With the rise of eCommerce, the way business works has become less transparent. When brick-and-mortar stores were the norm, it was easier to grasp the workflow for how products got purchased and delivered into the hands of consumers. In this article, we’ll break down the what pick and pack is.
The Hidden Part of Online Shopping
Pick and pack is part of the physical back-end of the eCommerce world. It is how physical goods get into the hands of consumers who have done their shopping online.
When a customer orders online, the goods show up at the delivery address in a box. The part where those goods get picked out and packed into the box is a forgotten part of the process.
That invisible part of the process is called "pick and pack" and is frequently outsourced to a third-party logistics company (3PL) company. You may have some general familiarity with the process from reading articles about Amazon warehouses.
It's the same basic idea whether you are selling items stored on shelves in your garage or whether you have grown to the point of needing a warehouse of your own. Someone has to pick items off of shelves full of inventory, pack those items up and ship them to the customer.
There are a variety of methods for how to do this. The appropriate one will depend on a variety of factors, such as the type of merchandise you sell and how big your business has grown.
Types of Pick and Pack
A small shop will typically use a method called piece picking. This means one person selects all the items for a single order, packs it up and ships it.
As your business grows, it may make more sense to use a batch picking method. If you have enough volume, this is a more efficient method that allows you to do the work in batches. In other words, one person fulfills several similar orders at the same time as a means to make the best use of their time.
When a business grows to the point where it can fill a warehouse with its inventory, zone picking may be the next logical step. The warehouse gets broken down into zones and each zone has a single worker that knows that zone and works only in that area.
As a box comes through, the worker pulls only items from their zone and adds them to the box. They then pass it on to the next zone.
At higher volumes, a method called wave picking combines both batch picking and zone picking for purposes of efficiency. Batches of boxes go through each zone in order to handle a high volume of orders quickly.
This process is often managed by software and the efficiency of the operation can be impacted by how the inventory gets organized. For example, storing high volume or popular items closer to the point of service can help save steps and time.
Contact Port City Logistics
When your business needs to optimize its shipping process, Port City Logistics is the perfect partner. Our experienced staff has created numerous solutions that will revolutionize the way your business sends your products. Your products, materials, or goods will get to your business faster and often cheaper than ever before. Start a conversation today to get your warehouse fulfillment optimized.