For Warehouses and Delivery Centers

Picking

Picking is the work to gather allocated products according to the shipping instructions. Picking is one process at logistics worksites that relies on human power to a large degree, so there are many inefficiencies and mistakes occur easily. This section gives picking methods and problems, and case studies using handheld mobile computers that resolve these problems and make work more efficient.

Picking Methods

Single Picking and Total Picking

Picking is broadly split into two types: single picking and total picking. In single picking, the necessary products are gathered per order. One advantage of this method is that the picking unit and packaging unit are the same, so the gathered products can be packaged and immediately shipped. In total picking, the quantity collected is the total amount for all orders per product, and when all the products are picked, they are then sorted by destination. Total picking is an effective method when there are many items and few destinations.

Effectively Using Single Picking and Total Picking

Single picking is the typical method for mail-order and home delivery. It is best suited when the number of items to ship per order is low. On the other hand, total picking is best suited to shipping many items to a predetermined number of destinations, such as convenience stores.

Single Picking
Single Picking
A method in which the necessary items are gathered per order.
Total Picking
Total Picking
A method in which the necessary quantity of products is gathered per item and sorted by destination.

Problems with Conventional Methods

Single Picking is Inefficient and Prone to Mistakes

A disadvantage in single picking is the distance traveled for one trip is far and the burden on the worker increases because products are repeatedly picked per destination. In single picking, there are often many cases that do not adopt handheld mobile computers and instead use paper shipping instruction forms (picking lists) and rely on the experience and memory of workers. This means variations in work efficiency occur easily and the chances of making a mistake also increase.

Total Picking Increases Work by Adding Sorting

Total picking gathers all products for the total amount of shipments, so the amount of travel and traffic for the worker can be greatly reduced when compared to single picking. On the other hand, the addition of sorting and the necessity of a sufficient amount of space for sorting are disadvantages. It is also difficult to know the progress of work until sorting is completed, so it is difficult to flexibly handle orders, such as when there are emergencies and when there are additional products ordered. How to simplify sorting is an issue in total picking.

Case Studies for Handheld Mobile Computers

This section introduces case studies using handheld mobile computers that solve issues and problems in picking. Using handheld mobile computers is effective for reducing picking mistakes and it leads to efficiency which also reduces time and costs.

Single Picking
Higher Efficiency Picking by Using a Terminal to Confirm the Location of Products

If handheld mobile computers and the system are linked, the shelf that holds the product can be found immediately just by scanning the picking list. This helps to eliminate unnecessary movement and make work more efficient. Products can also be verified with the barcode applied to the shelf to eliminate the reliance on memory and experience and to prevent picking mistakes.

Flow of Simple Picking Using Handheld Mobile Computers
Flow of Simple Picking Using Handheld Mobile Computers

Total Picking
Sorting Is Also Faster with Handheld Mobile Computers

If handheld mobile computers are used, the storage area of products can be easily found just by scanning the picking list in the same manner as in single picking. If the functions to issue sorting lists and shipping labels are also used, burdensome sorting work can be simplified and mistakes in shipping can also be prevented.

Flow of Total Picking Using Handheld Mobile Computers
Flow of Total Picking Using Handheld Mobile Computers

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