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Picking Strategies

General Picking Functions and Settings

PICK SLIP ASSIGNING

All picking starts with an assigning process. In this process, DATASCOPE WMS can apply rules such as blocking a picker from starting a packing slip for a customer when there is another older picking list for the same customer.
  • Bin Type Picking

In DATASCOPE WMS one can set the picking detail level by bin type. For instance, one can set that unit picking to be applied when picking from pick face bins, while pallet picking can be applied to all bulk locations.

  • Stock code scanning

All picking strategies have the option to force the user to scan the stock code or barcode associated with the product.

  • Quantity auto-populating

Most picking strategies allow the user to enter the quantity or can auto-populate the quantity based on the area in which the user is picking.

  • Over and under picking

Tolerances can be applied to warehouses in conjunction with supervisor overrides. Permissions exist to pick from alternate TrackIDs and skip lines.

PICKING STRATEGIES AND OPTIONS

  • Pick to pallet

This strategy is the simplest of all the DATASCOPE WMS strategies. Here the picking screens direct the picker to move through the warehouse, picking a single order. The detailed picking screen allows the configuration of the quantity entry field. Sometimes, the picker scans the bin and TrackID and enters the quantity on the keyboard. In other configurations, the picker will scan each stock code or barcode of the item as it is picked.

  • Sequenced picking (Consolidated picking)

This mode works for many of the other picking strategies. For instance, we can apply sequenced picking to the “Pick to Pallet” above. Here a picker is assigned with several picking slips. The picking screen then directs the picker through the warehouse in a single wave, but the screen jumps between the picking slip lines in the order of the picker movement. The result is that the picker will have completed all assigned slips by the time they end their picking cycle. This works well with picking cards with levels or “pigeon holes” where each pick slip is placed.

  • Pick to Box

This strategy is designed for warehouses where it is important to fine-pick product directly into a box or carton as the picker moves through the warehouse. The screens allow the picker to pick and scan the product to a carton as they move through the warehouse. Very often, this strategy is used with one of the mass-based checkout modules described below.

  • Carton Picking

Carton Picking is quite different from “Pick to Box” above. This strategy is used in warehouses that pick high volumes of cartons per order. The scanner understands that a user will move to a bin location and pick product cartons. The solution allows for the labeling of the carton during the picking process.

  • Pick to Tote

The Pick to Tote is similar to the “Pick to Box” above, but we are picking into reusable totes. Each order may have multiple totes that would be checked out using the DATASCOPE Tote Checkout module (see checkout strategies below). Additionally, multiple orders destined for the same customer can be picked into the same tote and checked and shipped together.

  • Pick to label/license plate

This picking strategy allows a picker to pre-label a pallet or carton used for shipping and then pick a product to that TrackID. This means we can pick pallets for shipping without having to repack them in the checkout area. A simple scanner or mass check could be used to check the product before invoicing.

  • Unit pick/grocery pick

Unit Picking understands that all products must be scanned during the picking process. This is used in fine-picking environments where the product is costly. As each product is picked, the Picker will scan the EAN number on every product as it is packed into a carton or cart.

  • Serial scanning

Although the full serial module of DATASCOPE WMS is only due for release in the future, there is a simple version of serial picking included in the software now. This does not work with the SYSPRO serialization module. Stock codes are flagged as serialized in this mode using a SYSPRO custom form field. Then during the picking process, the scanner will prompt the user to scan serials when required. This records the serialization data for reporting purposes. Although a simple process, it is quite effective for companies simply wanting to report serial sales detail. Standard reports show what serials have been sold to which customers on what order, and at what date.

  • Other/Alt UOM pick

There are many times when a customer has configured the sales take-on process to load sales order lines in a different pack size to the stocking unit of measure in the warehouse. As an example, we may load sales order lines for product A in cases, but we hold the stock in the warehouse in units. In these cases, the DATASCOPE WMS software will convert to packs during the picking process to ensure that the picker cannot pick a decimal of a case that would fail to ship when the sales order line is released for invoicing.

  • UPC/Inner pack/case pack picking

This picking strategy is applied in warehouses that pick a product in various pack sizes (UPCs). The software understands that each pack size would have a different barcode. The product itself would probably have an EAN barcode or UPC barcode. The same product packed as six units would have a different barcode, and if packed as a set of twenty-four, it would have a further barcode. The software then directs the picker to the bin where he/she can scan the cartons of product, and the software will tally up the remaining quantity to be picked. Very often the picker will be picking a case of twenty for, three boxes of six units, and two loose units at the same bin location.

