E-commerce has entirely transformed shopping behaviours and the way in which warehousing and distribution centres handle orders. Logistics service providers need to have the right technology in place to make sure they don’t fall behind.

The online marketplace has evolved rapidly over the last decade, with e-commerce becoming the new normal for businesses and consumers. 

E-commerce is expected to continue growing over the next five years, making up 17.5% of total global retail sales by 2021.

The increasing popularity of e-commerce is particularly important for third-party logistics (3PL) providers, with global 3PL revenue expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2022, and e-commerce accounting for 7.2% of revenue by 2020.

For warehouses, the growth of e-commerce fulfilment, where one and two line orders are common, also comes with substantially increased order volumes, smaller order sizes and reduced order cycle times.  In addition, picking individual items is far costlier than traditional full pallet or case picking and requires a cost and time-efficient approach.

With picking and packing accounting for 60-70% of labour costs, warehouses need to carefully consider their picking, packing and shipping processes if they want to succeed in the new e-commerce landscape.

Picking the right solution

CargoWise One now includes ‘multi-order tote-picking’ as part of its warehousing module.

Tote-picking is a variation of trolley picking, which allows multiple orders to be batch picked to a trolley. The trolley is loaded with multiple reusable plastic tote bins and the picker makes a single pass through the pick zone to pick all of the orders concurrently, thereby reducing picker travel distance by up to 70%. Rather than filling one order at a time, the picker will pick the items required for multiple orders in one pass through the warehouse.

Combining tote picking with RF devices and a robust warehouse management system allows warehouses to reduce travel time while increasing productivity and profit margins.

This makes it a great fit for the smaller, more frequent orders you find in e-commerce.

Benefits of tote-picking:

  1. Inexpensive: Tote-picking requires a low capital investment, with minimal disruption to existing warehouse operations.
  2. Efficient: Multi-order tote-picking results in high efficiency gains without substantial investment or technology.
  3. Simple: Configuring tote-picking for your business is easy. Our CargoWise One platform allows warehouses to choose the right pick type for their orders and maximize their capabilities through improved efficiencies and productivity.

Find out more about CargoWise One.

John Ramsey Mabe   John Ramsey Mabe is a Product Manager for WiseTech Global