RDS™ Order Release Module balances the order mix across the Split Case and Full Case Pick Modules along with the order flow to the pack Area, Print and Apply Labeling, Ship Sorter and Pallet Build Operations.

Warehouse distribution operations are shipping critical items, including laptop computers, electronics, HVAC components, and repair parts for both consumer and business customers. They are acting as online retail stores. Their mission is to connect manufactured goods to the customer with a high percentage of same-day shipments. Does your DC have the right tools to manage the B2B and B2C customer delivery experience?

Today’s dynamics are influenced by several factors. COVID-19 is a new disruptive force. In many cases, the DC’s potential workforce is fearful of contracting the virus, reducing the ability to attract new workers.  The DC is operating with a reduced staff and a higher demand for same-day order shipments. This creates pressure to optimize and prioritize orders that have priority shipments while balancing the picking tasks with a smaller labor pool. 

Creating leaner operations for over three decades, Numina Group understands how DC’s without the right automation tools are adversely impacted. We work with clients to identify operational constraints and develop an order fulfillment solution that optimizes order release to balance work across pick zones. The Order Release is managed by our Tier 1 RDS™ Real-time Distribution Software, a Warehouse Execution, and Control System, that includes automation software modules that manage the entire order release pick, pack, and ship order fulfillment process.

Identifying the Problem

Identifying the Problem With Pick Zones

A manual, tribal knowledge-based order release process cannot accurately and efficiently account for the DC order picking rates within multiple pick zones. That type of system results in too much work in certain zones and a lack of work in other zones. The overloaded zones with excessive orders result in worker congestion and picking conflicts with both batch cart-based and zone routing conveyor system picking automation systems. When conveyor zones become overloaded, the system becomes jammed, forcing workers to double handle cartons, and start and stop the conveyor, leading to inefficiency and higher chances of picking errors.

What are the Effects of Inefficient Picking? 

A manual, paper-based, or outdated wireless handheld barcode terminal used to direct a discrete order picking process wastes time and drives up order processing time due to higher error rates and costs per shipment:

  • Order picking is the costliest and most labor-intensive task in a warehouse’s four primary activities (receiving, storage, order picking, and shipping).  
  • Roughly half of order picking is still being processed manually because human operators are more responsive to changes and unique picking/packing instructions. 
  • Operators do not always perform flawlessly, especially in congested pick zones.

The above factors increase the demand to improve order flow and automate the operator movement and picking tasks.

Zone Picking

Zone picking, when managed with picking technology such as a pick by a voice system designed to manage and optimize zone picking, will efficiently manage a mix of order types.  Zone picking can manage several order types such as pick to carton orders and batch picking single SKU orders at the same time. The zone picking process can reduce picking travel time and increase the operator’s pick per hour performance.

Order Consolidation 

Orders that require SKU’s picked from multiple zones need software to efficiently consolidate the picks originating from multiple zones at an order consolidation area. A Put to Light consolidation put wall shelf managed by the Warehouse Control System is a cost-effective and rapid means to consolidate the picks from across the warehouse and manage the packing operation.

How does RDS™ balance work across multiple pick zones?

RDS™ connects with your existing WMS or ERP system to bolt-on more efficient order fulfillment processes, technologies, and material handling automation. RDS™ warehouse control and execution platform includes pre-developed software modules to enable order release to prioritize critical shipments, and optimize workflow and operator pick and pack tasks, thus balancing picking tasks across multiple pick zones.  This allows you to allocate labor efforts to where it’s needed most.

MC3300 and RDS Voice Simplifies Your Warehouse

RDS™ simplifies and increases picking efficiencies:

  • RDS™ Voice – Directs workers to pick multiple orders in multiple zones, synchronized across the DC to reduce travel time in the most efficient pick path. 
  • Pick and Put to Light – PTL can be used to pick in the high-velocity SKU zones in combination with voice picking. It is ideally suited to managing the put wall order consolidation for managing picks from multiple zones in a zone-based picking application.
  • Zebra Technologies – RDS™ order picking automation suite gets superior productivity and operator performance when the operator is equipped with the latest mobile wearable computers for directing hands-free picking and other warehouse activities, such as receiving, replenishment, and shipping consolidation tasks.  Zebra’s enterprise-grade mobile and wearable computers equip workers with the right tools to streamline the entire order fulfillment operation.
  • Lower cost of ownership – Numina Group partners with Zebra to bring you affordable upgrades through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program, where you can trade in legacy devices from any manufacturer for cash rebates towards your upgrade.

Without controlling and balancing order release, worker inefficiency will result in higher missed priority same-day order shipments and poor customer satisfaction. Intelligent continuous or batch order release automation balances work across the DC to keep everyone busy and get last-minute orders out within shorter time windows. An Automation investment pays for itself with huge increases in productivity and accuracy.  Experience the power of 99% order accuracy when you talk with our warehousing specialists today for a free assessment of your current workflows.

1 Vanheusden, Sarah et al. Reducing Workload Imbalance in Parallel Zone Order Picking Systems.  Research Group Logistics, 2017.