I came across an article about order picking in online businesses, which caught my eye. Therefore, I thought I could share it with you.
Since the huge increase in the use of e-commerce, there are also more challenges for the logistics sector. Managing more (unique), smaller orders, while simultaneously trying to keep up with the high service expectations of the customers, asks for a lot of commitment of the multi-channel retailer. The solutions should namely be cost-efficient, but also flexible and sustainable. For different products, it asks for a different order picking process.
Following the statement of Jan-Willem Klinkenberg, Project Sales Director of TGW Logistics Group, it is possible to automatize the operational activities of the warehouses better, in order to create new solutions focused on the fast growing market. He mentions that traditional retailers could more or less predict their stock of their own warehouses, while there is no universal solution that helps the e-commerce issue.
In some cases, retailers support certain contracts for their online business, which obliges the retailer to stock on more than one location, which increases either the costs of inventory or the possibility that orders get lost if they are designed for a certain specific business channel. Jan-Willem mentions that these options are not necessary and that it is possible to manage an efficient multi-channel operation from one site. Supplying a new or existing warehouse with automatic warehousing technology can be the best solution for this. Moreover, he thinks that automatizing is very important for multi-channel activities, as automatized technology scans ease the picking, sequencing and dispatching of orders in different order sizes, like e.g. pallets, boxes and packages (for e-commerce).
The process starts with the storage and treatment of stock in different channels with automatized storage for pallets, boxing and packages. Other technologies are used to consolidate the orders for further distribution. According to Jan-Willem, an automatized warehouse system could be the low-cost, flexible and sustainable solution that the multi-channel retailers are looking for to provide solutions for the upcoming challenges, now and in the future.