WMS Product Picking Efficiencies


Warehouse operations can be a vast drain on company profits if they are not managed effectively. As sales volumes increase, inventory becomes more complex and the pressure of competition drives margins ever downwards it becomes more important to have a clear view on how the cost base of any warehouse is performing.

Labour Costs

Any Warehouse Management System (WMS) can be expected to help drive down labour costs. No longer is a fixed cost, the number of staff required to support an operation constantly changes to meet the picking requirements placed on a warehouse by each individual customer. As orders are placed by customers a good WMS should be expected to model and predict the staff requirements to provide the relevant service. It is not necessary to employ staff and then find there is no work for them to pick.

Warehouse Design

The most significant factor that affect is the layout of a warehouse is the ease with which product can be picked for a client. Obviously a warehouse will need to be divided into areas where the physical needs of the product can be met; frozen, ambient, bonded all place special requirements on the warehouse layout.

Within each area though, the specific layout of products will not always be as straight forward as might be thought. An analysis of customers who purchased this product also purchased that product will enable products to be located close to each other to speed up the picking process. Order characteristics such as unit-of-measure can also be taken into account by a WMS and can be used to rationalise layout.

WMS Enabled Devices

It is all about driving costs down, the larger the warehouse, the more small changes in staffing costs can affect the bottom line. As technology shrinks, portable data terminals and the holy grail of RFID become more important to warehouse management.

Currently specific picking instructions can be transmitted to individual hand held devices to determine to work carried out by individual pickers. No more dependence on the decision making of an individual, operations can be significantly streamlined as devices not only instruct the picker on what goods are required, they can also be used to double check that the correct goods have been selected. This helps to minimise the costs associated with errors, another significant drain on a warehouse’s bottom line.

Batch Picking

Most warehouse operations are driven by simple order picking where good s for each order are picked individually. As operations increase in volume there comes a point when batch picking can offer an operation significant savings. In order to implement Batch Picking a fully functioned WMS is required to permit picking in this more efficient way. This method means that SKU picker can visit a location only once to fulfil several orders for a group of orders from a single customer. Batch picking is also important in the world of eCommerce where a customer may have a wide range of items on inventory.


For a warehouse operation to be successful and to maintain that success a well planned and implemented WMS is critical. It is no longer good enough

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