The rise of ecommerce and consumer expectations of next day shipping has increased the number of warehousing jobs, but not the amount of capable workers available to fill them. In the current labor market, warehouse management teams are looking for any way to reduce their reliance on increasingly hard-to-hire hourly associates. Much of this focus is on improving the productivity of order picking, since this typically accounts for 50 percent or more of total warehouse labor. Two stage picking will do just that.
Most DCs have designed their processes to optimize picking productivity for fast moving items, the 20 percent of SKUs that account for 80 percent of the picking volume. In many cases, a DC will have high-density pick zones or pick modules for these fast movers. By contrast, slower movers are usually dispersed over a larger area, and picking of these items is far less productive and efficient, resulting in higher labor costs per unit. Lucas work execution software provides a number of solutions to address this slow-mover challenge.
Two stage picking is one of the more popular strategies for improving picking efficiency for slow movers. In two stage picking, a worker will pre-pick slow moving items for multiple orders in a batch and place those items near the end of the area where fast movers are picked – this is stage one. When a worker completes picking the fast movers for an order she will then be directed to pick the pre-picked slow movers for her order from the staging location – this is stage two. Batching the slow movers increases pick density and saves significant travel time compared to picking these items by order (as you might pick the fast moving items).
This short animation explains the two stage picking process and the instructions Jennifer™, the voice of the Lucas mobile application, will provide to the picker.
Video Transcript | Music: Adventures By A Himits
Two-stage picking is a popular strategy for improving the picking efficiency for slow-moving items in a warehouse or distribution center. This short animation illustrates a simplified two-stage picking process in a DC using Lucas Move applications featuring Jennifer Voice.
With two-stage picking, picks in the reserve/slow-moving area are separated out from the rest of their assignments (assignments here are represented by color) and picked ahead of the rest of the assignment.
The picker in the reserve area makes one pass through the area making picks for multiple orders, to maximize pick density. Then, they stage those order parts at a staging location at the end of an aisle.
In two-stage picking, items in the reserve or slow-moving area of the warehouse are separated from the rest of the items for the orders. The slow moving items for two or more orders are picked together in a batch to maximize pick density.
Now, the user picking the blue assignment goes through the forward pick area and completes most of their picks normally as Jennifer directs them to each location.
At the end of their assignment, Jennifer directs them to the staged pallet/shelf where their reserve picks are waiting, and they confirm that they pick up the correct items.
Pickers using Lucas Move pre-pick the slow moving items as Jennifer directs them through the aisles in the reserve area.
DCs using two-stage picking often see double-digit increases in picking productivity for slow moving items.