Statistics show order pickers spend about 60 percent of their time walking product or moving product around. As picking operations are very labor intensive, anything you can do to speed the process will help lower the cost of fulfilling orders. However, in the omni-channel world, customers are placing more orders with fewer items, which can lead to a picking nightmare, especially if you are striving to reduce labor costs. Customers are increasingly coming to UNEX to find solutions to this picking nightmare.
Smaller, more frequent orders tax warehouse labor. Anytime a product is touched in the warehouse, costs are added to the total fulfillment cost. Typically workers go out into the warehouse to retrieve goods, which, depending on the size of your warehouse can mean your workers travel many miles each day. Often workers in a distribution center walk 8 to 15 miles per day.
The floors of most warehouses are concrete, making it tough on feet and joints. Combine that with the bending and reaching pickers need to retrieve an item off the shelf, and your workers will be pretty sore and tired by the end of the day.
Managers look at how to optimize the way that products are stored as a way to reduce travel times and the stress on employees. By reducing the time to search to locate items, travel time can be reduced. Creating a slotting system that makes products easy to locate should always be the first step in solving the issue of travel time. Knowing where a product is located and storing SKUs with similar throughput velocities near each other ensures that order pickers spend more time picking and less time traveling to the next pick.
Another method to reduce travel time is one we've discussed here often- consolidating storage space. Maximizing the storage density of products allows managers to reduce the footprint of their storage systems. This means less walking for order pickers as they pick orders and prepare them for packaging.
Ultimately, all this great travel time reduction is pointless if these order pickers need to physically carry completed orders to packing stations to prepare for shipment. A combination of powered and gravity conveyor can solve this problem. Using conveyor to move picked products out of pick zones or modules eliminates the need for the picker to walk that order all the way over to a packing station.
UNEX offers multiple solutions designed to reduce travel time and strain on your order pickers. If your pickers are spending too much time walking, contact us and find out how the power of Pickability can reduce all those footsteps!