Is Zone Picking the Right Option for Your Business?

July 5th 2023 00:23:26 AM

scanco: Is Zone Picking the Right Option for Your Business

Your warehouse setup plays a crucial role in your supply chain and helps to determine how effectively it performs. Building a functional supply chain means optimizing your entire order-picking and warehouse management process. Often, businesses must adopt effective warehouse-picking strategies like zone picking. 

Zone Picking Defined

Zone picking is a particular type of order-picking procedure. The warehouse is divided into several distinct portions (zones). The zones are based on products or picking requirements. Pickers are assigned to work in a specific zone in the warehouse. Suppose a product is needed from a different area to complete the order. In that case, another picker will be assigned to take it on.

For example, one section could be set aside for frozen foods and another for fresh produce. Another warehouse zone is for large household items like furniture. A fourth zone warehouse zone could be dedicated to small things which must be handpicked.

Zone Picking v. Other Picking Types

There are multiple picking styles that you could use in your warehouse, depending on size and other factors. Consider how zone picking compares to alternatives:

Zone Picking v. Wave Picking

Wave picking involves bulking similar orders. A time frame is set for pickers to work on them. This policy is set to maintain an optimized picking schedule for packing and shipping. You may schedule a wave so that all orders are picked and ready to ship before your shipping company’s pickup time.

Zone Picking v. Discrete Picking

In discrete picking, a picker worker works on a single order. They pick one line item at a time. It is the simplest, most uncomplicated picking method. If you have a small warehouse, discrete picking makes the most sense.

Zone Picking v. Batch Picking

In batch picking, orders are grouped and assigned to a picker. The picker then picks all the items. The goal is to save steps and travel time if the same product appears on several orders.

Importance of Warehouse Zoning

Setting up warehouse zoning is a lot of work. It does offer multiple benefits that will contribute to better warehouse management, including the following:

  • Organized Warehouse Space

In warehouse zoning, you are grouping different areas of the warehouse based on shared characteristics. Your product zoning in the warehouse may have zones based on these factors:

  1. How Quickly Product Sells
  2. Product Size
  3. Product Type

Similar products are stored closely together on warehouse shelves. These designated areas make the putaway process more efficient, as well as order picking. One picker can be assigned to pick multiple products in the same zone, reducing the need to move team members between different areas of the warehouse during vacation times or if someone calls in sick.

  • Lowers Risk of Product Spoilage

Warehouse zoning makes it much easier to monitor specific areas for products that need to be stored and kept refrigerated or dry. Refrigerators or freezers are required for items that must be stored at low temperatures to keep foods from going bad and developing food-borne illnesses. The dry-storage zone must be maintained to keep moisture out, which leads to spoilage.

  • Maintain Better Security and Safety

Setting up separate warehouse zones means you can set up different areas for high-risk and high-value items, which helps you maintain better security and safety.

  1. Store flammable liquids and corrosive materials in designated, well-marked sections. Set up safety parameters to prevent leakages and fires. These steps will protect your warehouse’s interior.
  2. Place high-value items in locked security cages. Limit the number of staff with access to the cages. It will help you lower the risk of theft, one of the leading causes of business loss. 

Zone Picking Pros and Cons

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of zone picking:

Zone Picking Pros

  • Pickers stay in one area to complete their picking list. They save steps, which increases their efficiency.
  • Fewer people are trying to navigate the warehouse aisles at any one time. The risk of aisle congestion is lowered.
  • Zone picking offers flexibility since you can customize the zones depending on your company’s needs and the products you sell. 
  • Workers can be more productive by saving steps and not getting caught in aisle congestion. 
  • Multiple pickers can work on picking different items for one order, which means the order can be assembled faster.

Zone Picking Cons

  • Pickers pass the items they picked from one zone to the next until the order has been completed. Since the order passes through several touchpoints, there is more room for human error. 
  • Tracing the source when an error occurs can be challenging since it has many touchpoints. 
  • Orders must go through an additional sorting process once picked from several zones. This adds an extra step to the fulfillment process, which is time-consuming.

Scanco Warehouse Automation Software Solutions Are Designed to Fit Your Needs

At Scanco, we understand that modern businesses care about efficiency. Business owners also care about their employees’ health and safety. Scanco’s Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) meet both needs.

Since we know that no two businesses are exactly alike, Scanco offers several add-on options for Warehouse 100 that are built into the software. Our Zone Picking add-on for higher-volume customers gives them a quicker pick method for single-box orders. This option is unique to Scanco’s channel.

Would you like to learn more about these warehouse options for your business? Contact us online or call (330) 645-9959 to make an appointment with a Scanco Solutions Expert today. 

Topics: zone picking


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