Multipicking: proven way to increase efficiency and profitability of warehouses


In warehouses where you ship dozens or hundreds of orders or orders with many items every day, it is financially and time unsustainable for a warehouse worker to handle one order, then another order, and so on. Warehouse workers browse the warehouse unnecessarily back and forth, are inefficient and work takes them too much time. Therefore, advanced warehouses are increasingly switching to multipicking – a system of picking multiple orders at the same time by one warehouse worker.

What is multipicking

In a "classic" warehouse, an employee receives an order and picks individual lines item by item onto a pallet or into a box, which they then take to the place where packaging and shipping will take place. In well-managed warehouses, this is aided by an information system that navigates the warehouse worker around the warehouse in such a way that they pick up the order as quickly as possible, walk or drive as few meters as possible, and also reduces the risk of product confusion to almost zero.

However, such a method is difficult to sustain for large warehouses or even smaller warehouses that pick orders with many items. The warehouse worker picks every single order without errors and in the fastest possible way, but immediately after the next order, for example, they have to go back through the entire warehouse to the place where they were a few minutes ago. All in all, they are still relatively slow.

That's why advanced warehouses use more and more often multipicking – unloading multiple orders at the same time. The warehouse worker drives or walks through the warehouse and removes items for, say, ten orders at a time. For the smooth functioning of such a management method, it is necessary to introduce a warehouse information system, such as LOKiA WMS.

Forms of multipicking

Multipicking in a warehouse can take many forms and variations. Companies with larger warehouses often use a system where one warehouse worker serves only a part of the warehouse and places goods from multiple orders at a designated place, where another warehouse worker picks them up and completes them with goods from other parts of the warehouse.

In smaller warehouses, the worker usually operates on the entire area of the warehouse. For example, they receive ten orders, the WMS automatically calculates the fastest route for collecting all the items from these orders, and then the warehouse worker takes them to the place where another worker sorts the goods according to the orders. In LOKiA, this system is labeled as simple multipicking.

Another option is multipicking with order consolidation, where the warehouse worker first prepares as many handling units (for example, pallets or boxes) as the number of orders they are currently picking. The goods collected from the shelves are then sorted according to the orders into prepared handling units. Although this warehouse worker will be slower than in the case of simple multipicking, they can then take the finished pallets or boxes straight away for delivery and no one else has to sort them, so in the end this method can be faster.

Multipicking brings enormous time and therefore financial savings to the warehouse. It pays off for anyone who picks dozens of orders a day or orders with a high number (on the order of tens and hundreds) of items. In the beginning, you need to carefully analyze the processes and set everything optimally, the subsequent implementation together with the WMS implementation you can manage in just a few weeks or months at the most.

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