Guided Picking

Warehouse Layout

The efficiency of a guided picking system depends on how the warehouse organization, size and weight of the products and the codes for the locations. In a warehouse where there are aisles and bins and levels it is only possible to pick from the lower levels without using a forklift so the upper levels should only contain bulk stock and the pick lists should not allow picking from these upper levels . The numbering system must make it easy to pick with minimum travel.

Location codes

The aisles will have two sides and maybe no exit at the far end so setting the codes must reflect this. For example let us assume there are 20 aisles from 01 to 25 with 20 bin locations on the left and 20 on the right, so a total of 40 bins. Each bin location has 5 levels A,B,C,D,E. There is no exit at the far end of the aisles so the picking for each aisle must reduce the travel between picks. There is a choice therefore of numbering the left side 01 to 20 and right side 21 to 40 so that 01 and 21 are opposite one another. Alternatively you could number the whole aisle with odd numbers on the left, 01,03,05 and even numbers on the right 02, 04, 05. The levels are then add to the code so that and example of the final code for each bin would be 0101A indicating aisle 1, bin 1 level A. The most popular products should be in bins at the near end of the aisle

Allocating stock

After raising the order, you then generate a pick list, allocate and ring fence that stock automatically. The stock item may be in more than one location so the pick list will guide the picker to either the oldest stock first (FIFO) or the location where there is sufficient stock to cover the order. This avoids the picker having to pick from two locations in the event that the first location has insufficient stock to cover the order. In PASS there are settings to operate either method. PASS uses PDAs or tablets with a bluetooth scanner like Proglove to guide the pick in a logical order round the warehouse, picking multiple orders simultaneously so that the pickers only visit a bin once. This cuts down the picking time dramatically. </p>

Sorting and labelling

The items on the pick trolley will be for several orders and so need sorting into completed orders and labelling with the destination details before dispatch. To enable fast sorting the picked orders display as a list on the PDA and by selecting each one, the items display for that order  enabling the dispatcher to sort the goods. Labelling can then take place by selecting the order item and sending the destination details to the label printer. The same Printing the dispatch note and optional invoice follow the same procedure. When loading the goods on the carrier a single scan of the dispatch note confirms dispatch and this adjusts the stock records.
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