Tote Picking

Tote Picking

Tote picking is an order-picking method that uses totes, large reusable containers, or bins to store and transport items in a warehouse. In this system, items are placed in totes and then moved to a designated pick location, where an order picker retrieves the items needed to fulfill an order.

Tote picking is often used in warehouses that handle a high volume of small or lightweight items, such as in e-commerce fulfillment centers. It can be more efficient than other methods, such as pick-to-belt or pick-to-cart, because it allows the order picker to carry multiple items at once.

The process can be performed manually by a worker using a handheld scanner who works from a pick ticket to select items from their storage locations and puts them into a tote to be packed and prepared for shipment.

Tote picking can be made more efficient by using automated warehouse systems that include voice picking technology, automated conveyor systems, mobile warehouse robots (AMRs), and other technologies to transport picked items from storage to the shipping area.

Batch Picking for Greater Efficiency

One way to increase picking efficiency is to deploy batch picking, an order-picking method in which warehouse operators simultaneously pick items for multiple orders at once. It is a proven method to improve efficiency and reduce the time and effort required to fulfill orders. Batch picking is a valuable method to accelerate pick, pack, and ship operations, particularly when implemented with mobile robots and voice technology.

This method increases efficiency and throughput by reducing employee travel time, which can be 10 miles a day, especially in a single-order picking environment. When employees pick orders individually, they typically make redundant trips to the same locations multiple times to fulfill each order. This method results in extra travel time and requires more workers to complete order-picking tasks.

Implementing Batch Picking

To implement batch picking in a warehouse, orders are typically grouped into batch pick tickets created by the warehouse management system (WMS) or warehouse execution system (WES). The WES system also optimizes pick paths to minimize employee travel time. Batch order selection includes like-SKU order pick logic that reduces picker visits to the same location.

Replacing Tote Picking with Pick to Carton

Picking to carton, as an alternative to picking to totes, eliminates repetitive steps, reduces labor, and speeds up fulfillment. In a pick-to-carton process, warehouse operators pick items directly into the final shipping carton. The use of totes and the labor needed to transfer orders from totes into shipping cartons is no longer necessary.

Amplifying Pick-to-Carton Benefits with Cartonization Software

One way to magnify the benefit of picking to carton is to add cartonization software to your operations. Before releasing orders for picking, the cartonization software automatically selects the most space-efficient carton size to eliminate unused space, reduce 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.

RDS recommends the most efficient package type and analyzes the order release plan to create the most efficient picking process and path.

Selecting the Right Picking Solution

If you’re interested in learning about order-picking strategies and other warehouse automation solutions, the Numina Group can help. Numina Group has over 35 years of experience defining, designing, and implementing highly profitable automated warehouse systems. Our automated warehouse solutions enable companies to increase productivity by 50% or more, reduce labor costs by 30% to 70%, and increase order accuracy to 99.9%.

We offer consultative warehouse automation design services to identify the right lean processes for your operations. We help you turn your design into reality by combining the power of RDS™ WCS-WES, our real-time warehouse control and execution software, with cutting-edge material handling technologies.

Customer Video: NorthShore Care Supply Doubles Productivity with Batch Picking, Combining Voice Picking and AMRs

Product Sheet: RDS™ AMR BatchBot™

Blog: The True Cost of NOT Automating Your Warehouse

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