An efficient inventory pick method is the difference between an automated warehouse and an antiquated warehouse. Automated pick methods reduce the risk of human error and increase fulfillment time that an antiquated (or a warehouse that doesn’t use inventory management) warehouse would otherwise face on a daily basis.
Picking refers to an order fulfillment process whereby an item is selected, or “picked” from a location against a pick list, and then brought to either quality control or shipping to be packed and sent off to the customer.
SkuVault offers a few different digital pick methods, like Wave Picking and Hyper Picking, that automate the picking process and increase fulfillment time. Let’s look at the ways these automated and paperless pick methods are used in SkuVault.
How SkuVault Uses Picking
Picking can be performed both digitally or with paper pick list print outs. You can set up custom pick list rules - like assigning sale postal codes to certain warehouses - or you can print your pick lists. Pick lists are generated to guide your pickers around the warehouse in order by location.
Locations allow you to put your products wherever you want (typically, wherever you have extra space in your warehouse), without having to worry about manually rearranging the product when you get more in, or being unable to find quantities. When you label your locations with barcode labels, and then scan your products into those locations with SkuVault, you’ll never have to pointlessly reallocate your “T-Z” products when you get a new shipment of inventory in. Put the inventory wherever you have room and SkuVault will keep track of the locations for you.
Pick lists can work great for wholesalers with lots of orders, or companies in the early stages of their business. But what if you’re looking for something more robust and efficient? It’s time to get into Wave Picking and Hyper Picking.
Go Paperless With Wave Picking
Wave Picking is a digital and paperless method of picking that allows pickers to change picking order in real-time based on quantity changes in locations. The “Wave Picking” part refers to the short interval nature of scheduling the pick sessions, which allows the assignment of orders into sessions (waves) by date, SKU, shipping method, etc.
Because Wave Picking is designed to be reactionary, pickers are less prone to manual human error as they would be with traditional physical pick lists. Wave Picking leads your pickers around the warehouse in the most efficient way possible, by targeting which items to pick next, rather than which orders. This makes Wave Picking ideal for multiple multi-item orders, because pickers won’t waste trekking across the warehouse to fulfill orders one-by-one.
Other PROs of Wave Picking include:
- Reduces managerial workload - managers don’t have to hand out stacks of pick lists every morning
- Complete visibility of where and what is in SkuVault
- Reduce risk of manual errors, lost papers, and mismatched orders
- Utilize filters like weight restrictions so your pickers know if an items is going to be too heavy
Wave Picking for Managers
When you begin creating a Wave Picking session, you’ll start by selecting the sales to be included in the session. You can either go through the list and select which sales to add, or you can filter your sales to reveal only the sales of interest to you. You can filter by:
- Order status
- Shipping carrier or class
- SKUs or codes
- Kit and item count
- Order date
A session preview will show you the total weight, number of orders, line items, and sold quantity, which can help you determine the best pickers to handle the picklist. After you’ve added all the orders you want to your session, you’ll be able to assign it to a user. Once it’s been assigned, you’ll be able to check in on the session queue at any time to see the status of all sessions past, future, and in progress, as well as see how far along the picker is in their progress.
Wave Picking for Pickers
When a user is assigned a wave picking session, it will appear in the session queue under that user’s list. The picker can sort the sessions in a number of ways to get a feel for which wave picking session they should target first.
When the picker selects a session, a session overview will appear to give the picker a sense of their progress. The next pick is displayed on the app screen with all relevant information, including SKU, description, Location, Quantity, etc., and a photo of the product so it’s easy for the picker to reduce mis-picks.
The next step is to scan in the product code, SKU, or part number, and the location. The quantity is set to “1” by default, but a custom quantity can be entered. The pick will register and be placed in the pick history, and then the next picker will be directed to the next location or item on their list.
Should any issues arise while picking, such as item quantity in location is not enough to satisfy order or item in location is damaged, SkuVault has a number of settings built in that you can choose from to manage what the picker is prompted to do next.
Automate Pick Sessions With Hyper Picking
Hyper Picking is a digital form of picking like Wave, however Hyper Picking utilizes a Bins location system and saved filters from the Wave Picking session to create the most efficient pick route possible.
SkuVault users have the ability to tell our system the size of the bins so you can fit as many orders as possible and pick as fast as possible in one location. Currently, Hyper Picking is ideal for companies selling inventory with small products.
You’ll be able to automate your picking sessions by using filters in order to select what you need fulfilled. If you use a bins system, Hyper Picking will allow you to have the option of picking based on the capacity of bins in a cart.
Filters are especially helpful during Hyper Picking because they dramatically increase fulfillment time. You can assign filters to specific employees and immediately populate their pick lists instead of having to manually create them. You’re in control of what items are top priority to be picked that session.