Training a new warehouse employee takes, on average, 6-8 weeks to get them up to speed, which means warehouses are spending thousands of dollars on onboarding costs per new hire. With labor at its highest cost ever, warehouse picking accounts for 60 percent of operational costs - millions of dollars per year, per warehouse.
Your order fulfillment speed and capacity have a huge impact on your supply chain and long-term sustainability. Automating and optimizing your workforce and inventory can not only reduce your costs, but increase your customer satisfaction and competitive edge.
In 2020, supply chains went up in flames, but they’ve just taken a more literal turn. Ocado canceled thousands of orders for their order picking robots after reports of them causing a fire in the Erith fulfillment center last week. The online grocer said it was caused by three of the robots colliding into each other.
Those that survived a year of stress testing supply chains, deliverability, and eCommerce are now cautiously wondering what lies ahead for the remainder of 2021 and beyond. The answer is both: opportunity and uncertainty.
As retailers and consumers begin to open their doors, what will return to normal and what will continue to expand or change? Let’s take a look at some of the changes we’re seeing in the grocery and retail space.
Last mile delivery refers to the final stretch of time and space an order travels from a warehouse, transportation hub, retail location, or fulfillment center to its final destination. Last mile delivery accounts for around 28% of the total product transportation costs - which makes it easy to see how businesses spent over $86B on last-mile delivery in 2017.
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.
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.