Optimizing pick and pack operations is essential for ecommerce brands to deliver exceptional customer experiences. However, as order volumes grow, handling these intricate fulfillment processes in-house can become complex. This article explores the fundamentals of pick and pack warehousing, the various methods available, and how outsourcing to an experienced 3PL provider can drive efficiencies. Additionally, the article highlights top 3 pick and pack companies you should know in 2023.
Pick and pack refers to the warehouse process of fulfilling orders by picking inventory items and then packing them for shipment. To learn more about two terms, let’s have a look at the steps be
Once orders are received, warehouses must fulfill them accurately and efficiently. The pick and pack process lies at the heart of order fulfillment. While the basics are straightforward – picking items then packing them – there are a variety of methods warehouses can employ.
With piece picking, workers receive the packing slip for one order at a time. They traverse the warehouse to pick all the required items for that individual order directly from inventory shelves and zones. Once every product on the packing slip is picked, the complete order is brought to the packing area for fulfillment.
Piece picking is best suited for smaller operations with lower daily order volumes, where focusing on fulfilling single orders efficiently is simpler than batching. For warehouses with just a handful of orders per day, piece picking may be the most straightforward approach for accurate and organized pick and pack.
Batch picking groups orders requiring similar items or located in the same warehouse zones into batches for efficient fulfillment. Pickers can retrieve all inventory for multiple orders in one pass through a zone. This saves significant time compared to picking orders individually. Batch picking works for both small and large operations. Even smaller warehouses can pick all received orders together daily rather than piece pick each one separately. Optimizing batch composition based on item or location commonality streamlines picking routes.
Zone picking divides the warehouse into different picking zones. Pickers are assigned to specific zones and only pick items within their dedicated area for each order. Once their items are picked, the partial order is passed to the picker in the next zone. This continues until the order has moved through all zones with required items, before heading to packing.
Zone picking is best suited for larger warehouses where it would be inefficient for pickers to traverse the entire facility. The segmented approach improves productivity but requires greater coordination. A warehouse management system is essential for managing zone allocations, inventory, packing slips, and picker workflows to optimize this interdependent process. With proper organization and technology, zone picking allows large fulfillment centers to effectively leverage their workforce across expansive facilities.
Wave picking is a hybrid approach that combines elements of both batch and zone picking. In this method, workers pick items within a designated zone for a batch of orders, as opposed to picking for a single order. Once the items are gathered within the zone, they are then passed on to the next zone for further picking.
This strategy streamlines the picking and packing process by grouping multiple orders into "waves" based on specific criteria, such as order priority, product location, or order size. By doing so, wave picking optimizes efficiency and reduces travel time, offering a more organized way to handle the fulfillment of orders in a warehouse setting.
Cartonization is a pivotal aspect of the order fulfillment journey, involving the strategic selection of the optimal number, size, and specific type of boxes to aptly ship a customer's order. This meticulous process holds the dual objective of minimizing packaging materials while ensuring utmost product security during transit.
This practice is especially crucial in scenarios where weight, dimensions, and unique product attributes influence the packing decision.
The ability to present your brand's distinct identity upon delivery stands as a valuable asset, contributing to setting your business apart within the competitive landscape. Certain third-party logistics providers (3PLs) extend the option for businesses to seamlessly incorporate branded packaging and inserts into their packing procedures.
This supplementary service not only facilitates the process but also serves as a means to provide customers with a memorable and distinctive experience, thereby nurturing brand loyalty.
Product kitting constitutes a pivotal element within the pick and pack process, playing a vital role in enhancing the efficiency of order fulfillment operations. This practice involves the creation of pre-packaged assortments, known as 'kits,' strategically positioned across diverse storage facilities. These kits stand primed for immediate dispatch once an order materializes. The scope of kits spans an array of offerings, encompassing gift sets, influencer packages, subscription boxes, and more. The availability of these meticulously pre-assembled kits serves to curtail the volume of orders necessitating bespoke pick and pack procedures. This, in turn, translates into substantial cost savings, presenting a compelling advantage for brands seeking to optimize their operational expenditure.
In today's dynamic business landscape, the intricacies of order fulfillment play a pivotal role in shaping customer experiences and overall brand success. As e-commerce continues to evolve and customer expectations escalate, the efficiency of your pick and pack operations becomes paramount. Herein lies the strategic advantage of partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) company for your fulfillment needs.
This exploration delves into the compelling reasons why outsourcing pick and pack fulfillment services to a 3PL company stands as a transformative decision for modern businesses aiming to thrive in the ever-evolving world of commerce.
Establishing an effective pick and pack fulfillment system necessitates not only expertise but also a considerable amount of square footage to strategically set up optimal picking zones and packing stations.
