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Goods Retrieval Strategy in Warehousing Operations

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Goods Retrieval Strategy in Warehousing Operations

One of the warehouse operations that costs a lot of money is in the process of picking or picking up goods in the warehouse. A strategy in taking goods whose ultimate goal is to reduce the time spent in picking up goods (travel time).

Many warehouse managers see that automation is a solution to the problem of picking up goods in the warehouse without applying basic things such as ABC (activity-based-costing) analysis and/or grouping orders. 

Basic methods such as grouping, retrieval routes, selection of appropriate equipment, and documented processes will help in increasing the efficiency of retrieval of goods.

3 Strategies for Pick-up Goods in the Warehouse

In the following discussion, we will discuss 3 (three) strategies for picking up goods that occur in the warehouse, namely: 

  •  Picker to Goods
  • Goods to Picker
  • Automated Picking

Let's read the complete explanation below.

1. Picker to Goods

The majority of warehouses with minimal automation will use this method.

a. Pick to order

This method is the most commonly used method in warehouses. The warehouse clerk looks for the goods according to the order and walks to the storage location, picking up the goods until all orders have been completed.

The advantage of this method is that it minimizes handling activities because goods move from storage to delivery with 1 (one) handling. The weakness of this method is that if there are many orders in the SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) and the distance between the pick-up points is quite far, it will increase the workload.

b. Batch picking

Batch picking is a method where warehouse clerks walk to the storage area and pick up products for several orders at the same time, then place them in a specific place based on the order.

The advantages of this method are reduced operator time and distance (because each walk takes several orders at once for the same item) and increased accuracy in the process of allocation and retrieval of goods. 

The disadvantage of this method is that it does not always prioritize ordering time-sensitive items, meaning that all orders are treated the same without any priority.

c. Zone picking

In this method, products are grouped in a certain area in the warehouse and each officer is assigned to a specific area and is only allowed to pick up goods within that area. The advantage of this method is the increased speed of retrieval of goods because several types of goods can be done at the same time. The drawback is the possibility of bottlenecks in taking goods.

d. Wave picking

This wave picking method schedules the picking of goods within a certain specific working time in one working day. The scheduling of picking up goods can be adjusted to the arrival of vehicles, changing work shifts and others.

The drawback of this method (and the shortcomings of other methods) is the need to double-check the product code and the number of products taken.

2. Goods to Picker

The goods picker method, when compared to the picker to goods method, has many advantages that can be adapted to the system desired by the company. Goods picker is to adjust the storage area to the work area of ​​the warehouse clerk (pick face area), so that the officer does not have to walk around the warehouse area.

Some of these advantages are as follows:

a. Reducing operator travel time and indirectly reducing operator workload

b. Reducing the footprint of officers in the warehouse system

c. Faster and more orderly selection of goods

d. Increasing accuracy in ordering and picking up goods in the warehouse

e. Better utilization of workspaces

f. Improved efficiency of SKUs used in warehouses

3. Automated Picking

If the company's need is to increase speed, accuracy, and productivity, the choice can lead to automation. Operational warehouses with high volumes, such as thousands (or more) of cartons per day, are the types of operations that can be considered using this method.

Some of the advantages of the Automated Picking method are:

a. Increase space utilization

b. Can operate with a very narrow aisle system

c. For warehouses with frozen temperatures (frozen) will save energy consumption costs

d. Full tracking via WMS application

e. Can operate 24/7/365 compared to using manual power


From the brief description above, it can be seen that the selection of goods retrieval strategies at least depends on the following:

a. Volume of goods in/out from/to the warehouse

b. Characteristics of goods handled, for example: full pallet, piece pick, layer pick, carton pick

c. Enterprise economies of scale

d. The company's future operational plans

The implementation of the strategy for picking up goods in the warehouse is also quite vital and it is said in the book that it is an activity that incurs high costs. The company can begin to analyze the retrieval strategy of the current warehouse operation, see the room for optimization to bring out the company's competitive advantage in meeting customer needs.

The steps for the following can be used as a reference for companies / industries in determining the strategy of taking goods in the warehouse.

a. Determine the method to be used in picking up the goods, be it picker to goods or goods to picker.

b. Mapping warehouse layouts so that warehouse utilization is effective and efficient

c. Determining handling equipment in accordance with the characteristics and systems for picking up goods in the warehouse

d. Implementing and evaluating the system for picking up goods in the warehouse. In this case, an analysis is carried out whether the system is feasible or not.

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