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by Laurus Nobilis
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Supply Chain | Warehouse Design

Warehouse Case Picking Methods (E)

Warehouse DesignLogistics is very expensive function of every company. Warehouse is very expensive, often contributing 25% of total logistics. At same time warehouse need to provide sufficient service level to customer. Therefore, planning of warehouse design is crucial for effective and cost efficient service.


Posted: Nov 2013

The next aspect to look at is the order picking methods. The main units to be picked for customers, would it be pallet loads, layer quantities, or case quantities. Paletts picking is reasonably straight forward, that can be taken directly from reserve storage. Layer quantities, there are various ways to do that, either automated layer picking machines, or they can be picked in a similar way to cases. Case picking is probably the most complex, and also the most labor-intensive so that is the one I have concentrated on.

On this you'll see different dimensions along the x-axis, throughput per SKU, and at the y-axis is the amount of stock per SKU, or per product line. If we saw something in the middle in base level picking, then this is probably the most conventional way of picking case level quantities, and by base-level picking what I mean here is the ground level picking position is used for case-picking, and for palettes or reserve storage are stored in the four or five levels above that.

If we have a different ratio for that one picking to four or five reserve, if we have slower moving goods then we may be considering second level picking. This is particularly useful when there's been an expansion of SKUs, and we need to get more picking locations than we have ground floor locations. So here we would use specialist trucks that would assist the picker in picking from the second level as well as the ground level.

And here we would then have a ratio to two bottom-pallet positions for picking compared to say two three or four levels above for reserve storage. With even slower moving items we're on less stock per SKU, where we have for example, just one pallet of a product, there we may be using man up picking trucks, and picking from all levels of the warehouse. Alternatively, for slow moving goods we may actually be bringing the pallet down and then picking from the case, from the pallet at ground level and then putting the rest of the pallet up high again into reserve storage.

Warehouse Design - Case Picking Methods

If we move in the other direction to the x-axis to the higher throughput per sku, then there's no more in base level picking, then we can move goods into a forward pick area and actually completely separate out the auto pickers from the replenishment activity in order to speed up picking. Alternatively we can even put the pallets on live storage positions so that immediately the front pallet is exhausted through case picking the second pallet would then flow down and there's always stock in the picking location.

Another method which is used, presumably, in a lot of your customers, is cross-docking where they have high throughput, but obviously where they are looking to hold very low levels of stock themselves in their distribution centers, and that's very common in a lot of retailers.


7 Steps of Warehouse Design
Planning Horizons
Planning Levels
Equipment resource Levels
Day in the Warehouse
Warehouse Zones
Case Picking Methods
Warehouse Equipment Selection
Fixed and Variable Costs
Relative Attributes of Warehouse Design
Suitability for SKU Throughput Ranges
Warehouse Equipment Attributes Matrix
Final Warehouse Equipment Selection Factors

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