Put Walls: The Low Investment Solution for E-Commerce Order Fulfillment

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E-Commerce sales around the globe have eclipsed previous records continuously for the past ten years, and it’s easy to see why. Consumers can purchase everything from household commodities to a lock of Justin Beiber’s hair and all from the comfort of their home. Any growing business that wants to stay a growing business needs to have a platform with which to reach these consumers, and a distribution center that is capable of managing the ever-growing volume. Enter: The Put Wall.

Traditional pick-to-order operations where an operator walks around a warehouse, picking item by item into a shipping container can be laborious and wasteful. Enhanced picking functionality, such as pick to light, pick to voice, and others can certainly improve operations, but when it comes to e-commerce order fulfillment, where orders typically have a low lines-per-order average, a sort-to-order operation may be the key to reducing labor and increasing throughput all at a relatively low investment point!

What is a Put Wall

Put wall for picking

The put wall is a sortation system utilizing put to light technology that allows for streamlined picking on the front end and high-speed order fulfillment on the back end. The warehouse management system–working in conjunction with a flexible, modern warehouse control system–will wave orders by SKU commonality, ship date, or any business rule needed for your customers. The orders will then be combined and broken down into pick orders by SKU. This allows an operator to pick the required inventory for anywhere from dozens to hundreds of orders, stopping at each storage location only once.

Once picked, that inventory container is routed via conveyor to the put wall where it will be sorted into all orders requiring said inventory. A major benefit is that the picking technology currently used can stay! Rather than reinvesting in new technology, the Put Wall is an addition and an operational change that can maximize the existing picking technology.

How a Put Wall Works

Put wall operations should be flexible, so as to meet the needs of the operations team. Once the inventory arrives at the put wall, inventory can be scanned at the item or case level. For a one-to-one scan/put operation, once an item is scanned, the required location is illuminated, and once the put is completed, the operator will extinguish the light and move onto the next item. In the instance of a case scan, the operator will scan a case or barcode containing inventory required for multiple orders. All locations will light up and display the required put quantity (parallel put), or locations will light up one at a time displaying the required put quantity (series put) depending on customer preference. Once extinguished the operator can move onto the next put.

On the back side of the put wall, there are many configurations to alert a pack operator that the order is complete. Lights, a display screen, a work indicator, or even RF gun are all suitable technologies to alert the operator that an order is complete and ready to be pulled and packed.

Put Wall Benefits

Put wall technology

Aside from the streamlined operations, use of existing technology/software, and a low investment point, the put wall has many other benefits that will be realized by your management and operations team on a daily basis.

  • Status monitoring with real-time visibility minimizes your fulfillment time.
  • Put wall layouts are configurable and adjustable, allowing for flexible order management.
  • Ergonomic work environment for the operator
  • Put walls are also extremely scalable, so as your business grows, your order fulfillment operation can easily grow with it.
  • They are also 100% paperless.

If you’re tired of throwing labor at ever growing order fulfillment requirements, consider the put wall. If you want to maintain your existing management software and picking technologies, consider the put wall. If you want a faster, more efficient distribution center that requires less labor, consider the put wall. And if you want all of the above with an investment point and ROI that was previously thought implausible or unbelievable, then let Bastian Solutions design the right put wall for you!

Visit our website to learn more about put walls or contact us with your questions.

Brian graduated with a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Louisville in 2008. After working in the power generation industry for 5 years, and obtaining his MBA from the University of Louisville, Brian made the move to Bastian Software Solutions in 2013. Brian has worked with a wide variety of customers, across many industries, to determine their WMS and/or WCS needs. Brian lives in Louisville, KY with his wife Brittany.

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