However, in the realm of e-commerce fulfillment, available space comes at a premium cost. This is particularly challenging for smaller businesses seeking additional warehouse room to accommodate their growing operational needs. The expansion of inventory storage space becomes a potential bottleneck, hindering growth prospects and the ability to uphold high levels of customer satisfaction.
Collaborating with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider equipped with an extensive network of pick and pack warehouses offers a proactive solution. This partnership guarantees your brand access to supplementary space, seamlessly catering to surges in sales during peak periods or facilitating a gradual expansion of your operational capacity.
One compelling advantage of maintaining in-house fulfillment operations lies in the freedom it offers brands to meticulously tailor every facet of the fulfillment journey, particularly the methods employed for pick and pack processes. In the pursuit of delivering a delightful post-purchase experience to customers, many e-commerce businesses aspire to infuse personalization, yet the associated time and material expenses of crafting an engaging unboxing encounter can surge as the brand expands its reach.
At the outset, integrating branded packaging and thoughtful gestures such as handwritten notes or product samples can be straightforward, especially when handling a modest number of daily orders. However, the challenge emerges as order volumes escalate, potentially rendering existing packing methods inadequate to prevent the pick and pack fulfillment process from encroaching upon valuable operational hours. While enlisting additional personnel might seem like a quick fix, the cost-effectiveness of such an approach diminishes over time.
Enter the strategic alliance with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, which offers a pathway to sustainable growth through economies of scale. By distributing fulfillment expenses across numerous clients, a 3PL partnership ensures that the pick and pack fulfillment remains economically viable as the brand advances its operations.
Even a modest uptick in sales can place manual order management practices under strain. Transferring data manually or relying on hand-written packing slips can inadvertently lead to fulfillment errors or sluggish packing procedures, subsequently elongating the order processing time and delaying customer deliveries.
The integration of automation through pick and pack software presents an avenue for brands to optimize their warehouse operations, yet the substantial cost associated with such automation can be burdensome for smaller-scale merchants to absorb entirely.
By opting for the route of outsourcing order fulfillment and entrusting pick and pack warehouse tasks to external experts, brands can ensure access to cutting-edge technology and specialized know-how, all while adhering to a markedly more budget-friendly price structure.
Operating from strategic locations across Colorado, Georgia, and New Jersey, QuickBox Fulfillment has established itself as a prominent player in the realm of order fulfillment. Commencing its operations in 2009, the company has consistently delivered exceptional pick and pack services, catering to diverse business needs.
Notably, their expertise extends beyond conventional services, encompassing Amazon Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) operations. QuickBox Fulfillment's comprehensive offerings span an array of functions, ranging from devanning, labeling, and kitting to Seller Fulfilled Prime services.
The company further demonstrates its commitment to operational excellence through services such as EDI/UCC-128 compliance, storage solutions, cross-docking capabilities, re-works, and advanced barcode scanning.
Founded in the year 2010, InterFulfillment operates efficiently across dual hubs situated in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. The company stands as a dedicated provider of pick and pack services, underscoring their commitment to seamless order fulfillment.
Beyond this core service, InterFulfillment offers a suite of supplementary solutions that encompass devanning, labeling, kitting, EDI/UCC-128 compliance, storage facilities, cross-docking capabilities, re-works, and advanced barcode scanning functionalities.
Efex is a leading provider of outsourced pick and pack solutions that enable brands to optimize their fulfillment and exceed customer expectations.
Our nationwide network of smart warehouses powered by cutting-edge warehouse management systems delivers unparalleled accuracy and speed. Efex offers tailored services like kitting, cartonization, and branded packaging to create memorable unboxing experiences that build loyalty.
For brands managing growth, Efex provides the scalability to handle surging order volumes seamlessly. Our expertise in fulfillment processes combined with our use of automation enables us to maintain service quality as our clients expand.
Efex enables brands to focus on sales, not logistics. By outsourcing pick and pack to Efex, companies gain an experienced partner that handles the intricacies of order fulfillment end-to-end. Trust Efex to provide the infrastructure, technology, and supply chain capabilities required to delight customers and fuel your growth in today's dynamic ecommerce landscape.
As ecommerce accelerates, optimizing pick and pack operations is imperative for brands. The intricacies of fulfillment directly impact customer satisfaction and loyalty. While handling these processes in-house gives control, it can become complex as order volumes grow. This is where the strategic value of outsourcing pick and pack to an experienced 3PL like Efex becomes clear.
Powered by our nationwide fulfillment infrastructure and warehouse technologies, Efex provides the expertise, resources, and scalability required to optimize your pick and pack. Trust Efex to handle every facet of order fulfillment so you can focus on delighting customers and growing your business. Contact Efex today to learn more about our comprehensive pick and pack services purpose-built to equip brands for ecommerce success.