A pick and pack warehouse utilizes a process that happens once an order has been placed via a store online. Picking involves finding the right quantities of each product through the use of a picking list. Packing then involves placing the items into a correct box, ensuring that all of the right documentation and materials are used because the package is labelled and sent to the right person.
In order for the cost of ecommerce to be reduced, the processes used in a pick and pack warehouse need to be streamlined. For picking, this means that the labor that is needed to select the correct products for an order must be reduced.
There are a number of different ways that pick and pack fulfillment can be carried out at a warehouse. We are going to discuss this and much more below, so read on to discover everything you need to know about the operations at a pick and pack warehouse.
A pick and pack warehouse is an establishment where products can be stored for your business. Those working at the warehouse will then ensure that all of the correct items are picked and packaged, ensuring they are then sent to the right customers. There are a lot of different types of picking and packing and different ways that these warehouses can be set up, including zone packing, batch packing, and wave packing.
There are a number of different pick and pack processes that can be used at warehouses, so we’re going to look at some of the most popular below.
The first is discrete order picking. This is a process that the vast majority of small businesses prefer to use. The best way to illustrate this is with an example. Let’s say you receive two orders. You will begin by picking and packing all of the items for the first order. You will then pick and pack all of the items for the second order. Basically, you are only ever going to be picking and packing for one order at a time. The reason this is used by small businesses is because they tend to have a very small selection of products. This would not be possible to be used by bigger businesses because it would be inefficient.
The next process that we are going to take a look at is batch picking. With batch picking, instead of one order being fulfilled at a time, the process involves gathering one batch of SKUs at a time. For example, let's say that you have received fives orders, and three of them require product A while two of them demand product B. You will then pick all of the orders that need product A first, and then you will move onto the orders that feature product B. this is beneficial because orders can be fulfilled a lot quicker.
Another example is wave picking. This is a process that blends the two processes that have just been mentioned (batch and discrete). Groups of similar orders are going to be fulfilled during waves, which are scheduled time frames. These orders could be in close proximity to one and other, have similar shipping deadlines, or similar SKUs, for instance.
Finally, we have zone picking. This is when employees are assigned to specific zones within your warehouse. They will only pick items that are in that specific zone. This is suitable for big companies that have a high rate of inventory turnover.
There are a number of different approaches that can be used in order to improve and enhance warehouse processes. This includes keeping the warehouse well-organized, designing the warehouse for efficiency, and making the most of modern technology.
One of the main and most important features of any pick and pack warehouse is the layout. This is going to have a direct impact on the efficiency of your operations. You need to begin by putting everything down on paper first. There are good computer programs out there that are suitable for this and will help you to get a true understanding of your warehouse and what sort of layouts will work. Online tools are good because you can play around with different elements and move things around with ease.
How a warehouse is laid out depends on how the warehouse is going to be used. You need to think about your processes and usage very carefully. The layout of a warehouse will be based around three things that you and your employees require to get the work done. This includes storage areas, production zones and workflow areas, and the equipment and surrounding workspace. This will help you to put your layout together.
When it comes to order fulfilment, two of the most popular options are cross docking and pick and pack. We’re going to take a look at both solutions, explaining the difference between them.
Let’s begin with pick and pack fulfilment. This is used very commonly and effectively in retail distribution. It involves the individual components of an order being collected by a fulfilment provider. These components will then be parceled up, so that they are ready to be shipped. This is a flexible way of handling goods and adding something to the ongoing customer journey.
So, what is cross docking fulfilment? This is a good choice if you are working with a very small number of SKUs or pre-packed goods and the orders have already been obtained. A good example of this would by a Groupon type sale. With this, little or no packing is needed, and less storage is required too. The goods will be directly unloaded from the incoming transport. The fulfilment company will label them straight away and then the parcel supplier or postal supplier will collect them. There are a lot of benefits associated with cross docking fulfilment, including simplifying inventories because fewer products are kept in one place for a period of time, as well as reducing the costs of storage significantly.
