The requirements of the industry are very much quantity oriented. The aim is to dispatch shipments quickly, with a maximum number of ordered items. Subsequent deliveries should be avoided as much as possible. Nevertheless, a strong flow of returns is to be expected in a shop system.
Quantities or quality in eCommerce?
Depending on the item value and other specific requirements (batches, serial numbers, etc.), more or less attention is paid to quality when picking eCommerce items. The strong quantity and performance-oriented work, as well as the fast turnover of employees, require simple and self-explanatory picking systems (such as. Pick to Light Pick-by-Frame®, Pick-by-Point®). The systems must be very flexible and quickly adaptable. Due to the high performance Voice Picking only suitable for this to a limited extent.
Manual or automatic?
Strong automation is not always well suited for eCommerce. Depending on the seasonal load of the individual warehouses, simple and flexible systems are often better here. With a constant performance of the warehouse and constant staff, fully automated warehouses controlled by developed conveyor technology and material flow systems are often the better solution.
This method is an order to be picked from the warehouse. The not very effective manual method is still often used today in many eCommerce warehouses where paper lists are still used. The walking distances of the employees in the daily routine are not optimal. The method is well suited for large orders with a lot of volume and express orders. If the method uses an automatic conveyor system with a material flow control system, the performance can be increased significantly. To support this picking method and, above all, to ensure quality, various systems are available at LUCA: Pick-by-Scan, Pick-to-Light System, Voice Picking, material flow systems. The decision as to which system is best suited for eCommerce use is worked out together with the planners and customers during the workshops.
With this method, several orders are picked simultaneously on one picking trolley. Several items for several orders are taken from one storage compartment and distributed directly to fit. With a single pass through the warehouse, several orders are picked at the same time. Picking with a paper picking list is not suitable for this and should only be done by experienced staff due to the possible errors. The problem with the method without technical support is that the distribution of the picked items in the appropriate quantities into the appropriate compartments often leads to mix-ups. LUCA supports this method with various systems that are well suited for this purpose (see Pick-by-Cart or Pick-by-Frame®). In order to make a decision for the right method, various parameters and factors must first be analysed in workshops.
In large warehouses with a varied article and order structure, it often makes sense to divide picking into two stages. At the beginning, a batch with N orders is formed. In the first stage, all articles from the batch are picked from the warehouse in collection boxes or containers in a route-optimised manner. In the second stage, the articles from the activated batch are scanned (advantage: additional quality assurance, disadvantage: renewed handling) and sorted into the target compartments (orders). Various systems are available at LUCA for support in both stages.
After all picked items have been assigned to an order, the packages are packed and prepared for dispatch. The packing stations are equipped with delivery note and shipping label printers, cardboard boxes, special labels, etc., depending on the workflow and requirements. LUCA systems support here, for example, the customer- and order-specific sorting of advertising material and/or vouchers. Carton sealers and automatic labelling stations are also used at some highly automated systems.
Consolidation & Sorting
For large-volume orders, the individual cartons or even several pallets must be consolidated and prepared for shipping. Various methods are available at LUCA for consolidation. The individual cartons and pallets are also sorted at the goods issue either manually or fully automatically depending on the destination, country or shipper. The outgoing goods department is often equipped with a suitable conveyor system.
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