  • MHE-based picking

This mode of picking allows for the assigning of material handling equipment (MHE) types to each sales order line during the Order Releasing process based on where stock is reserved from and how much stock is reserved. The result is that a single order could be split into full pallet picks given to forklifts; mixed SKU pallet picking given to man-ups, and single SKU carton picking at the lower levels of the warehouse given to pickers with cards or trolley jacks as an example. The MHE configuration options are wide when this mode is further split into warehouse areas. Considering that the order-releasing rules (auto allocation rules) can be customized, a very detailed MHE management solution can be implemented.

  • Dynamic area picking

This picking strategy is used for very large warehouses where we want to split the picking slip down by areas within the warehouse. As an example, a warehouse could have an area for all paint products while all tools could be in their own area and so on. Bulk locations could also be defined as separate areas. All orders are then released to the warehouse but across these areas. A picker or pickers are then assigned to each area, and they act as the required picking for their area. All picks are scanned to unique tote numbers, which flow through to a checkout consolidation area. A load-balancing tool ensures that no area can pick at a pick slip too far ahead of one of its linked areas.

  • Carton cubing and full case picking

The Carton Cubing strategy is used to dynamically calculate a cartons content during the order releasing process. The setup allows us to use the products volume data in SYSPRO to work out how the cartons should be packed. These cartons are then released to the warehouse and the product is picked and packed according to the calculation rules. Where a full carton could be picked the software dynamically splits these out to a separate label printer. The result is that a large order may release with thirty mixed SKU cartons which will be picked in the fine-picking area based on the cubing rules, while a further fifteen cartons would be picked directly from bulk storage locations.

  • Bulk pull-down picking

In some high-volume warehouses with a lot of common product picking it makes sense to group the picking demand together by SKU first and then to rather pull down all the demand for each SKU to a large bulk picking area on the floor close to the dispatch area. Once all product has been pulled to the floor, the actual picking slips are released, and each order is picked from the bulk picking zone. The way that this is managed in DATASCOPE is as follows:
First, the sales orders are grouped and filtered to include only the orders required for this picking wave. Once we have a list of those order lines, we group this data by SKU and update this requirement into the Direct Replenishment module within DATASCOPE. Having got the data into the replenishment module, we now sort and release replenishment picking slips that optimize the picking of bulk products to the floor picking location. It makes sense to drive each wave to a new picking floor location.

Then once all bulk picking has been completed, the same wave of order lines is released for picking but from the floor location. Now each order is picked as normal directly off the floor, thus speeding up the pick of each order.

  • Voice and Conveyor Module

The voice and conveyor module has an advanced form of picking which is typically implemented into the large warehouse with conveyor systems running through the pick face zones. Orders are released to the warehouse and carton-cubed to associate a list of products required for each carton. Each carton is then labeled with the packing list and a carton driver label. This driver label holds a list of the zones that the carton needs to visit. The carton is labeled and placed onto the conveyor, which moves through the zones. At each zone, the carton passes an in-line scanner. this scanner reads the carton driver label (normally a 2D barcode) and, based on the list of zones allocated to the carton, decides to deliver the carton to that specific zone or to let the carton travel past to the next zone. Should the carton be required in the zone, the conveyor will divert the carton into the zone for picking.

Once the carton has been delivered, a picking using a voice device such as a Vocollect Voice A750 will pick the products required from this zone for the selected carton. There are two main ways cartons can be picked with the voice system.

  1. Each carton is packed separately, one carton at a time or
  2. The picker selects cart picking and first allocates a number of cartons (Max is 8) to a cart or trolley and then proceeds to sequence pick all cartons as the cart moves through the zone.

A simple blue tooth scanner can also be linked to voice picking to scan and validate extra data such as serial numbers or lot numbers. In one case, we have also turned on stock code scanning to force the correct pick, although this defeats some of the productivity enhancements that voice picking delivers.

In General: Voice picking equipment is expensive, but in high-volume fine-picking environments, it can add substantial productivity improvements. Firstly is fast and easy to use, but secondly, it allows for an “eyes-free” and “hands-free” picking environment. Also, we have found that pickers tend to “zone out” and focus on their work a lot more than in traditional picking environments. The very nature of voice picking is that the picker is engrossed in a conversation and therefore is less likely to talk to other pickers while working.

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