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Pick and Pack - The Basics

The term "Pick and Pack" is probably one of the clearest and most easily understood terms in the ecommerce fulfillment industry as it accurately describes what it is. When an order is placed, a warehouse employee will use a pick list to pick each item from its respective location and pack it into the appropriate packaging based on client preferences. The process of picking and packing includes several goals:

  • Pick each item within the customer’s order correctly
  • Ensure that the item(s) is packed efficiently in the right-sized shipping package
  • Pack each item safely to avoid damage during shipping
  • Pick and pack a customer’s order promptly to ensure on-time delivery to the carrier

Pick and Pack Fulfillment Advantages

There are several options for both Storage and Pick and Pack fulfillment at FDC. When choosing where to store your product within our global network, you can store all your products in one centrally located warehouse to reduce inventory carrying costs and inventory management complexity.

Or you can store percentages of all your products (based on your customer address concentration) in multiple warehouses to take advantage of postage and freight cost savings,as well as faster delivery to customers via inexpensive ground transport.

Order Picking Considerations

While pick and pack fulfillment can be a clear benefit to ecommerce stores around the world, it can have its challenges. The largest obstacle is that this type of fulfillment only thrives when there is a high level of organization. Items must be clearly labeled, locations in the warehouse must be clearly labeled, and the pick and pack process must be standardized and effectively communicated to the pickers.

Without this level of organization, delays and incorrect orders can occur.

Attention to detail and defined processes are key in this environment and it’s important that your pick and pack system is suited for the volume of your product catalog and the size of the fulfillment center they are stored in.

So, what are the various pick and pack methods and the organizational efforts needed to ensure your ecommerce business will thrive? Let’s take a quick look at the four most common options.

  • For some internet retailers, PIECE picking (aka “pick-to-order”) is often the best. One order is handled by one individual and each item is picked one by one and packed before moving on to the next order.
  • Slightly different than PIECE picking, BATCH picking is better suited for higher order volumes with identical order profiles. Instead of working on one order at a time, the same methods of piece picking are used during batch picking, however, workers handle multiple orders at a time that are same order profile, meaning each item or items in the order are exactly the same. It is imperative that highly organized pickers and standardized processes are used for this type of fulfillment.
  • ZONE picking is a method to increase efficiency by dividing the warehouse into various areas or zones. Order pickers only work in their assigned zone and pass boxes from one zone to the next manually or using conveyor belts. Zone picking helps to fulfill orders at a faster rate while keeping an eye on accuracy.
  • Large ecommerce companies can also benefit from utilizing WAVE picking, an option that blends zone picking and batch picking. Individuals are assigned a specific zone and pick items for multiple orders at one time. While wave picking is the most efficient way to fulfill orders, it only functions well when a company has a very large volume of orders to complete.

Now if you are new to ecommerce and order fulfillment, you might feel a little overwhelmed at these pick and pack options, so how are you supposed to know which method is right for you and then execute it successfully? Well, we have the answer!

Your dedicated FDC Success Manager can help you determine the best course of action for your specific product and business needs, in this decision and many others. With our our capabilities and experience, we can easily determine which method of storage and pick pack is right for you!