Across the world, there is one thing that almost every fulfillment company thinks about: speed. How fast are the products coming in and hitting the shelves? How fast are the products being picked, packed, and shipped? How fast are the products getting to their client’s customers? Now given, there are a lot of things to think about in fulfillment, but it can be boiled down to: how efficient is our operation? How can you improve your pick and pack express lanes?
However, efficiency doesn’t just encompass speed. To be efficient, you need to be working at the best levels you can be by reducing downtime and increasing accuracy. This balancing act is what good warehouses across the world think about when it comes to the heart of their warehouse, the pick and pack lanes.
But, how do good, or even great, fulfillment warehouses maintain this balance? It all starts by optimizing your picking and packing practices. But to separate the “good” warehouses from the “great” warehouses, you need redundancies instilled to ensure accuracy is at the forefront. Fulfillment experts like us at Red Stag Fulfillment specialize in pick and pack services.
For fulfillment centers that look to improve picking and packing speeds, they might consider adopting “quick pick aisles” or “supermarket aisles,” as Red Stag Fulfillment likes to call it. These aisles act as express lanes. You can imagine these like the express lanes at your local supermarket. Express lanes at supermarkets work the best when you have 15 items or less — any more items and you bog down the line. Another example is the grab-and-go station at a local market. You are able to walk up, grab the item, pay for it, and leave without having to order or sometimes wait in line. For fulfillment centers, it’s similar. The lanes were made to reduce steps in your product’s shipping journey.
Supermarket aisles are for fast-moving or high turnover items — similar to the salad that sits on the grab-and-go shelf. In fulfillment centers, these racks will be filled with accessories, replacement parts, or even paddles that might go with your paddleboard. In many cases, these items only need a shipping label before heading out.
Stick and Ship
Stick and ship products are items that are received at the warehouse already packaged and don’t require an over box. So, all these products need is for someone to stick a label on the package before shipping out. These products are the best for a quick pick, because once picked, it doesn’t need to go down the normal pack lanes. It can go to express packing.
Packing Express Lanes
Packing express lanes can be different for each warehouse. For Red Stag, it doesn’t have all the tools a normal packing lane would have. There is no need for infill or a packing station. All the lanes need is a printer to print off the shipping label and a conveyor belt to push items to the designated truck dock.
You might ask yourself, “why are packing express lanes important?” For starters, it eliminates a lot of unnecessary steps — saving time for your product. Plus, it helps free up space in the normal packing lanes for products that do require over boxes and infill. All-in-all it’s a time and money saver for your business.
It’s a time-saver, but is it accurate?
After learning about picking and packing express lanes, you might think this is a great thing for your business. And, it could be! However, it’s all fine and good to be fast, but it’s not okay if your customers are getting incorrect orders. Optimizing your express lanes and instilling redundancies to ensure orders are accurately picked and shipped is vital.
With anything you do that requires speed, it’s important to also take into account the mistakes you might make. When you apply rules and fail-safes to your operation, you can reduce the number of mistakes that are made. For Red Stag, we have installed numerous redundancies to ensure our client’s packages are shipping out in a timely manner and are accurate — which in turn makes their customers happy.
Pick and Pack Express at Red Stag Fulfillment
Like mentioned before, we pride ourselves in ensuring our clients receive the highest care when it comes to fulfillment. Your customers are our customers. And they deserve a pristine unboxing experience. That’s why we add numerous procedures to our fulfillment process to maintain order accuracy and on-time shipments.
What are the steps involved with pick and pack express?
We could go into the nitty-gritty of all of our procedures, but we know your time is valuable. So, we will stick to the redundancies we created for pick and pack express.
But if you’d like to learn more about what a Red Stag Picker does in a day, read our A Day in the Life of a Warehouse Picker blog.
Scanning, scanning , and more scanning
Scanning is something that we could shout from the rooftops. It’s the most important step in making sure the correct product is shipped to the correct customer. From the moment the package enters our warehouse, it is scanned, and it’s then scanned numerous other times.
For the express lanes, scanning will take place in multiple sections. First, it will start when our pickers grab their batch sheets and scan the SKUs. From there, the barcode associated with the picking bin is scanned. And once the item is picked up, the picker scans the item, the sheet, and the bin to make sure the correct order is being placed in the correct bin with this correct batch. If there is an incorrect scan, the picker is notified via their mobile scanning device that is connected to ShipStream.
But it doesn’t stop there. Once the picker is done, the items are rolled over to the express packing station where the packer scans each item, places the shipping label, and sends the package down the conveyor belt. The last scan happens once the products reach the correct shipping dock before being loaded onto the truck. It seems like a lot, but it’s what it takes to ensure order accuracy. And it’s exactly how we maintained a 99.993% accuracy rate for all of 2021.
Supermarket aisle placement
The other efficiency we implement is the location of the supermarket aisle. By placing our supermarket aisles next to outbound, we are able to quickly pick items and place them on the express packing lane. This eliminates time spent running around the warehouse trying to find each item. With all high-turnover items in one place, the pickers walk down the aisles quickly and efficiently. And once they are done, they can simply walk a few feet to get to the packing stations.
By combining our scanning methods and aisle placements, Red Stag Fulfillment is able to balance the speed and accuracy in order fulfillment. It’s one of the reasons Red Stag has an overall 99.997% accuracy rating. We have created a pick and pack express station within our warehouse to ensure that you, the client, can get your orders out and to your customers not only fast but accurately too.
With our fulfillment guarantees like order accuracy, we take pride in making sure your customers’ orders get to their doorsteps safe and sound. Red Stag’s questionnaire can help you determine what 3PL services your business needs. If your eCommerce business is looking for a reliable 3PL provider like Red Stag Fulfillment, it might be time to give us a call.