The requirements of the industry are very much based on Quantity oriented. A fast dispatch of the shipments, with a maximum number of ordered articles is the goal. Subsequent deliveries should be avoided if possible. In a shop system, a strong flow of returns is nevertheless to be expected.
Quantity 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-by-LightPick-by-Frame®, Pick-by-Point®). The systems must be very flexible and quickly adaptable. Due to the high performance Pick-by-Voice only conditionally suitable for this.
Manual or automatic?
Strong automation is not always well suited for eCommerce. Depending on the seasonal utilization of the individual warehouses, simple and flexible systems are often better here. With a constant performance of the warehouse and constant personnel, fully automated warehouses controlled by advanced conveyor technology and material flow systems are often the better solution.
This method involves an order that is to be picked from the warehouse. The not very effective manual method is still often used in many eCommerce warehouses where paper lists are still used. The routes of the employees in the daily routine are not optimal. The method is well suited for large orders with high volumes and express orders. If an automatic conveyor system with material flow control is used with the method, the performance can be increased significantly. To support this picking method and above all to ensure quality, LUCA has various systems available: Pick-by-Scan, Pick-by-Light, Pick-by-Voicematerial flow systems. The decision, which system is best suited for the use of eCommerce, is worked out together with the planners and customers during the workshops.
With this method, several orders are picked simultaneously on one picking cart. Several articles for several orders are taken from a storage compartment and distributed directly in a suitable manner. With a single passage through the warehouse, several orders are therefore picked simultaneously. Picking with a paper picking list is not suitable for this and should only be carried out by experienced employees due to possible errors. The problem with this 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 well suited systems (see Pick-by-Cart or Pick-by-Frame®). To make a decision for the right method, various parameters and factors must first be analysed in workshops.
In large warehouses with a versatile 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 route-optimized from the warehouse in collective boxes or containers. 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). LUCA has various systems available to support both stages.
After all picked items are assigned to an order, the packages are packed and prepared for shipping. 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, for example, the customer and order-specific sorting of advertising material and/or vouchers. Carton sealers and automatic labelling stations are also used on some highly automated systems.
Consolidation & Sorting
For large-volume orders, the individual cartons or even several pallets must be brought together and prepared for shipping. LUCA provides various methods for consolidation. The individual cartons and pallets are also sorted manually or fully automatically according to destination, country or shipper at goods issue. The outgoing goods department is often equipped with suitable conveyor technology.