Cluster Picking Order Fulfillment
The process in which an order picker fulfills multiple orders at once without intermixing the orders is referred to as cluster picking. Cluster picking can be done by picking directly into a tote with slots to keep the orders separated or directly into a shipping container where the containers are kept together.
In each application, multiple orders are released and assigned to an order picker. Order labels are automatically printed and applied to the tote or shipping container. If picking directly into the shipping container, the label will direct the picker to select proper box size for each order. Once the cluster is built in either a PTL system or in a cluster picking cart, at each pick location that the cluster stops at, one or more orders can be fulfilled at the same time which improves picking performance. Therefore, it's beneficial to implement intelligent software to help build the clusters in order to increase the likelihood of multiple orders being able to be fulfilled from a single location.
A clear advantage of using this process is that SKUs and orders are satisfied in bulk. Further, this method allows for orders to be completed by the picker as items are placed directly into their shipping containers without any need to sort the collected SKUs later.
Is this method right for your DC?
Cluster picking is often used alongside piece-picking and other picking operations. This is due to the versatility of cluster picking, and that its operations do not require the replacement of other methods. Would it be beneficial to implement this strategy within your DC? This is going to depend on the order profiles you handle, as well as the velocity of the SKUs within your warehouse. Typically, this method is best suited for a large variety of slower velocity SKUs. Its implementation would not be sufficient for high-velocity-orders that require high-velocity SKUs, as the process is still a mainly manual process. To learn more about this method and whether or not it’s right for your current operations, please contact our Warehouse Automation Consultants. MMCI provides complete warehouse audits to assist your team in optimizing your order fulfillment process.
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