Pick to Carton

Pick to Carton

Due to the continued growth of e-commerce, many companies are now shipping much larger volumes of smaller orders directly to the end consumer, resulting in higher labor requirements in picking, packing, and shipping operations.

As a result, many companies are analyzing their fulfillment operations to identify ways to ship more orders faster without adding labor costs.

One of the best ways to achieve this is to deploy alternative picking solutions such as the pick-to-carton process.

What is Order Picking?

Picking refers to an order fulfillment process in which items for an order are selected or pulled from various locations in the warehouse and transferred to packing stations to be prepared for shipping.

In a manual picking operation, an operator works from a pick ticket to select items from various storage locations and place them into a tote or carton to be packed at a packing station.

This process can be streamlined to reduce labor with warehouse automation, such as voice picking technology, automated conveyor systems, or mobile warehouse robots to transport picked items from storage to the shipping area.

What is Pick to Carton?

In a pick-to-carton process, warehouse operators pick items directly into the final carton in which they are shipped. Totes are no longer necessary. Picking to carton, as an alternative to picking to totes, eliminates repetitive steps, reduces labor, and speeds up fulfillment.

How Picking to Carton Speeds Up Shipment Processing Time

When pickers are not picking to the actual shipping carton, they typically pick items into a tote or other reusable warehouse container. The tote is sent to a packing station, where an operator removes items from the tote, selects a shipping carton, and packs the order. Once complete, the package moves to a shipping station to be sealed and labeled for shipment.

Many of these steps are eliminated when items are picked directly into a shipping carton. When orders are picked into their shipping cartons, they can bypass the packing station and advance directly to the shipping station to be finalized for carrier pickup.

Amplifying Pick-to-Carton Benefits with Cartonization Software

One way to magnify the benefit of the pick to carton process is to add cartonization software to your operations. Before releasing orders for picking, cartonization software automatically selects the most space-efficient carton size to minimize unused space, lower void fill costs, and ensure the order is packed to take advantage of the lowest possible shipping rates.

Cartonization software is typically integrated with an automated warehouse system such as Numina’s RDS™ WES-WCS platform. The RDS Cartonization software module, combined with the RDS Order Release software, yields further savings through efficiency gains on the operations floor.

The RDS solution recommends package types and analyzes the order release plan to create the most efficient picking process and path. For example:

  • The order release software will organize picking so that operators pick items for several orders from a zone rather than picking just one order at a time. The picking path is also optimized to reduce unnecessary steps, reduce labor, and shorten pick times.

Video: Customer Green Rabbit Shows RDS Order Release Software in Action

  • The order release software will also analyze and balance the workload across all the pack and ship stations to keep orders moving. Suppose the operation includes multiple packing stations to accommodate different pack requirements. In that case, it will perform load balancing to keep all stations active and prevent overloading or idle time at any specific station.

If you want to learn more about pick-to-carton applications, cartonization software, or other ways to reduce shipping costs in your warehouse, please contact us.

Learn More

Blog: The ROI of Voice Picking
Customer Case Study Video: Rainbow Resource Boosts Productivity by 50% and Reduces Staffing Needs by 30%
Product: RDS™ Warehouse Execution System

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