We live in a world of increasingly high consumer expectations that revolve around fast and efficient delivery that is high quality too. For businesses keen to engage with these new perspectives on next day – or faster – shipping it’s essential to review the way your fulfillment processes operate. If you’re looking to improve your delivery turnaround times there are a number of ways that you can do this, including introducing more automation into your warehouse systems.
Review your current set up
If you’re looking to make improvements it’s always a good idea to start with an assessment of what’s already there. It can be useful to track several months’ worth of order history looking at key elements such as order profiles, pick zones efficiency and the way that products travel around the warehouse. The idea is to identify areas of inefficiency and look for opportunities to shorten turnaround with more efficient processes.
Look at the accuracy of inventory
This is fundamental to improving the efficiency of your warehouse and easy to get wrong, especially if thousands of SKUs are involved or the workforce is fairly fluid. Make sure your warehouse management system is delivering on inventory accuracy and that you have sound data collection in place to track and support improved efficiency.
Rethink the way that orders are managed
Is your warehouse stuck processing the entirety of a large order before anything else can be attended to? Or is it possible to integrate and quickly process new orders? Ensuring that there is some level of agility in the way that orders are managed will give you more flexibility when it comes to achieving more impressive delivery turnaround times.
Introduce more flexibility into the workforce
Real time labour management can support faster turnaround because it enables reassignment of workers based on labour and picking data. This can help to ensure a much smoother and more consistent flow of work and to avoid the delays and bottlenecks that can detract from turnaround.
Look at storage arrangements
For example, you can help to avoid congestion by using storage that allows for replenishment on one side and picking on the other. You can also significantly improve picking speed by ensuring that the picking area is logically set up, including using right size bins. Automation can be integrated to speed up the transition from storage to shipping – there are many options available to reduce turnaround time, for example by minimising the distance between product and picker via compact vertical lifts.
Smart picking solutions
Here, again, automation can deliver improvement to picking times and performance. Choose from a wide range of smart picking solutions including automated storage and retrieval systems, such as vertical carousels. You can also improve performance of manual processes by introducing an automated element, such as via pick to light technology.
There is no one solution when it comes to improving delivery turnaround times. However, there’s no doubt that working with smart picking solutions and automation can make a big difference to outcomes.