Barcode Order Picking
Order picking becomes more efficient and accurate when you have a scanning system for warehouse workers. Discover why barcode scanners offer an edge over other warehouse management options and how you can integrate this technology into your operation.
Benefits of Barcoding In A Warehouse
Choosing a warehouse scanner and software helps your workers and your company in several ways. Through using the right stock picking system, you can achieve increased efficiency, streamlined shipping and improved operations.
Choosing a warehouse scanner and software helps your workers and your company in several ways. Through using the right inventory picking system, you can achieve increased efficiency, streamlined shipping and improved operations.
1. Increase Efficiency With Warehouse Picking
Increased efficiency happens because when your workers scan inventory, they avoid mistakes of pulling the wrong items from the shelves. Fewer mistakes mean that your workers don’t have to spend time restocking items erroneously pulled. With fewer errors, your warehouse also maintains its organization because you will have fewer products that are not in their places on the shelves.
Efficiency also increases by saving time with inventory management. Scanning picked products automatically updates the inventory system, improving its accuracy without needing to waste time on manual changes or physical inventory counting.
2. Streamlined Shipping With Warehouse Scanners
Streamlining shipping is a requirement of today’s warehouses. Because you have to compete against the larger companies, you need to find ways to trim time from your order picking process. Barcode scanners help you to meet this need and improve picking procedures in the warehouse.
In fact, many other warehouses have recognized that barcode readers can save time and streamline shipping. Mobile scanning devices, like barcode readers, saw an increase of 33% between 2013 and 2015. Likely, this trend will continue as online sales and the need for warehouses to fulfill orders increase.
3. Improved Picking Procedures In The Warehouse
In a study from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, researchers found that many warehouse operations have tight profit margins. These margins make investing in expensive, high-tech equipment less lucrative than in other industries with more discretionary spending. However, with the rise of ecommerce, many warehouse managers have chosen to invest more in equipment that will speed operations.
Using a barcode system in your warehouse improves operations without requiring you to take the risk of investing heavily in the latest technological innovations. Warehouse picking scanners have proven effective over the years, and only need a small investment in money and training time to integrate them into your operations.
You don’t have to make your facility fully automated with robots to pick orders. Instead, make today’s technology work for you by choosing the best warehouse picking system to keep track of your inventory easily without breaking your budget. Our barcode order pick software meets both requirements.
Advantages of Barcode Order Picking
Not all stock pick software options are the same. In fact, you will notice several advantages with the Finale Inventory software that you may not see in other brands. Our barcode scanners and software offer the following advantages:
- Scalability: As your business grows, you need technology that your company uses to do the same. Our barcodes and software easily adapt to growth in your company. Finale Inventory software can even track products through multiple locations, a necessary feature as your operations spread out.
- Sensibility: Business owners continually monitor the bottom line. Our monthly plans do not require long-term commitments or have hidden fees. For a flat rate each month, you get the benefits from our software.
- Service: Your purchase of our system includes software assistance customized to your business needs plus free training.
Regardless of where your business is now, our stock picking software can help you manage your inventory now and as your operations continue to grow.
The Importance of Barcode Order Picking for a Growing Business
If you are like 87% of warehousing business owners, you have plans to expand your operations by 2024. Warehouse barcodes can help your business to grow in multiple ways. Additionally, once your business has expanded, the system can continue to spread out with your company.
First, the increased accuracy of orders when using warehouse scanners reduces human mistakes. While a single mistake does not seem like a disaster, the customer who gets the wrong orders wastes time with a return. Your business also loses time in providing additional customer care services to make up for the error. Getting every order correct the first time will help your company to develop customer loyalty, a crucial aspect of growth.
Secondly, implementing warehouse scanning is the first step toward integrating automation into your facility. According to warehouse owners, 77% believe that giving workers technology to help their jobs can be a good first step toward automation.
Future growth may depend on more automated, efficient inventory systems and order picking. Scanners play an integral role in helping you move into this field of potential growth. Though small, barcode scanners automate the process of verifying that the picked item is the correct one. When coupled with our software, these scanners also automatically update your inventory. A well-managed inventory prevents losses that can slow your business growth.
Using a Barcode Scanner for Order Picking
To use one of our Finale warehouse scanning devices, you integrate the software with the scanners. The software sends the orders directly to the wireless scanners. From the scanner, the worker can see exactly which items to pick. As the worker pulls the items and scans them, the barcode reader can update the inventory record. Scanning with the reader ensures that changes in packaging or new workers won’t affect accuracy in picking items. By requiring workers to use the barcode scanner to verify every item, your facility’s picking accuracy improves. Additionally, the real-time updates from the scanner to your software helps you to maintain a more accurate inventory and avoid the costly and time-consuming annual manual count.
When using your warehouse barcode scanner, you have connectivity options. These mobile devices can update your software in real-time via a Wi-Fi connection. However, if you have a large facility or spotty Wi-Fi coverage, you may opt for a USB connection instead. This second option downloads all the scans whenever the worker plugs it into a USB cable connected to a computer.
If a barcode scanner warehouse setup is the only use you would have for Wi-Fi in your facility, you may consider choosing USB connectivity. However, if your future plans include using more barcode readers and other automation devices, consider installing a thorough blanket of Wi-Fi connectivity throughout your facility. Not having dead spots in Wi-Fi connectivity allows your workers to update your inventory management software without delays.
