Parallel Picking Improves Order Picking Efficiency and Accuracy
Using the parallel picking method, the warehouse is divided into multiple picking zones. When orders are requested, stock keeping units (SKUs) are picked from each zone simultaneously, in parallel, and transported to order consolidation.
Use Multiple Technologies to Increase Efficiencies
Using this approach, automated storage and retrieval systems can be used in conjunction with non-automated systems to provide optimum order picking operations and create higher productivity.
Parallel picking requires a shift in philosophy from picking an order to picking parts. In a traditional order picking operation, employees criss-cross the warehouse moving from storage location to storage location, searching for the parts necessary to fill a specific order. When an order is complete, it is delivered to a shipping area and the picker starts another order, retracing their earlier steps. Operations that rely solely on traditional order picking methods often can't sustain the growth necessary to meet business objectives. Regardless of the number of order pickers added to the process, the quantity of orders eventually grows too large for the order pickers to keep up with.
Parallel picking, sometimes also referred to as zone picking, overcomes this problem by allowing the picker to focus on simply picking parts from an assigned zone, without concern for which order the part is destined. Once the parts are picked from a specific zone they are sent to a consolidation area to await the parts required from the other zones. Once parts from each zone arrive at consolidation, the complete order is sent to packing and shipping. Keeping a picker in an assigned zone decreases walk and search time and allows employees to spend more time picking, increasing productivity. Picking in a single zone also allows employees to become familiar with the technology associated with that zone, which in turn, allows them to make maximum use of the equipment.
When combined with inventory management software and pick-to-light technology, parallel picking can result in significant improvements in accuracy. Directing the picker to the exact location and cell of the part required can increase accuracy up to 99.9%. Parallel picking also offers organizations the flexibility to integrate technology, such as pick-to-light, in stages starting with high volume zones for an immediate improvement in accuracy.
The key to continued success is to review part locations monthly and move them to more appropriate zones as they change. Fast movers may become medium movers, and if they stay in the fast moving zone, the picking operation can lose efficiency. To maintain maximum picking efficiency it is important to review parts inventory on a continual basis.
Kardex Remstar, LLC, a company of the Kardex Group is a leading provider of automated storage and retrieval systems for manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, offices and institutions. For information about our picking methods, call 800-639-5805 or visit www.KardexRemstar.com.
KardexRemstar is one of the leading providers of automated storage and retrieval systems. Our products and systems are designed to increase productivity and accuracy while saving floor space.
KardexRemstar prides itself on being easy to do business with. We provide cost-effective solutions which improve an organization's ability to handle small items, files, media, parts, tools and dies in manufacturing, distribution, retail, office, institutions and warehouse environments.
By focusing on meeting today’s and tomorrow’s business needs, KardexRemstar provides “common sense” automated solutions to help exceed each industry’s benchmark for floor space utilization, productivity increases, and worker ergonomics.
KardexRemstar has become one of the industry leaders by combining flexible automated solutions with the industry’s largest field service network and the largest selection of software and middleware available.
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