How to use batch-picking?
There are lots of ways to pick your orders. One of these options is batch-picking. In this blog we tell you about the different batch-picking methods and how you can best use them.
What is batch-picking?
Batch-picking is a method of order picking in which you pick the products of different orders at the same time. Because you only have to walk through your warehouse once to complete multiple picklists, you save a lot of time. The amount of picklists you combine at once often lies between 6 to 24, depending on which kind of products you sell.
During collecting your batch you keep your orders separated in different containers. At the packing table you pack the products for each order.
Which kind of batches are there?
Beside the usual batches where you collect multiple picklists at once, there are more variations on batch-picking such as 'singles-picking'. This are orders where there is only one product on the picklist. For the total of Picqer users, 59% of all orders are 'singles'. This makes the use of this method very interesting.
With batch-picking you divide the products in different containers, for single-batches you can put everything in just one. With this method you can pick way more picklists at once. But be aware: this method only saves you time when a software program assists you. Not every software system supports this method.
There also are other ways of picking such as wave-picking (multiple employees collect the same order) and zone-picking (the warehouse is divided into zones and products get collected for each zone and later combined into one order). But when you process less than 5000 orders a day, these methods are often not interesting as your warehouse is probably too small to incorporate these methods and normal batches often work quicker and more effective.
When can you best use batches?
When you have a large warehouse with small products, batch-picking is an excellent way to process your orders quicker. You have enough space to walk around with a cart and the products are small enough to be collected in containers.
When you sell large products, batches are not as handy as it is hard to collect multiple large products at once. Also, when you have a small warehouse, it might be better to pick per order. The surface is too small to maneuver a cart.
What do you put into a batch?
A batch is a combination of different picklists. But how do you know which picklists to combine?
The best way to create a batch is to see if you can make clear selections. Do you send half of your packages to foreign countries? Then it might be interesting to create batches for each country. This might be helpful when you use different tape or commercial material for different countries, so you don't have to watch out which tape or flyer you're using. Do you only send some packages to a foreign country? Then it is possible your batch becomes too small and sepperating them is not useful.
Do you have multiple floors or locations within your warehouse? Then it might be smart to select your batches per floor so you don't have to walk complicated or long routes. Picking per location is different as the earlier mentioned 'zone-picking' as here you only pick full orders in one zone. Orders spread over multiple zones or floors still have to be walked at once.
How to best incorporate batch-picking?
There are different ways to incorporate batch-picking. It is important to see which method is best for your warehouse.
A clear rhythm is important to not make mistakes. You need to decide if you want to pick in the morning, evening or both. Especially when you group your orders on location or country it is important to walk them multiple times. So be aware these batches don't become too small. Small batches are easily forgotten and it might be you send out a package a day later then promised.
Other aspects to look at are if you want to print your batches on paper or use a hand scanner. And what will the flow of picking be? Will one person pick the orders and someone else will finish it at the packing table? By asking these questions you get a clear overview of what the best batch-picking method is for your warehouse.
Want more tips?
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