For businesses with sizeable warehouse operations, it is essential for staff to travel as efficiently as possible so that orders can be quickly turned around and common tasks promptly completed. To ensure target travel times are being achieved, managers and supervisors will set up walk routes to help navigate staff through the warehouse in the most effective manner whilst also monitoring their performance as tasks are undertaken. However with so many different factors affecting the speed at which activities are completed, obtaining accurate performance data can be a real struggle.
Depending on the manner in which they are picking, staff will travel across the warehouse at different speeds and handle varying volumes of stock. Warehouse managers are then tasked with evaluating the skewed results and deciding which of their staff are performing highly and which are under-achieving. However with some pickers on forklifts, others picking by hand, driving pallet trucks or carting tote trollies, deciphering whether staff productivity is being maximised or not can be an almost impossible task for many businesses.
Here at OrderWise, we are constantly enhancing our warehouse management credentials by developing new ways for businesses to help improve their warehouse operations with the help of our industry-leading Mobile WMS Devices. In just the last few months, features such as Despatch Goods In for fast order turnaround, Pick Rules for automated pick assignment, Pick Amalgamation for rapid picking, a new walk route product usage method and much more have all been added to OrderWise to help vastly increase warehouse efficiency and productivity.
Now in version 9.9 of OrderWise, another substantial piece of new functionality has been added that further extends the power of OrderWise Mobile WMS Devices and their ability to provide outstanding warehouse management and staff performance feedback. This fantastic new feature provides OrderWise Mobile WMS Device users with picker performance monitoring and targeting to help achieve a consistent level of productivity from warehouse staff as well as a way to identify potential efficiency issues within operations.
Monitor Performance & Maximise Warehouse Productivity
The concept of this new standard functionality on the Mobile WMS Devices is to provide businesses with a way of accurately measuring and analysing the performance of individual pickers as they move between bins and gather the stock for their picks. This detailed information can then be used to create target times which can be displayed on a users Mobile Device, counting down the time expected for them to reach the next bin they need to pick from. Although activating the on screen countdown timer is optional, it provides pickers with a guide to their targeted levels of productivity and helps maintain a consistent picking speed, increasing efficiency and order throughput within the warehouse.
Even if the on screen countdown timer is not activated, businesses will still be able to get full benefit from this latest functionality. Once configured the performance statistics of each Mobile WMS Device user can be gathered as they perform their normal picking activities, recording full details of the time taken from starting a pick to scanning the correct bin, from scanning the bin to confirming the pick and then from pick confirmation to the scanning of the next bin until their pick is completed. Using this data companies can quickly identify if there may be potential performance issues both with the individual picker or the overall picking process and enable improvements to be identified and actioned. The performance information also provides companies with additional staff reward opportunities such as picker of the week/month or most improved picker along with vital information to assist in getting new or temporary staff quickly up to the performance levels of existing pickers.
Tailor Zones To Suit Your Operation
This new feature uses zones to identify and manage timings between picks and a user can create as many zones as they require for each of their stock locations. Zones are then assigned to bins enabling users to determine whether a zone represents all bins on a rack, in an aisle or even have a zone per bin to meet their unique preferences. In addition start and end zones can be created where picks would begin and end. When a pick is started the Mobile Device will then know which zone the bin for the first pick is in and how long it should take to get there from the start zone.
Once zones have been created, within OrderWise users are then able to link each zone together and have the option to manually enter the target travel time for moving between each zone. Should multiple stock locations be in use then zones between each location can also be linked and travel times between these determined.
With a number of different ways that pickers will be moving about a warehouse it is important to look at the timings and performance of these individually. Some staff may be using forklifts or picking truck others Tote trolleys, some by hand, others with a pallet truck and so on. The speed at which it takes a picker on a picking truck to move in a straight line will be faster than someone pulling a trolley, however picking truck speeds will be much slower when moving between aisles for example. Move modes can be configured within OrderWise for each distinct method of navigating the warehouse to enable performance statistics and target times for each to be individually configured, monitored and accurately compared. Each Mobile Device User can then have a default move mode set against them to ensure the target time counting down is relevant to their move mode.
Gather Staff Performance Statistics
Once all the zone information has been configured, users can then activate the gathering of performance statistics. With this setting turned on, pickers will continue performing their usual tasks with the time it takes pickers to move between zones and gather picks recorded in the background. This allows businesses to gather statistics from which target times can then be calculated to help set much more accurate timings based on overall average picker performance. These stats can then be viewed in the zones performance record from within the system module. From here, users can then analyse picker performance, filtering the results by date range, user, move method and context, e.g. picking move, picking gather, etc.
New Zone Check Module To Gather Travel Times
In addition to this there is also a Zone Check module that can be activated on a users Mobile WMS Device that is controlled via a user group setting. Using this new module, a user can set target times for each move mode. The user would firstly select the zone travel they wish to check before scanning a bin within the start zone to start the timer, move to finish zone by the chosen method and scan a bin to set the target time. Once the zone checks have been completed, the user can then send the travel times back to the main OrderWise system for evaluation.
Maximise Task Efficiency With Average Time Countdown
At any point following zone and target time configuration the picking countdown timer can be activated to then display the target time countdown on all Mobile WMS User Devices. A colour code system helps provide a fast visual indication to pickers in addition to the countdown itself. Initially the timer will display within a green box, when 25% of the time remains, the timer will turn amber to warn the picker they are approaching the target time. If the target time is exceeded, the timer will turn red and start counting up. Once the bin in the end zone area has been scanned, the timer will stop, pause for a few seconds to enable the picker to review the time and the time will be added to the zone performance records so that picker performance can be analysed.
With the introduction of this incredible new functionality, any company that is picking goods using OrderWise Mobile WMS Devices can ensure that the productivity of warehouse tasks is constantly maximised, the performance of each of their picking staff carefully monitored and detailed analysis of their overall operation obtained.
For more information on how OrderWise Mobile WMS Devices can help businesses to effectively manage warehouse operations, download our brochures or watch our videos.
Existing users can find out full details by visiting the OrderWise Online Shop.
To discuss your requirements in detail contact us today on 01522 704083.