Barcode Order Picking Options Available
When it comes to using scanner order systems and software, you can choose from several options for both picking and packing orders. With picking, you have basic and advanced batch picking categories. Packing scans allow for either individual scans or choosing a rapid pack method. These various options allow you to adapt to how you use the barcode scanner to your business model. You can even mix and match options based on the orders your warehouse receives. Find out more about our picking and packing options below.
Picking options fall into one of the four following categories:
Barcode Order Picking Options – Overview
- Basic: Un-guided discrete picking (one sales order at a time)
- Basic: Directed picking (one order at a time)
- Advanced batch: Barcode wave picking
- Advanced batch: Barcode pick and pack
- Advanced batch: ShipStation Batch Ids
- Advanced batch: ShipStation Tags
Basic Picking Methods
The simplest and most common method used by warehouses for online retailers is discrete picking. This method requires the worker to use a paper pick list. Items for each order get picked one at a time. Once the list gets scanned and its items packed and shipped, a worker picks up the next paper list for scanning and fulfillment.
Naturally, this process offers the benefit of simplicity that many smaller facilities need. However, for facilities that fulfill larger orders, advanced picking methods will reduce wasted time without sacrificing order accuracy.
Advanced Batch Picking
Advanced batch picking methods include wave picking and pick and pack.
1. Wave Picking
When you have a large number of order batches reach your warehouse, you can choose wave picking to improve the order picking process. With wave picking, your workers need to make fewer trips to pull items for orders. This method reduces the physical strain workers feel by cutting down how many steps they have to take while also making their jobs faster and more efficient.
First, you must combine multiple orders into batches. Items in each batch have something in common to make picking them easier. For example, the items may come from the same quadrant of the warehouse, use the same shipping carrier or have the same order priority. To keep items organized for this process, you need a sophisticated software picking solution, such as Finale Inventory.
The second portion of wave picking involves programming the software to recognize specific totes or bins for each order. When the worker picks an item and scans it, the scanner will tell the worker which bin the item goes into, ensuring order fulfillment accuracy. The software will walk the worker through the warehouse on the most efficient path for pulling items, reducing time for the picking portion of the process.
Once the bins have the required items in them for their respective orders, they can move to packing and finally to shipping.
2. Pick and Pack
Another advanced batch picking method that helps cut down on travel time through the warehouse is pick and pack. This method uses a two-part system and double scanning of every item to ensure accuracy and efficiency.
First, the warehouse manager consolidates multiple orders into those that need picking. For instance, if three orders require two of the same item for each order, the list would tell the worker to pull six items. The barcode scanner connects to the list from the software and guides the worker through the facility to the items that need picking. Then, a worker pulls items for several orders from the shelves, scanning each during the process.
Once the worker completes the pick list, the items move to the packing area. In this area, the worker scans each item a second time as they pack separate orders to verify that they have the correct items for the orders. This second scan boosts your order accuracy. Additionally, thanks to the Finale Inventory software’s real-time updates, your inventory always has the right information in it, too.
3. ShipStation Batches and ShipStation Tags
This capability was designed with speed and efficiency in mind to allow Finale to work seamlessly with ShipStation without any additional action required. By training your workers to augment the usage of the ShipStation batches or ShipStation tags, you gain the benefits of a mobile barcode scanner for faster and more accurate order picking.
You can do packing one of two ways. The first is item by item, where all products in an order must be scanned separately. You can also scan packed orders, also called the “rapid pack” method.
View the video below for more information about the barcode order picking options available from Finale Inventory.
Scan Packed Orders – One Sublocation
Item by Item Packing vs. the “Rapid Pack” Method
When it comes to packing items, you have two main methods to use. Item by item packing and rapid pack each have benefits for certain situations. You may choose one method for some orders while using the other packing process for other fulfillments. Find out the differences between these methods below.
1. Item by Item Packing Method
Item by item packing requires the workers to scan every product in an order before packing it. This packing method favors accuracy for the process. If you need to verify that you have every item correctly packed in an order and the time to devote to it, this will be the better of the two packing methods.
2. Scan Packed Orders or Rapid Pack Method
For large orders, you may need to prioritize efficiency over accuracy. The Scan Packed Orders feature uses a visual verification of the contents of orders. After the confirmation, the worker scans one barcode to indicate the order is ready for shipment.
Increased Efficiency and Accuracy
By choosing the Finale Inventory warehouse scan system for tracking your inventory and order picking, you can help your operation be more accurate and efficient. Our software helps both in multiple ways.
First, the system assures accuracy by alerting the worker if they scan an incorrect item. The warning signal happens when you properly sync the scanner and software. Properly linked, the software can control the responses of the scanner when the worker scans items for either picking or packing.
Secondly, by having your warehouse’s layout in the system, the scanner can direct the worker on the most efficient path through your facility for picking items. This process reduces wasted travel time and helps ease the burden on workers’ feet during their shifts.
Lastly, you have a more accurate inventory count when you use scanning software. Human errors are reduced compared to using paper-based tickets and manual order pulling. Every time a worker scans a pulled item, the inventory count updates to reflect the change. You will need to spend less time during your annual product count because the system keeps the numbers updated constantly.
How Can Barcode Picking Benefit Your Business
By training your workers to use barcode warehouse scanners every time they pull or pack products, you gain the benefits of an updated system and more accurate order picking. If you want to see what Finale Inventory software can do to improve order picking in your warehouse, sign up for a free 14-day trial or schedule a live demo. You may never go back to old-fashioned paper spreadsheets and manual picking again when you see how much our barcode picking system can help your business.