Wave Picking

Improve your efficiency and accuracy with barcode wave picking

wave picking

Wave Picking is used to describe the ability of a WMS to combine multiple orders within a wave for “batch picking,” which can significantly reduce the number of trips. The “wave picking” part refers to the short interval nature of scheduling the picking sessions, which allows the assignment of orders into groups (waves) such as date, store(s), shipping carrier, high priority orders, or other parameters.

Fewer trips to pick the same number of orders reduce costs, increases productivity, and allows you to stay ahead of the competition. Wave picking is quite effective in large facilities that have thousands of SKUs.

Wave picking is best utilized when the number of picks per order is medium to high, and orders are picked from various zones simultaneously providing a very fast method of picking.
wave picking

Interactive wave picking leads your pickers around the warehouse in the most efficient way possible, by targeting which items to pick next, rather than which orders. This makes interactive wave picking ideal for multiple multi-item orders, because pickers won’t waste time backtracking and going back and forth across the warehouse to fulfill orders one-by-one.

When creating a wave picking session, you’ll start by selecting the sale order to be included in the session. The consolidated pick list of the session is quickly done by scanning the barcodes of the orders to be included in the session. With each scan, the scanner will aggregate the products into a consolidated pick list and will guide the picker with the most efficient route.

The scanner will alert the user where to go and tell the user which item to pick. When the items are scanned, the scanner will tell the picker which slot on the cart to put the item in. This process is continued until all the items have been picked.

With each scan during the picking process, Finale will confirm the item scanner is on the consolidated pick list and will alert the user the barcode of the scanned product is not on the list. Additionally, the scanner will also confirm that the product was put into the correct slot on the cart for quality control.

Check out the video below to learn more about our wave picking batch order picking solution.


Note shown in video: WiFI syncing also available

Wave Picking Video Transcription

Hello, Mike from Finale Inventory. In this short video, we’re gonna discuss wave picking. It’s a advanced method of picking orders using the Finale Data Collector and the Mobile Barcode Scanner, so you can actually make one trip to the warehouse and pick and pack multiple orders all at the same time. So to give you a little bit more insight, we’ll define wave picking. You know, where do we come up with that term? Well, it’s using one trip or a wave through the warehouse to achieve complete order fulfillment of multiple orders all at the same time. So you’ll see this is, kind of, an example of the new wave pick screen, we’ll go into that a little bit more detail too.

So to kind of give you a better visual, imagine you making a…Or utilizing a mobile cart, so you see two pictures here of two different carts maybe that you’re gonna use to possibly go through your warehouse to pick multiple orders at the same time. So we’re gonna introduce a concept in wave picking called a Slot. Now, we define a slot as a box, a bin, or a container on a mobile cart that you will use to sort and organize separate orders for picking and packing multiple orders at the same time on the same mobile cart. So as you see there on the right picture that’s gonna be, kind of, our example where we’ve got some plastic bins and we’re gonna be placing the pick tickets inside of those bins and you see that each bin has a slot number, so I have a slot 1 and a slot 2, I even have two more slots on this cart so that’s the way we’re gonna look at it.

But, you know, the picture on the left here is, kind of, maybe more of a real-world example where you might have a bigger cart with more bins on it that you can actually pick even more orders. So an example we’re gonna go over, we’re gonna do four orders, but as you see that cart in the background can handle a lot more than four orders, and so can our wave picking software. So let’s jump on over to Finale and let’s take a closer look. So we’re gonna set this story up here, we’re in Finale here, and we’ve got four example orders that we’ve entered into the system. So if I go to my sales I’ve got these exp 1, 2, 3, and 4 and these came over to us from ship station. So if I was to go look at the inventory that we’re gonna be working with, I’ll jump over to my stock screen. You’ll see that we’ve got some blank PVC cards, so I’m gonna, kind of, maybe give you an example. When I say “PVC card,” it’s just blank credit card stock that we’re gonna be using.

So this is what we’re going after on the orders, we’re gonna be picking these from the bends you see there in the background. So let’s take a look at the orders over in Ship Station. So if I bring up ship station we’ll see that these orders actually originated here so here they are exp 1, 2, 3, and 4. And your normal procedure if you wanted to pick an order is you, you know, you select multiple orders so I may select all these orders here and Ship Station, now you can imagine you could have 30, 50, 100, it doesn’t matter. But if I select multiple orders, I can then utilize the print and I could say, “Print packing slips,” and I can also print a consolidated pick list,d an that’s gonna be really the example, so our bar code scanners are really gonna achieve this consolidated pick list.

