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A pick rule is essentially a set of criteria that are programmed within your WMS software to give each order that comes into the warehouse a special rule. These rules group orders within the system to make it easier for management to determine what resource is required for the day and assign pickers to one of these desired groups of orders. Each picker will then pick their orders based on one of these rules for their day at work. The rules can be assigned to different people throughout the day based on the volume of orders coming in for each one.
Adopting pick rules has various benefits for warehouse managers, staff and the wider business, which is why we’ve pulled together five things every warehouse operative needs to know about this technology:
Let’s face it, the warehouse isn’t a sit-down environment and the computer admin to manage a workforce is time-consuming and laborious. Luckily, handheld devices are self-efficient in assigning their own picks using pick rule technology.
Once a picker has finished a pick based on the rule they are assigned to, they can simply refresh their device and automatically receive a new pick based on their assignment.
This handy technology will free up management to make those all-important decisions from the warehouse floor and allow them to be proactive, rather than force them to be stuck behind a computer screen for hours on end.
Pick rules can come in different shapes and sizes, with the ability to handle different variables such as weight, delivery method, bin number and a heap of other categories. Grouping orders together using these variables ensures more efficiency and speed in the warehouse because of preparation.
For example, if a picker is assigned to smaller items, they can use a small trolley with small totes for a lighter load and gain more rhythm from picking items of a similar size. In comparison, larger items can be separated into their own picks and allocated to a forklift driver who can pick the large parts of the orders.
By grouping items into relevant categories, it eliminates any unnecessary back and forth for the picker, allowing them to maintain focus and increase their picking rates.
Efficiency is key in a warehouse to ensure orders are fulfilled correctly for customers, making it even more important to have a system in place that streamlines the picking and despatch operation.
Our picking technology allows operatives to send comments on a handheld device, providing direct instructions to a picker. For example, if you were assigning a picker to cover the smaller orders, a comment could be pushed to their handheld that says, “Collect a small trolley for this assignment”. This will keep the picker moving along with their day, rather than have them second-guessing before starting an assignment.
The system also has a built-in priority feature that will automatically assign the picker to what’s next on the list. So, if your picker has finished with the smaller items for the day, their handheld will automatically move them onto medium items. Or, if they’re assigned to items with a 24-hour delivery slot, they will automatically move onto 48-hour delivery slots upon completion, allowing the business to efficiently meet customer expectations.
Pick rules enable warehouse managers to position their workforce across different sections of the floor.
For example, pick rules can send one picker to isles A-D and another picker to isles G-H. This will spread the workers out on the warehouse floor and avoid creating a bottleneck of pickers.
By grouping orders together using pick rules, businesses can establish which pick rules are most frequently used within the business. This enables management to make reports based on how many orders, and what types of orders, have landed in the system. Having this intelligence is not only useful for the wider business, but it can be used to provide incentives for pickers which will contribute to a happy workforce.
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