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Find and Fix Inefficient Picking Practices in the Warehouse

Inefficiencies in your picking process could cost your DC as much as $20,000 a year in lost productivity.

(Boonton, NJ, November 24, 2009) — Inefficiencies in your picking process could cost your DC as much as $20,000 a year in lost productivity, says Rene Jones, founder of Total Logistics Solutions Inc.

"Say you have eight pickers, and each spends an hour a day looking for lost or poorly placed inventory," he says. "That equates to one picker a year that would not be necessary if your inventory was more accurate. At $10 an hour, that's $20,000 a year of lost productivity."

But finding and fixing the process doesn't have to cost anything but your time, says Debra Ellis, founder of Wilson & Ellis Consulting.

In the November issue of Distribution Center Management newsletter, Jones, Ellis and other industry experts identify four quick-hit areas for improvement, including:

Reduce travel and duplication:
Without question, the majority of a picker's time is spent traveling to and from items. Any time you can reduce travel, you'll automatically boost productivity. One way to reduce travel is to shelve items that sell together in close proximity, says Ellis. For example, one of her clients sells air purification systems. The DC used to stock all the air filters in one area and the purification systems in another.

However, once Ellis analyzed the inventory, she discovered that one particular air filter tended to sell in tandem with the most popular air purification system. Instead of stocking those filters with the other filters, she moved them to a more prominent location, eliminating travel time for the pickers.

The full article "How to find - and fix - inefficiencies in your picking process," appears in the November issue of Distribution Center Management.

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For more than 40 years, Distribution Group publications have helped distribution center and warehouse managers increase productivity, cut costs, and meet increasing customer demands. Distribution Group publishes Distribution Center Management newsletter, books and reports, and a free e-newsletter.

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