Order picking is often more labor-intensive and time-consuming than necessary. Being a central component of supply-chain operations, having an optimized pick system is one of the easiest ways to reduce costs and risks. If you want to optimize your picking process for accuracy, efficiency, and speed, you should consider integrating split-case picking methods.
What is a split-case pick system?
A split-case picking method (also referred to as each-pick, piece picking, or broken case picking) involves picking individual items and packing them in containers to send to customers. Other methods typically involve picking an entire case or pallet at a time and are called full-case picking systems.
Most Popular Methods of Split-Case Picking
Warehouse order picking is critical to every business as it’s a means to reduce risk and increase value. Sending out an inaccurate order or sending an order out late may cause issues for the entire supply chain. If you want to avoid major setbacks and boost your profit margin, There are a few options to choose from in terms of piece picking.
Here’s an overview of each of the methods:
1. Basic order picking
Basic order picking, also known as discrete order picking, is the most popular method of picking. In this system, items are stocked in a fixed spot, and the picker goes and retrieves it. He picks a single order at a time using a pick ticket and follows a route through the storage area. This method is easy to learn and integrate into your operations. However, it can be inefficient compared to other methods due to increased travel time. Typically, this system will be beneficial if you have high pick numbers per order and fewer orders.
2. Batch picking
Batch or multi-order picking is where your warehouse is split into various zones for order fulfillment. Orders in this system are grouped into batches, and a picker picks related SKU’s for each batch in one go. This is a highly efficient method with automation as your workers can quickly identify all of the items in their batch and reduce travel time. One thing to be careful of when using this method is not mixing up orders or having pickers retrieve the same item.
3. Zone picking
Zone picking or pick-and-pass is like an order-picking assembly line. The pickers don’t move; instead, the order travels along with a conveyor system from zone to zone. There are two types of pick-and-pass systems, simultaneous and sequential.
A sequential model involves an order moving through multiple zones that store specific items. As the order moves through the zones, each SKU for the order is added in sequence.
Contrastly, a simultaneous zone picking model involves sending an order out to all zones simultaneously. Each zone then picks the correct number of items and sends them to the packing area to be consolidated.
4. Wave picking
Wave picking is similar to basic order picking because pickers pick a single order and SKU at a time. The difference between the two is that wave picking involves a scheduling window which means that you can schedule orders to be picked at specific times. You can organize your window by common SKUs, locations, shipping deadlines, common carriers, and sorting processes.
Piece Picking Equipment
There are various types of equipment that you can use to optimize your piece pick system. Here are some of the most commonly used equipment types:
- Conveyor systems
- AS/RS systems
- Pallet racks
- Industrial shelving
- Picking carts
- Carton and gravity flow racks
- Collaborative mobile robots
Which pick system is best for your operation?
So, which picking method is the best for your warehouse? There is no one-size-fits-all system that works for every facility. Selecting the most beneficial split-case picking system depends on your number of orders, item quantities, costs, labor resources, and the size and types of items you stock. Many warehouses use a hybrid approach where they combine different methods simultaneously or use them separately to handle various demands and types of orders efficiently. Visit the SRSI website if you want to know more about your picking solutions.
When deciding what method is best for you, it’s critical to consider:
- Safety precautions
- Team and labor resources
- Warehouse size
- Order size and volume
- The dimensions and weight of SKUs
The benefits of using a split-case order picking system
Broken-case pick systems are gaining popularity among order-fulfillment companies, and choosing the right method allows you to streamline your operations. There are several benefits to choosing the best picking method for your company. When you implement a piece picking process that is optimized for your operation, you will experience:
With efficiently planned picking routes that reduce travel time and create organized processes, your workers will be more productive and increase your pick rate or the number of items picked per hour.
Reduced labor costs
When you choose the right pick system for your warehouse, you can reduce the number of pickers necessary to fulfill orders. Additionally, automation technology will reduce labor costs by minimizing the number of workers needed to complete mindless and repetitive tasks.
Since piece picking requires picking items for orders one at a time, your pickers can easily identify incorrect items. Furthermore, f you choose to integrate automation tools such as collaborative robots, you will mitigate human error.
Increased customer satisfaction
An efficient picking method allows you to keep your clients happy by fulfilling their orders quickly and accurately. This leads to better relations with your customers, who will be more likely to be repeat buyers and recommend your business to their partners.