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Shipping internationally is no easy feat. If you intend to ship internationally, you may have to deal with numerous obstacles along the way. For example, picking and packing. It is a small but indeed essential part of the entire supply chain. To relieve yourself from one burden, it is highly recommended that you outsource pick and pack to a third party, especially when you are importing from a different country. Read on, and here we will show you everything you want to know about pick and pack.
- 1. What is Pick and Pack?
- 2. A Quick Overview of the Pick and Pack Process
- 3. Pick and Pack Strategies: Four Types of Picking Methods
- 4. Pick and Pack Strategies: Packing Method
- 5. Challenges of Using Pick and Pack Fulfillment
- 6. Benefits of Opting for Pick and Pack Services
- 7. How Would You Benefit From Our Pick and Pack Services?
1. What is Pick and Pack?
Pick and pack is a necessary step in the order fulfillment. When an order comes in, pick and pack services will come into play. It involves picking products from master cartons or warehouse shelves and packing them into proper boxes along with other packaging materials, so they can be prepared for the subsequent transportation.
2. A Quick Overview of the Pick and Pack Process
Here we will have a glance at how pick and pack procedures work out.
- 1. Order Receipt - An order is transmitted to a warehouse or fulfillment center and is received.
- 2. Inventory Retrieval - A picking list or a packing slip is made for the order, and warehouse workers locate where the item is stored based on the picking list/packing slip.
- 3. Picking Items - Workers select and pick the right items and quantities via various picking methods, including piece picking, batch picking, zone picking, and wave picking.
- 4. Quality Control - Items are checked and inspected during quality control in order to make sure they are in optimal condition.
- 5. Packing Items - Items are combined and taken to the packing station, where they will be boxed, labeled, and packaged for the next delivery.
- 6. Documentation and Verification - All necessary paperwork will be included along with the packages. And a final verification will be carried out to ensure accuracy.
- 7. Transportation - Packages will be sorted, and then handed over to a shipping carrier for cargo transportation.
3. Pick and Pack Strategies: Four Types of Picking Methods
Different pick and pack methods are utilized depending on the order volume, inventory level, and warehouse size. Below we will take a look at four commonly-used pick and pack methods and give you detailed explanations:
- Piece Picking
- Batch Picking
- Zone Picking
- Wave Picking
Piece picking refers to picking items one at a time when receiving the order. Or, pick products in the way they are ordered until the order is complete. The piece picking method is straightforward. Workers select products according to the order they get. However, it is worth mentioning that it is also inefficient.
Batch picking works quite similar to piece picking. Instead of taking items out of inventory one at a time, batch picking requires using batches to combine ordered products all at once. Besides, warehouse workers will be responsible for more than one order under batch picking.
For greater efficiency, the warehouse will be divided into specific zones. And each zone will have its own dedicated workers when under the method of zone picking. Orders transmitted to the warehouse will be analyzed, and workers will pick items from the designated zones exclusively. If the order includes items from multiple zones, a conveyor belt usually comes into play. And then the picked items from different zones will be consolidated for the packing. When using zone picking, the parallel processing of orders helps increase workflow efficiency.
Wave picking is a picking method that combines zone picking and batch picking. In wave picking, different orders will be grouped into a wave. The assigned workers stay in their own zones but pick items for all orders within the wave simultaneously. A wave of orders will move through the warehouse, passing from one zone to the next for picking.
4. Pick and Pack Strategies: Packing Method
After items specified in the order are combined together, they will be taken to the packing station for packaging. Shipping boxes will come into play when packing. And delicate or fragile items require extra packaging materials for extra protection.
The packing process can involve choosing the properly-sized shipping box, putting items into the box, placing packaging materials around or inside the box, and putting labels on the outside of the box. When the packing is done, the ordered items can be ready for the next shipment to the destination port, destination warehouse, or the end customer.
5. Challenges of Using Pick and Pack Fulfillment
Pick and Pack Requires Coordination and Organization
Pick and pack service requires a high standard of coordination and organization. When multiple orders come in, warehouse workers need to get their hands on the right product as soon as possible. Without coordination and organization, it will be difficult to track where the ordered item is and get the picking job done in time without errors. What can bring along coordination and organization, then? A well-established warehouse or fulfillment center, a well-designed inventory management system, a bunch of seasoned warehouse employees, and advanced mobile equipment together can amount to a solution.
Pick and Pack Needs to Be Cost-effective and Streamlined
In order to reduce the overall costs of order fulfillment, there remains a need to find ways to streamline the pick and pack process. The ideal scenario is that warehouse picker movement is made as efficient as possible. But how? The answer may lie in utilizing the pick and pack strategies to the fullest.
Pick and Pack Needs to Ensure Order Accuracy
It is crucial to maintain order accuracy, which calls for effective communication between warehouse pickers and real-time inventory control. Any error in the pick and pack progress, especially in the picking process, can result in shipping delays, and thus bring along financial losses. Some warehouses or fulfillment centers have implemented a warehouse management or inventory management software to help workers pick and pack the right items and quantities to improve order accuracy.
Pick and Pack Requires Experience and Expertise
Challenges also occur during the packing process. When packing, the ordered products should be combined, and then put into the properly-sized boxes along with necessary packaging materials. How to utilize boxes in the most cost-effective way? Which box will be an appropriate option for each order? The key point is to adapt experience and expertise constantly.
6. Benefits of Opting for Pick and Pack Services
Challenges indeed exist. However, here are the benefits you will obtain if you opt for pick and pack services.
Professional Pick and Pack Services Make for Efficient Order Fulfillment
The pick and pack process today has been optimized. By utilizing specialized equipment, mobile devices, and visible barcodes, the pick and pack workflow is made more organized, and thus saves much on time. Besides, pick and pack warehouses or fulfillment centers generally feature a reasonable layout and well-trained employees, which further contributes a timely order fulfillment.
Pick and Pack Services Help You Save Labor Costs
Outsourcing the task of pick and pack means that you do not have to hire people to manage a warehouse or your inventory. A team of pick and pack experts will handle that for you, allowing you to focus more on other aspects of your business. Less workforce, less costs, more flexibility.
7. How Would You Benefit From Our Pick and Pack Services?
Seabay Logistics is your trusted logistics partner who provides one-stop services, covering the end-to-end supply chain. If you are a business owner with import needs, just let us know. We specialize in handling freight forwarding, including pick and pack. Want to outsource the tasks of picking and packing? Sure, Seabay Logistics is here to meet your expectations. We can pick products from warehouses or manufacturing factories (even if they come from different suppliers), pack them according to specific packaging requirements, and conduct quality inspections when there is a need.
With 18-plus years of shipping experience, we have accumulated abundant local resources, and thus grown to know the ins and outs of pick and pack services. Today we are capable of optimizing the process and provide premium pick and pack services to you with the utmost care:
- We are able to pick items from warehouses in almost all cities in China.
- We ensure high accuracy in the pick and pack process to help improve customer satisfaction.
- We can handle the pick and pack process as efficiently as possible to minimize the use of time and avoid delays.
- We offer various packing options based on the property, size, and type of the item.
We guarantee you an efficient and accurate pick and pack process. Now expand your global reach with just one single point of contact. And let us be the best solution for your importing business.