Companies need to think smarter, work harder in terms of pick lanes and productivity, supply chain consultant Darren Hall told delegates when he opened the second day of the Omni-Channel Conference.
Hall challenged delegates to consider their methodology in line picking to ensure maximum efficiency, especially in today’s world of Omni-channel.
Comparing the chill supply chain to retail, Hall said that the processes employed in a time critical business such as perishable goods vary enormously from a retail business still getting to grips with fulfilling both store-based and e-commerce chains.
He advocated looking closely at the location of the distribution centre, especially in terms of customer location and courier hub. Looking closely at these can heavily influence where you locate you distribution centre and your delivery offering.
A fundamental issue to be considered was warehouse layout and the need for maximum efficiency. He cited best practice as not having stock more than six foot above the ground or using mezzanine aisles, which slow picking down.
Once layout was deliberated, it was then time to look at how stock was positioned to make picking faster and more efficient. Hall discussed looking at not only trends for the specific business but general trends too. He cited women’s retail where the general view is that fast sellers are often sizes 8-10 (and more recently, 12) so putting these at easy pick heights would increase the productivity. Trolley design and use is also key. Hall told delegates that as trolley design has evolved, it can make picking for single and multi-orders more efficient.
Hall finished by discussing the ultimate in working smarter: the logistics fulfilment centre – the one-stop-shop for omni-channel, designed for maximum efficiency and minimum travel distance for order picking.