So let’s look at maybe the packing slips, so if you printed your packing slips in Shipstation, you’d see, “Hey I got a packing slip for this Exp order number 1 and another one for 2, and another one for 3 and so on. Then you can see there are some common items on each of these orders, so we got like red stock there and black and yellow and gold and then we have…oh, we have black again on this one, and we also have red on this one and a yellow. So you can, kind of, see, “Man, if we were to make an efficient trip to that warehouse we could use Wave. And if that bar code scanner could guide us in the most efficient fashion to go through that warehouse, and I could pick everything for all these orders and pack it all at one time, that’s the goal of way picking.” So and, of course, here’s an example. So if we consolidated the actual pick part of this, then it would say, “Hey, you need to get three of these, two of these, two of these and one of these.” But you’d also need to distribute those correctly across the individual orders, that’s what our wave picking bar code scanner is gonna do for you. So let’s go take a look at this in even more detail. So let’s bring this back into reality, I’m gonna try and set my screen up here for you. Okay, pulling up my barcode scanner here, now it’ll give you a look at the scanner and we’ll go through this procedure. So first thing we’re gonna do is take our packing slips and get them ready, so it doesn’t matter what order they’re in, but on the scanner we would select Pick, then we’re gonna choose Wave and the first thing this scanner is gonna do is scan us to…ask us to scan an order ID and a slot name. So you would take a packing slip like this and you would take the scanner and scan the order ID and then it’ll ask you to scan a slot name, so I wanna put it in this slot right here which is slot number one and I’m gonna scan that slot and then we just go to the next one. Now we can continue to just do it that way, now some other ways that some people like to do it is just to put the order in the bin itself.

So I’m going to go ahead and put the orders in the bin like that and if I put them all in the bins then all I gotta do is go back and scan an order ID. So if I grab an order ID and then I scan a slot. And then I scan another order ID and then another slot, another order ID and another slot. So now I’ve got four orders loaded up and so if you look on the screen there, we can see that we’ve got four orders scanned right here, so the next thing you do, if that’s all you’re gonna do, is you’re ready to start that wave. You choose the menu button and then start picking. So the first thing it’s gonna to do is tell us to go in the warehouse and we’re gonna be following there. As you see, we’re gonna be looking at finding A04. So it’s telling us to go to A04 in the warehouse, which is where we’re gonna find the yellow blank PVC card. So this is my warehouse in the back here so imagine these are different locations in the warehouse. So A04 is this one right here, so all I need to do is scan the location and now it tells us to get one of the yellow card, so I’m gonna reach in here, grab a yellow card.

So we’ll put this and now notice the screen says slot 3, so it’s telling us where to put it too. So I’m gonna scan the yellow item and then it tells us, “Hey, confirm that you’re gonna to put that into slot 3,” which is the order that we’re actually ending up picking this item for. So, if I do that, I put it in that bin and I also scan the slot. So I’m gonna scan that slot to confirm it. So then it tells us, “Hey, yellow again, we need one of them,” but this time, look at the top of the screen, it’s actually showing us slot 4. So we’re gonna pick another one from the same location so if I grab that one out of the bin, we’re gonna scan it and it tells us, “Hey, put it in slot 4.

So I’m gonna confirm that I put it in slot 4, now it tells us, “Go to A7,” so I would go to A7 in the warehouse and it tells us, “You need to get one of the red.” So I’ll reach in here and get one from the red and as I scan that, I know it’s going in slot 1 because it tells me at the top the screen, I’m gonna put it in slot 1. Now, also notice, that the screen is telling us a lot of information at the same time, so it tells us to confirm that it’s slot 1. It also tells us, “Hey, that there should only be one left in that location and that the next pick is for the same item. So the user will get used to these prompts and you know it’s telling me exactly what needs to be done. So I’m gonna scan slot 1 to confirm that I put it in there but what if I accidentally scan the wrong one? What does it do?

Gives you a warning sound and it tells you, “Hey, you didn’t do what you’re supposed to do.” I say, “Oh, yeah, I scanned the wrong slot, so let me make sure. So I need to get another one, so I’m gonna reach into A07 and get another red one. And scan it and it’s going in slot number three. So I put it in slot three and confirm that. Now it tells us to go to A08 the next location. And then it tells us we need one of the golds, so I’m gonna grab a gold out of here and that’s going to slot number 4, I need to go to A09. And then I need to get a black one, so I’ll reach in here and grab a black and put it in slot 1 and confirm slot 1. This next we need to get two of them and it’s going in slot 2, so I’m gonna reach in here and get two more blacks and notice that it says, “Keep going,” because they’re supposed to be two.

So telling us we need to get one more, so I can scan it again, put it in slot 2, confirm that and it says, “All orders are done.” So we just completed one trip through the warehouse, and remember, it started with like location number four, and then it went to seven, then eight, then nine. So when in order…and we picked all the items on all four orders and it guided us through the whole thing and it also gave us confirmations of stock levels left, and it confirmed and we had to confirm which bin we actually put it in to make sure it was packed correctly. And that’s it, that’s all you do. So if I say Complete here we just completed that whole wave. Of course, the next thing you would do would be to connect this back to your PC and your workstation. So I’m gonna go back to Home and then we’re gonna hit Barcode Scanning, connect, connect to the scanner.

There’s all our orders. we have the four orders being picked. We’re going to upload that to the cloud. And we just now completed picking those orders, so if I go back you’ll see they’ve all been packed and that’s example on how to use wave picking with Finale Data Collector and our Mobile Scanner.