Discrete Picking Order Fulfillment
Discrete order picking is the fulfilling of an individual order, one line at a time. It can be the simplest form of order picking, yet it can also be the most labor intensive. In its simplest form, discrete order picking is commonly paper-based and is often utilized in small volume distribution centers (DC) because it is easy to implement and does not require any upfront investment in automation or picking equipment.
Often paper-based picking requires a significant amount of travel time between picks as the order picker is focused on just that one order. Time in-between picks and manual application leads to picking inefficiencies, lower product throughput, and pick errors, making it the least efficient picking and highest cost function methodology. When order volume increases, warehouses and DCs are forced to hire additional order pickers to keep up with demand, expedite shipping to meet the promised delivery window, or add automation.
Direct-to-Consumer and E-Commerce
In most situations, there will always be order profiles that require discrete picking. This is especially true in the direct-to-consumer and e-commerce world. Therefore, as DC volumes increase, the need for technology and software to help improve discrete picking becomes justifiable and necessary. Cost-effective options include pick-to-voice, pick-to-light, and RF picking.
Benefits of Basic Discrete Order Picking
- Easy to implement and requires minimal training
- Little to no upfront cost in equipment
- Ideal for companies that have a low order volume and a small volume of SKUs in which case it does not make sense for the company to invest in automation or smart technology
Indicators for Moving to Automated Discrete Order Picking
- Picking accuracy starts to drop
- Missed shipping deadlines
- Increasing labor costs in order to meet growing demand
Imperfect Foods Case Study
MMCI rethinks order fulfillment for Imperfect Foods's quick-moving inventory with automated discrete picking with pick-to-light.
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