to ensure your fulfillment strategy is in sync with your warehouse’s design.

One easy comparison to a warehouse picking strategy is grocery shopping. So, let us examine some of the most common picking strategies, using grocery shopping as an analogy:

Discrete/Order Picking

Single order picking, also known as discrete picking, involves a picker traveling around all of your aisles and picking a complete order. In the “grocery shopper” scenario, the selector has a full grocery list and then picks items accordingly. It is the most common, most natural, and intuitive. This strategy does not require any technology and is ideal if the warehouse is on the smaller size where order picking is a manual process. The downside to discrete order picking is that it is not typically efficient due to the travel time (unless technology is introduced). The inefficiency becomes more pronounced as order volume or facility size increases.

Multi-Order Picking

Multi-order picking is typically an enhanced version of discrete picking. It involves a picker traveling around your all of your aisles and picking multiple complete orders on a single trip. In the “grocery shopper” scenario, the selector has several full grocery lists and then picks items for each list on a single trip through the store. This strategy typically requires a small amount of technology or systems support, but may still be pretty manual. Multi-order picking is more efficient than single discrete order picking, but typically still less efficient than other methods that utilize technology to drive faster throughput & more labor efficiency.

Batch Picking

Batch picking occurs when SKUs to fulfill multiple orders are picked simultaneously. This works best when a relatively small #of SKUs account for a large percentage of the picking. The picker takes the order and travels to SKU locations picking items for several (“a batch”) orders, then brings back all items to be sorted to specific orders later. In the grocery shopping example, this would be like one-person shopping for many orders (many of which have oranges on the list). The picker would select all the oranges to fulfill all orders, then also pick the next most popular item on the orders until all of the items needed for that batch of orders have been selected. This style of picking is less-than-ideal if you have a lot of SKUs & the demand for them is fairly evenly spread over a large # of orders. In many situations, this style of picking is matched with zone picking to create a hybrid strategy.

Zone Picking

In zone picking operations, you will have a worker assigned to a specific zone and pick all items associated with an order within their area. In the grocery shopping analogy, this would be akin to someone only assigned to pick items when a request comes in for produce, for example. Warehouses employ zone picking strategies because workers don’t have to walk a lot and are very familiar with their assigned area, and it works well for warehouses of any size. However, order accuracy may go down if good systems support is not used because multiple people are touching the order.

Cluster Picking

Cluster picking allows workers to pick multiple orders at a time, with totes or bins separating each order or batch, depending on which strategy they employ. Essentially, this is a pick-to-cart strategy that allows pickers to make one pass through the pick path, fulfilling multiple orders as they travel through the facility, reducing travel distance per order by grouping orders systematically with like SKUs on them. In the grocery store scenario, this would be like having several baskets within a cart, and the shopper selecting orders for multiple people at the same time& putting each order in its basket.

Combination Picking

There are strategies out there that combine various picking styles like Zone/Batch Picking, Zone/Wave Picking, and even Zone/Batch/Wave Picking. Each variation adds a layer of complexity to the methodology, but these options should mostly be considered based on your layout, operations, quantity of SKUs, order profile and volume. However, before evaluating combination strategies, you should speak with an expert in fulfillment to find the right mix based on your specific picking requirements and how quickly they need to be fulfilled.

Which to Choose?

Ultimately, it is up to you and what works best for your business. There may not be just one strategy that best suits your operations. Perhaps the ideal process is a combination of approaches. However, these evaluations are part of a healthy routine to ensure your facility operates at peak efficiency, especially with the industry is changing as rapidly as it is.

If you need help getting started, or even help with evaluating what works for you, give us a call. Our team of experts is ready to talk through any challenges you see and provide solutions through processes or products that we know will work. Let’s get started!