Considerations for Choosing a Split Case Picking System Design
After you've gained an understanding of what split case picking is and the various options available when designing a split case picking system in Parts 1 and 2 of our Beginner's Guide, the next step is selecting the right design for your operations.
There are several overarching considerations to keep in mind during the design and alternatives selection process:
- Adopt a flexible, equipment agnostic and innovative software package – Maximizing the use of semi and fully automated picking systems cannot be accomplished without sophisticated software to regulate, coordinate and optimize material flow and equipment efficiency. The new breed of Warehouse Execution Software (WES) packages will be soon be a staple in distribution centers.
- Everything is better in moderation – Do not become beholden or overly attached to a particular picking technology. Every technology has its place in the distribution center, but too much of a single technology often creates material flow challenges, inefficiencies and excessive costs.
- It’s not ‘one size fits all’ – To further the point above, a single technology or fulfillment method may be great for a subset of the inventory, however, this does not mean it should be deployed for 100% of inventory. Instead, a hybrid system of multiple storage technologies, picking technologies and even picking methodologies is necessary to maximize storage density, space utilization and operator productivity while minimizing order fulfillment time, picking errors and operational waste.
- Beware of recycled order fulfillment systems – Some material handling system providers offer ‘canned’ or ‘out of the box’ picking solutions. Picking solutions should be custom and tailored to specific business and operational requirements.
- Teamwork makes the dream work – Construct a cross-functional team of senior leaders and individuals close to the operation to ensure corporate objectives are aligned with the reality of the distribution center operations.
- Don’t be naïve, change is hard – One of the most overlooked factors in the distribution center design process is change management. New hardware, new software and new processes are not easy to adapt to overnight. Make sure your organization is prepared to embark on the Automation Journey.
Sorting Through the Options
Split Case Picking System Design is a complex process requiring an understanding of operational and business requirements as well as an in-depth understanding of the technology, hardware and software capabilities available on the market today.
Bastian Solutions’ Consulting Group has knowledgeable experts that will analyze your customer order profile, SKU profile and business requirements to determine the right split case picking system for your operation. Contact us to get started today.
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