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How to Optimize Pick, Pack, and Ship in your Warehouse

NetSuite ConsultingAn efficient order fulfillment process is mostly dependent on an optimized pick, pack, and ship process. When a customer places an order through whichever channel is available to them, they expect to receive the right shipment in mint condition, and at the right time. 

A warehouse carrying out its order fulfillment process is assumed to be inefficient when any of the three terms are not met satisfactorily, forcing the customer to return the package, and subsequently, demand reimbursement. 

Of course, there’s a lot that goes into the entire process of order fulfillment besides the pick, pack, and ship. These are all the activities that take place behind the scenes from when the customer places the order to when it is being delivered to their preferred pick up point. 

Prior arrangements like having the ordered product available for pick, pack, and carry are crucial. The warehouse team ought to check the product, label it clearly, and store it where it can be easily retrieved for packaging and shipping. 

Pick, Pack, and Ship 

Pick, pack, and ship are the immediate processes that come after receiving an order from the customer. These essential warehouse routines are pretty much straightforward in their monikers and practical application. 

They simply involve picking the ordered product from the inventory, packaging them appropriately, and shipping them to the customer’s destination. 

However, they are not as simple as they might appear in this text, especially with the advent of same-day delivery services and the wildly dynamic customer demands. Customers now expect record speed delivery from vendors, or they shop elsewhere! 

These kinds of applications are a nightmare to warehouses with lagging supply chain management systems and have pressured global retail giants like Amazon and Walmart to explore other futuristic methods like drones and Blockchain technology to stay ahead of the game. 

The only way to achieve maximum efficiency is with a holistic approach to warehouse management. JD Edwards Managed Services is one way to keep your company ahead of your competition by aligning all departments together!

Why Is Pick, Pack, and Ship Important For Your Warehouse?

Pick, pack, and ship are the crucial stages of any order fulfillment process. These simple stages determine whether the customer will receive the right product in good condition, and at the right time, which is about everything there is in the process of order fulfillment. 

The speed and accuracy in the means of pick, pack, and the ship will determine your future relationship with the respective customer, and subsequently, the business’ profitability in the long run. 

Pick, pack, and ship are the most basic tasks any functional business entity has to deal with. They are among the most uncomplicated routines in a warehouse, yet many businesses get them wrong, end up disappointing their customers, and bleeding out cash in the process. 

Mistakes may arise from picking up the incorrect item, which in turn leads to packaging and shipping the wrong product to the customer. Also, the team might skip an item from the customer’s list, and technically that order would not be complete even when the customer has received the rest of the goods. 

Sloppy packaging may as well lead to breakages which come at the company’s expense as no customer will accept damaged goods resulting from the company’s incompetence. 

It is these kinds of mistakes that invalidate an entire order fulfillment process, and as simple as they might appear, they are big enough to crumble the whole establishment.  

As you might have probably noticed, every functional business heavily depends on an efficient pick, pack, and ship process to be at the customers’ good graces all the time. 

It doesn’t matter if you are selling the exact thing the customer is looking for; if you can pack them damaged goods and fail to deliver on time, then they are likely to give you stinking reviews and spend their money elsewhere. 

How You Can Improve Warehouse Efficiency

Now that we are clear on the importance of an optimized pick, pack, and ship process, let’s look into solutions that can help you turn this crucial process into your business’ competitive advantage rather than a dispiriting money pit. 

First off, I’d suggest hiring a fulfillment service provider if your business doesn’t have the necessary capacity to fulfill customers’ orders. However, if you can pull this off on your own, then follow me to the end of this article. 

The process of pick, pack, and ship differ from one establishment to another depending on the inventory and order volume, type of engagements, among several other variables. Small businesses might be comfortable employing the Discrete Order Picking process, which involves picking and packing one first before proceeding to the next order. Although this process is slow, it helps minimize confusion as everyone is focused on that single order only. Also, what is the rush when you have a few orders to fill! 

Alright, if you need some speed, I’d suggest Batch Picking, where instead of completing a single order at a time, you collect all the similar products from the several orders into specific batches before packaging them in their respective complete orders for shipping. 

There’s also Wave Picking- a blend of the previous two picking types that involves similar grouping orders and having them completed within specified time frames/ waves. These could be the same orders with the same deadlines. More prominent organizations would be comfortable employing Zone Picking. 

This process involves strategically positioning teams at specific zones in the warehouse and making them pick items from their zones only. 

The above processes work best in an organized warehouse with an efficient warehouse management system (WMS) that accurately pins the location of specific items, thus reducing time wastage and the unfortunate possibility of picking the wrong things. 

A WMS will help you digitally map your warehouse, keeping every item in your massive inventory a few clicks away. Now, to ensure that you don’t pack the wrong item or miss anything, you’ll need a barcode scanner to double-check and correct any human error that might have occurred earlier in the process. 

This will give you precise accuracy in every order you complete, and you’ll never have to lose money from errors that can be easily avoided. It is worth noting that digital solutions are much more efficient compared to traditionally printed pick tickets.