- Gabriel Moss
What is Pick and Pack Fulfillment?
‘Pick and pack’ sounds cool with its fancy alliteration, but what is pick and pack fulfillment? And how does it work?
This week’s blog will demystify the process and look at what pick and pack fulfillment is. We've put together a little explainer on several different picking strategies one might encounter at our 25K sq. ft. warehouse in San Franciso.
How We Handle Pick and Pack Fulfillment
After your custom (and printed) items are created, we store them in our warehouse -- picking out a registered space just for you and making sure that your things are easy to find when it comes time to pick them. Every item gets its own SKU number, aisle, row, and bin.
Our warehouse team takes care of each step of the process, including picking and packing product, to ensure that your custom coroprate swag arrives in perfect condition each time.
The pick and pack process is essential to an order’s flow. Otherwise, our warehouse -- where your items are stored -- would be in chaos, And our staff would be wasting their precious time trying to figure out where anything is. And that’s far from ideal for you and your business needs, and wouldn't create a good experience for anybody using your company swag store, either.
Picking goods out of a warehouse and packing them into a mailer or box sounds like it should be a simple and easy process, right? Well, not quite.
Warehouse Pick and Pack Strategies Explained
There are several strategies that a manager might consider to help organize a warehouse's pick and pack fulfillment efforts. We’ve included explanations for a few of those different strategies below. So, let's break them down and take a look!
Individual piece picking
We are piece-picking packers here at Social Imprints!
This strategy is the most common and straightforward form of warehouse work, where each order is wholly picked and packed before the next one is begun. For example, if there are five orders, the warehouse member will start with the first order, pick all the products, and then continue to orders two through five. Piece picking also directs workers to start with the oldest orders in the system.
Smaller warehouses use piece picking mostly because the volume is lower, and the warehouse workers know where the items are located. Our team at Social Imprints also likes giving each of your orders individual attention. You’re welcome!
And now a look at alternative picking and packing strategies:
The second most straightforward strategy is batch picking. In this approach, orders are picked out in batches rather than as they come in. Then, as orders stack up, the picker can draw a route that allows them to pick up everything needed to fulfill each of those orders. Then, they go out on that pickup run at a specific set time and pick everything at once.
Batch picking separates orders based on product similarity. For example, if there are five orders, the team member starts with the first order, but if order one and order four both share a common item, they will pick that item for both orders.
The picking person will have five different bins or picking totes for each order and fulfill all five orders simultaneously, which reduces travel time through the aisles. The system will also calculate efficiency in grouping items together. So with batch picking, the oldest orders might not be picked first.
This strategy is ideal for small warehouses that serve a relatively high order volume.
Zone order picking
Ready for some basketball defense? Because zone one order picking is a different approach to warehouse picking altogether. In this pick and pack fulfillment style, different types of orders are stored in different “zones.” I.E., custom-printed apparel would get its own area in the warehouse, custom metal water bottles, custom sweatshirts, and custom journals with logos would each get their zone too, and so on. (Yes, if you can dream it, Social Imprints will customize it!)
In this format, a picker is only assigned to one of these zones at one time. However, unlike batch picking, orders are fulfilled one by one, like piece picking. This approach is ideal for a large warehouse that can store a wide variety of different types of orders but still has a relatively low order volume ... maybe we should talk to the Knicks about it?
The most sophisticated pick and pack fulfillment style on our list, wave picking integrates batch picking with zone picking.
A wave picking system is most efficient for larger warehouses as it ensures orders are fulfilled within a set time. Our current warehouse is small enough where we only have one zone, so wave picking doesn't apply to us at Social Imprints. But feel free to (safely) stop by and wave to our team -- we're proud to be one of the best printing companies in San Francisco!
Kitting and Packaging Solutions
The Social Imprints warehouse is full service. We not only can take care of your pick and pack fulfillment needs but also handle your kitting and packaging ones, as well. If you are sending out employee appreciation gifts or holiday gifts for your employees, wouldn't you want pitch-perfect packaging to go with those orders?
We can personalize your packaging to match the rest of your order, or develop other options to delight and surprise your customers, employees, or clients. Click to learn more about our kitting and packaging solutions.
Social Imprints is a San Francisco-based, eco-friendly merchandise, promotional products, and swag company. Our social mission is in the very DNA of who we are -- we’re committed to being an employer for at-risk adults. To get in touch about your company’s next promotional project, contact us today! To learn more about our Give 2021 A Shot campaign, head right over here!