Currently, about 50 percent of all Amazon distribution centers use a picking method referred to as the random strategy where products are placed haphazardly across the distribution center.
When Amazon began operations, all orders were filled using paper-based picking methods. Order pickers were simply handed a list of items to pick, and off they went. Of course, it was easier because Amazon’s only SKUs were books.
Even as cities continue to open back up, curbside, pick up in-store (BOPIS), and alternative fulfillment solutions are far from getting kicked to the curb. In fact, retailers like Albertsons reported its fourth consecutive quarter of digital growth of over 200% in April, largely attributed to their delivery solutions, curbside pickup capabilities, and innovative apps.
Over the last year, retailers have had their resiliency and supply chains tested in response to COVID. As online orders surged with stay-at-home mandates, companies struggled to meet demand with a decreased workforce and broken supply chain. Over a year later, as cities open back up, many retailers are wondering "what's next?"
Voice picking, also known as voice-directed picking and Pick-by-Voice (PbV), is a super-efficient hands-free order picking method where the picking associate wears a microphone-equipped headset, used to verify items and their quantities. The multi-modal functions mean that 2-way communication is often enabled, so pickers can respond to operator queries when necessary. This high-demand picking method is being adopted by retail distribution centers.
Also known as pick-by-vision, this contemporary approach to warehouse picking works by providing order pickers with guided visual cues projected on their Head-Mounted Displays (HMD) throughout the picking journey. If there’s an error, the mistake is flagged and the picker can correct it immediately. This saves retailers from making costly mistakes brought on by returned orders.
In this day and age, it is so important to have a successful buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) experience with more and more customers purchasing items online. It may seem like a very simple process, but messing up even one small step in between could cause cart abandonment, miss picks, or customers arriving at the wrong pickup location - all resulting in frustrated customers.
Pick-to-light, also known as Pick-by-Light (PbL), is a light-directed system that shows a warehouse picker the exact location of the item and the number of items they need to pick. Pick-to-light systems can help operators accurately pick over 450 items per hour.
Pick-by-Paper is the oldest and most common method of item picking and works just as it sounds: associates fulfill orders by picking items from a paper list.
There are several important aspects of having a successful buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) experience, starting with the obvious: how easy it is for a customer to make the purchase online - all the way through when they pick up the items in-store. Messing up even one small step in between could cause cart abandonment, the wrong item being selected, or customers arriving at the wrong pickup point, all resulting in frustrated customers.