requirements of the industry are very strong on Quantity oriented. Fast shipment of shipments, with a maximum number of ordered items, is the goal. Subsequent deliveries should be avoided as far as possible. Nevertheless, a strong flow of returns can be expected here.
Quantities or quality in eCommerce?
Depending on the article value and other specific requirements (batches, serial numbers, etc.), more or less attention is paid to quality when picking eCommerce articles. The strong volume and performance-oriented work, as well as the fast fluctuation of employees, require simple and self-explanatory picking systems (such as Pick-by-Light, Pick-by-Frame®, Pick-by-Point®). The systems must be very flexible and quickly adaptable. Due to its high performance, Pick-by-Voice is only suitable for this purpose to a limited extent.
Manual or Automatic?
Strong automation is not always well suited for eCommerce. Depending on the seasonal utilisation of the individual warehouses, simple and flexible systems are often better. With a constant performance of the warehouse and constant personnel, fully automated warehouses controlled by upgraded conveyor technology and material flow systems are often the better solution.
This method is an order that is 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 routes taken by employees during their daily routine are not optimal. The method is well suited for large volume orders and express orders. If an automatic conveyor system with a material flow control is used for the method, the performance can be significantly increased. LUCA has various systems at its disposal to support this picking method and, above all, to ensure quality: Pick-by-Scan, Pick-by-Light, Pick-by-Voice, Material-Flow-Systems. The decision as to which method is best suited for eCommerce deployment is made during the workshops together with the planners and customers.
With this method, several orders are picked simultaneously on one picking trolley. Several articles for several orders are taken from one storage compartment and distributed directly in a suitable manner. With a single pass through the warehouse, several orders are to be picked at the same time. 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 the method without technical support is that the distribution of the removed articles in the appropriate quantities into the appropriate compartments often leads to confusion. LUCA supports this method with various suitable systems (see Pick-by-Cart or Pick-by-Frame®). In order to make a decision for the right method, various facts 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 from the warehouse in collection boxes or containers in a route-optimized manner. In the second step, the articles are scanned from the activated batch (advantage: additional quality assurance, disadvantage: renewed handling) and sorted into the target compartments (orders). LUCA provides various systems for support in both stages.
After all picked articles 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. Some highly automated systems use carton sealers and automatic labelling stations for this purpose.
Consolidation & Sorting
For large-volume orders, the individual cartons or even several pallets must be brought together and prepared for dispatch. LUCA provides different methods for consolidation. The individual cartons and pallets are also sorted manually or fully automatically according to destination, country or consignor at the goods issue. The outgoing goods area is often equipped with a suitable conveyor system.