So, let’s take a look at some of the key differences between both options to help give you a better understanding. Firstly, pick and pack fulfilment is the preferred solution where parcels have not been pre-packed already. If any attention is needed in terms of preparing the products for onward shipping, pick and pack must be chosen. On the flip side, though, cross docking fulfilment is a lot cheaper. There is little to no storage expense.
Aside from this, in theory, there tends to be more potential for errors and damage to products when items have been sitting in a warehouse for an extended period of time. Nevertheless, if you choose the correct provider, you can ensure you are getting the best possible results each and every time, no matter whether you opt for pick and pack fulfilment or you go for cross docking.
There are some other differences to keep in mind as well. This includes shipping times. Cross docking can be an advisable solution if your company is actively searching for ways to lower shipping costs. Ordered items are sent out at a much quicker pace because no storage is involved in the process.
You also need to consider the fact that pick and pack fulfilment has a greater degree of flexibility when compared with the cross docking alternative. This is because the parceling is not actually done on site. The times entailed also need to be factored in. The amount of time included in order fulfilment is lower with cross docking because there is less of a delay in terms of the goods’ arrival and departure.
When it comes to picking and packing, it is definitely better to outsource this to a third party logistics company. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. These services make it easy for ecommerce companies to get their items from the order page of their website to the front door of their customers. Your consumers are going to appreciate having a broad range of items in their shopping cart when order fulfillment is more streamlined. You can have peace of mind knowing that products will be sent out on time, labelled correctly, packaged correctly, and shipped quickly. The main reason why businesses do not outsource picking and packing is because of the costs associated with it. However, if you assess the situation closely, you will see that it is actually more efficient on a financial level as well. This is because you will be able to fulfill more orders and you will also be able to reduce errors in the process. You also do not need to worry about handling this side of your business and purchasing equipment and training staff yourself.
As you can see, there are many different benefits that are associated with choosing a warehouse pick and pack service. However, this is only going to be the case if you select a pick and pack fulfillment service with care. After all, there are many different companies out there today that are offering this service, and so you need to know how to narrow down your choices correctly. Below, we are going to take a look at some of the different factors that will help you to make your decision.
One of the first things you need to take a look at is the different services that are going to be provided by the business. At a minimal, you should expect shipping, as well as basic pick and pack capabilities. However, you may need more than this. It all depends on the needs of your business. For example, you may want a company that is going to process returns for you. Other examples include when companies sell food items that must be stored in a warehouse with a certain temperature or cases whereby items need to be shipped together in a certain way. Also, you may need to find a provider that can handle international orders if you ship across the globe. The only way to find a provider that is going to be able to meet your needs is to sit down and define them first of all.
You also need to look at the pricing terms. Earlier, we gave you a glimpse into how fees are calculated for such services. There is no denying that this is something you are going to need to take into account. Think about the products that you sell. After all, there can be different fees and handling costs based on different product types. You will also want to find out about storage fees in the warehouse too. Make sure you get a full understanding of all of the different costs that are entailed so that you will be able to budget effectively.
In addition to the factors that have already been discussed, make sure you check out the provider to see what guarantee they offer for shipping. Do they promise to ship the same day that the order comes in, for example? You should also consider communication. Will you receive an email whenever items have been shipped? It is also advisable to take the time to read reviews that have already been left by prior clients, as well as considering the company’s location and the channels your orders will be coming from. Support and integration are two other critical elements that must be taken into account.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what a pick and pack warehouse is and how such establishments operate. R+L Global Logistics can ensure on-time and accurate deliveries with our pick and pack fulfillment service.
This will enable you to scale your company by efficiently handling orders, as well as providing an improved customer experience. With our services, you can expect warehouses near the major ports of entry across the country. You will also get state-of-the-art security 24/7, as well as professional warehouse and fulfillment staff, including dedicated order pickers. We also have freight operating systems, flexible hours, certified TSA warehouses and fulfillment centers, as well as an advanced warehouse management system (WMS). If you have any queries about the service that we provide, or you are ready to get started, all you need to do is dial (866) 989-3082 today. We look forward to hearing from you!