Improve Productivity in Manual Picking (Part 2)

August 5th, 2012

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A picking list has an effect on the time needed to pick up the inventory. It should have a location, an item code ,description and quantity to be picked.. In some instances a batch number or lot number is required.  Item size also has an impact on
picking. It generally takes less time to pick small items than to pick large items that are bulky or hard to handle. Using the correct equipment helps to improve this situation.



Proper marking or labeling makes a difference in the picking time. If an item is not  marked or  poorly marked, it takes time to determine if it is the right item. If there are several markings or labels on the item, confusion occurs and time is wasted determining the correct inventory.



Equipment has an important impact on picking. For example, pushing a cart is not as quick as using an electric pallet jack. Equipment attachments also have an important effect on picking.


• Can the worker read well and understand simple instructions?

• Is the worker capable of doing what he or she is supposed to do, and is the worker properly motivated to do an effective job?



Warehouse layout has an effect on picking. If the aisles are not properly laid out, considerable walking may be required to go from one item to the next. There are substantial differences in the time needed to pick from shelving, the floor, flow racks,
pallet racks or drive-in racks.



Proper equipment maintenance has a tremendous bearing on picking, as breakdowns must be avoided. The impact of a conveyor which stops with 20 or 30 people working it, can be disastrous.


Load integrity has an impact on picking. Moving a pallet load of full cartons or bags of chemicals that are unstable or slide off can be disconcerting and time consuming.



Poor housekeeping waste pickers time in locating and pick up the required inventory.

•How fast can you move when there is merchandise or trash on the floor or in the aisles which slow down a picker
from moving?

Just trying to move a pallet jack over small pieces of debris in the aisle can slow up an operation.


• What effect does training have on picking?

• Do pickers know the location system?

• Do they know how to use their equipment?

• Do they know, or are they trained to put items into containers with the markings up so that the checkers don’t have to re-handle them?

• Do pickers know how to check and sign their picking lists?



• How about a system of measurement?

• Are there predetermined standards which tell you what you are measuring?

• Should you be measuring weight, lines, orders, pieces or dollars per hour?

• If you have a measurement, is it analyzed to determine productivity for the total operation and for each picker?

• Does this analysis tell you where to look for ways to improve picking?



Supervision is probably the most important element in a picking operation.

• Is the warehouse laid out s that the supervisor can see the pickers?

• Are there standards which can be used to measure the pickers?

• Does the supervisor watch to see what they are doing and if they are doing it correctly?

We can concluded that  many factors influence the picking function, which is itself only one of many elements to be considered in productive warehouse management