When orders arrive at the warehouse, workers begin the pick-and-pack process to retrieve products from shelves and package them for shipping. To prevent errors with picking products, such as picking too many products for the order or not placing a product in a large shipment, warehouse operators implement picking strategies that fit into their operations. One type of method is called zone picking.
What is Zone-Picking?
Zone picking involves separating your warehouse space into specific zones where workers are assigned to pick orders in that area. This warehouse strategy is often compared to an assembly line. There are two types of zone-picking strategies: sequential zone picking and simultaneous zone picking.
Sequential zone picking is when the order goes to a worker who picks all the products from their designated area. Then the partially filled order moves to the next worker who picks the required products from their location. This process keeps going until the order is complete.
Simultaneous zone picking involves having each worker who is filling the order pick all the items from their designated areas all at once. The products are taken all at the same time to the packing area.
Many times warehouse operations may combine zone picking with another picking strategy. You may implement both zone picking and batch picking to increase operational efficiency.
Advantages of Zone-Picking
Zone picking is designed to increase productivity and efficiency in warehouses that are large and have a wide selection of different products. It minimizes having all the workers grouped up in areas picking the same products for the same order. Instead, workers stick to their designated zones that have specific products, allowing them to move freely and quickly without having to travel back and forth throughout the entire warehouse. Zone picking is an ideal method for products that have high turnover rates.
How to Implement Zone-Picking?
To make distinct zones, warehouses may separate the areas based on the types of products. One area may have frozen foods, another area dry foods, and another for fresh products. Another way to separate zones is by how products are sold. You may have one zone with products that sell quickly while another zone has items that sell slower.
You’ll need to implement a storage policy that better accommodates zone picking. You may decide to store by sales velocity, product type, or storing items in tandem that are often ordered together, such as shampoos, conditioners, and body wash stored in the same zone. You’ll also have to decide on the number of zones. Too few zones will still have workers taking longer to move from shelf to shelf to pick all their products. Too many zones require more workers to pick products with the orders passing between too many hands.
Warehousing, Distribution, and Fulfillment Solutions
At American Warehouse, Inc., we are a 3PL in Hudson and Nashua, New Hampshire that offers warehousing, fulfillment, and distribution services to small local businesses as well as international companies. We provide efficient and productive solutions to supply chain and logistical processes. Contact us today to learn more.