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Especially in these times of nearly-immediate ecommerce demand, speed in a warehouse is everything.

And while your pickers and shippers may be working as hard as they can to keep up with the influx of orders and products that need to get out the door, there’s several factors in a given warehouse that could be impeding productivity through no fault of the pickers’.

Warehouse design, workflow, and other factors can have a huge impact on how fast your pickers can get items out the door, no matter how well-trained or hardworking they might be.

If you’re starting to notice a bit of a slowdown in your picking process, here’s a few things to keep an eye out for:

 

Optimize Your Warehouse Picking Speed

Review item locations

Unoptimized picking paths are one of the most common causes of increased picking times. There can be a few potential causes for this: cluttered warehouse layout, poorly-thought-out item locations, or a combination of the two.

As able, review the items that either sell the fastest or tend to have the longest picking time, and see if there’s a better way to store them. Popular items should be kept on lower warehouse shelves to allow better accessibility, and sales volume should be carefully monitored to ensure the most popular items are given their proper space.

 

Reorganize your shelves

Similarly, a poorly-laid-out floorplan can become a huge obstacle for your picking staff to overcome. If too many items are being stored on a shelf that’s farther away from the main shipping area, or if your shelves are arranged in a way that tends to lead to traffic jams or worker confusion, see what you can do about the current layout of your pallet racks.

 

Declutter the aisleways

Sometimes the cause of slow picking can be as simple as aisleway clutter getting in the way. Things like stretched-out electrical cables, speed bumps, misaligned shelves, and other obstructions can cause a bottleneck in performance and accessibility for your staff. Try to keep your floors and aisles as clear as possible to help your team get where they’re going safely.

 

More portable equipment

A big struggle many warehouse workers face is awkward, clumsy equipment. Even something as simple as an RFID scanner that’s too big to comfortably hold, or a tablet that’s too difficult to carry around with the items they’re supposed to be picking. Streamline the sort of devices your workers need to carry, even if it’s as simple as using scanners with handles, and your team will be able to move items around faster than ever.

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