In our last episode, we discussed some of the ways efficiency can be improved with the right software tools. Here are some more ways you can optimize Cart Picking in ways you may not know about...
As we noted in part 1, cart picking is a mainstay of many distribution centers, and growing with the rise of ecommerce.
We discussed a couple of ways cart picking efficiency can be improved. That includes the use of what is called cluster picking. That involves a picker with a cart containing totes or cartons for multiple orders being directed by RF terminal or tablet computer on the cart to stop at a location and then sequentially select SKUs for each order on the cart requiring those SKUs.
This significantly improves productivity and throughput by reducing travel time to complete the picks.
We also discussed how use of advanced cartonization capabilities can reduce shipping costs by selecting the optimal shipping carton for each order in either picking or packing processes. For multi-tote or carton orders, the software should assign SKUs to the containers in a way that minimizes travel time, while meeting any rules about what can be packed together.
But that’s hardly the only way warehouse software can optimize cart picking.
Softeon, for example, provides configurable attributes relative to choosing the size of the order pool that should be used. The larger the order pool, the greater the gains from optimization, with travel distances and number of stops minimized. But that has to be balanced with keeping orders flowing so that total facility throughput meets needed levels.
The software should know the configuration of each cart, which may be the same for all or vary. If it varies, then when a cart ID is scanned by the picker to start the process, the software understands the configuration and assigns orders to that cart correspondingly.
What if a hot priority order is received? The system can be configured so that as long as the picker has not started one of the orders on the cart, a standard priority order is automatically unassigned from the cart and logically replaced with the hot order, usually as long as the needed picks for the hot order are still in front of the picker, so he or she doesn’t have to retrace their steps.
There’s more, but you get the idea. The point here again is that simple cart picking is generally anything but, and that with the right software you can achieved much improved levels of productivity and throughput, configured up front and then running autonomously after that.