Leaving productivity on the warehouse floor
March 28, 2019
All too often, we see picking operations where the software provider and hardware are dictating and impacting processes, or operations that haven’t adapted well to changing customer demands. The overall impact to the operation is reduced productivity and a far from perfect process.
Whilst visiting over 50 picking operations within the past 12 months, it has become a recurring theme that picking operations are generally not as efficient as they could be. This is having an impact on service delivery as well as other processes in the warehouse, such as packing, dispatch and replenishment.
A lot of pressure is being applied to the logistics industry from consumer demand and this is being felt the most on the picking floor. Shorter lead times from order placement to delivery, cutting the picking time down dramatically. Customers are demanding smaller more frequent store replenishments or dictating how an order must be presented are some of the challenges that are being faced.
The vast number of picking operations that I have viewed over the past 12 months have been adapted over the years and in many cases the processes are in place because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or ”that’s the way the system works”, whether that be the software or the hardware that dictates the process it can cause vast inefficiencies due to the lack of flexibility, leading to reduced productivity
Taking a step back and reviewing the solution by considering the customer demands, the physical layout of the warehouse, the software that is used to manage/execute the process as well as the hardware that the operators are using are all key points to consider. Having a software solution that is flexible and can adapt to the ever-changing customer demand is crucial. The most important point is to consider the picking operator, give them the best tool to complete the task. Including operators and asking for their feedback is vital, this will make them feel empowered and a vital part of the process, as well as helping them to understand the need for change.
Jamie Mottershead, Voiteq