pick pack methods

Pick Pack Methods When Fulfilling Orders for E-commerce

Written by Jessica Barfied  | Published by QuickBox Fulfillment

This guide takes a closer look at different pick pack methods available to e-commerce companies when it comes to fulfilling orders. Which one is right for you?

Pick, pack and ship. That might sound pretty easy and straightforward on paper, but the reality is often a different story.

A great order fulfillment strategy starts with the right pick and pack method. After all, there’s a lot of moving pieces that go into making your order fulfillment process hassle-free and successful.

A well designed and thought-out inventory management plan will also help you fulfill customer orders accurately and with optimum efficiency. This guide explains the different pick pack methods available to you as an e-commerce business.

Core Elements of the Pick Pack Process in Order Fulfillment

The chances are that you manage your own order fulfillment, or you have contracted a 3PL company like QuickBox Fulfillment to take care of it. Either way, the core elements of the pick-pack-ship process are similar, regardless of what products you sell. Here are the key aspects:

Receiving the Order- You probably offer your products on many sales channels, including your dedicated web store, social media stores, affiliate channels, email, and any other avenue in between. All of the channels are connected to your system in your warehouse. Every time an order is placed by a customer, a packing slip will be generated by the order fulfillment software at your fulfillment warehouse.

Order Picking – This involves picking the actual product from the shelves at your fulfillment warehouse. This is at the very heart of your pick-pack-ship service, which is why your method of choice is crucial. If you select the wrong pick pack method, this stage of fulfillment will be riddled with inefficiencies and redundancies.

Order Packing – This should be a run-of-the-mill packing process to ensure aesthetics, safety, and integrity of the items you’re to ship. So, it should be sealed well, secured and labeled properly ready to be shipped.

Now, your orders should be sorted out according to the carrier and other systems you might have in place to ensure they are ready to be picked up at the loading dock.

Which Pick Pack Method is Right for your eCommerce Business?

When it comes to choosing a pick pack method that’s a good fit for your company, it often boils down to the nature of the products you offer and the size of your business.

Of course, you can switch to another method to better accommodate your business growth, new products, and other changes. The following are the most common pick pack methods available to you when fulfilling orders:

(1) Piece picking

This is what it sounds like – your fulfillers will go to the warehouse and pick items for a single order each time. When you have collected each item on the packing slip, you then move on to the packing station to get the order packed and ready for shipping.

This is the most basic pick pack method out there. It’s easy to execute, and ideal for small e-commerce businesses that receive a few customer orders each day.

(2) Zone Picking

This is the ultimate pick pack method for bigger e-commerce companies with complex fulfillment warehouses. In this approach, each zone has dedicated pickers. They receive the packing slip, pick up items within their zones, and then pass it to the pickers in the following zone. This goes on until the entire order is fulfilled before all items in the packing slip are taken to the packing station.

This method calls for a high level of coordination and warehouse software to make the whole process hitch-free.

(3) Batch picking

In this method, you pick orders in batches and pack them simultaneously. This approach is designed to give pickers the most effective way to move around the warehouse and get many orders fulfilled concurrently.

The size of your business is not a factor. Batch picking is meant to efficient and holistic from the word “go.”

(4) Wave Picking

Wave picking brings the best of the two worlds – movement efficiency of batch picking and order division associated with zone picking. In other words, pickers handle a batch of orders at the same time but only pick out items in their zones. Once they have picked all the items in the batch, they will pass it to the next zone workers who will do the same. This is done until all the items in a given batch are picked before they are moved to the packing station.

These are the 4 major pick and pack methods e-commerce firms can choose for their order fulfillment strategy. Your choice depends on the number of pickers you need, the size of your business and amount of products.

Is It Time to Outsource Your Pick and Pack Services?

If your eCommerce business has grown beyond your fulfillment capacity, there is another solution. You can outsource your pick and pack services to a 3PL provider.

When you use a fulfillment warehouse, you get the benefit of peace of mind knowing that your orders are being processed by professions who are equipped to do the job right.With Quick Box Fulfillment every order that you send through gets picked, packed and shipped on the same day provided that it is received by 2pm MST. This happens 7 days a week which means there’s no “weekend carry-over” where you’d normally lose 2-3 days on order shipment time. Your order fulfillment will also benefit from the latest pick and pack methods that allow you to increase order accuracy and reduce shipping costs. You will also have 24/7 access to our order fulfillment software allowing you to stay continuously updated.

Don’t let a successful growth spurt of your business get in your own way. Be ready to scale by outsourcing your order fulfillment today and avoid any delay in your expansion. Call or email Quick-Box Fulfillment today to learn more! 

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