Logistics Starts Small:

The Importance of Picking and Putaway

warehouse operator scanning inventory into a warehouse management system

When it comes to logistics, it’s easy to think of the science of organizing and transporting goods as something that happens on the level of a national military or massive world economic engine. The thing about science is that it is scalable, and can apply to a small business just as equally as large-scale examples. Where the logistics process often breaks down is in the middle stages between receiving the goods and putting the products on a truck to a customer. This intermediate stage is where smaller businesses need to tap into tools that have previously been available to larger-scale players on the level of Amazon, Wal-Mart, and other movers of merchandise. Small businesses the primary contributors to local economies, supplying most of the jobs created since 1995.

Play with the Big Boys

Let’s get something out of the way.

Nobody is going to be the next Amazon. When measuring small businesses next to Amazon, it’s unfair – even if Jeff Bezos did start in a garage. However, the boom in e-commerce has made technology previously out of reach for smaller entities accessible. For instance, barcoding equipment, live inventory and warehouse management systems, and pick-to-light technology is in range and able to assist small business owners in eliminating the oops factor in the middle of managing their inventory. Let’s look at putaway as the stage after receiving, and at picking as the stage before shipping out and at some key performance indicators for both.

  • Putaway KPI
  • The time between receiving materials on the dock and unboxing
  • The time between unboxing and quality control check
  • The time between QC and entry into inventory
  • The time between entry into inventory and placement on putaway cart
  • The time between cart and putaway shelf
  • Picking KPI
  • The time between order ticket generation and giving it to a picker
  • The time between a picker taking the ticket and start of pick
  • The time needed to fill pick lines until the order is complete
  • Calculation of fill rate and back-ordered items
  • Time between the end of pick and start of packing

How many minutes and hours are being eaten up during these steps? Time, the old saying goes, is money. When a business has live inventory in place, it can shed light on ordering cycles, “dead” inventory, and help to keep ordering under control, but another step is needed to start tightening the time that putaway and picking are scooping out of the workday.

Pick-to-Light Solutions

Using a wireless pick-to-light system doesn’t mean sticking a red-to-green light on a shelf. Flexible wireless units from Voodoo Robotics use six colors and can display up to five lines of information.  They can display barcodes, QR codes, arrows or hazard icons.  They’re wirelessly deployable on carts, bins, shelves, and any other place where attention is needed. By using pick-to-light in a zoned putting away plan, KPIs in all categories will show improvements. Call today or get in touch via our website to see what Voodoo Robotics can do for you.

Get Started

Let’s have a conversation so we can better understand your needs.  Schedule a demo or contact us and get control of your mispicks!

If the system avoids just a few mispicks, it’s paid for itself!

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