As a shipping manager, you need a variety of skills to master the complex task of making sure your company’s orders are shipped and delivered safe and on-time. To be successful in this position, you must be well-versed in budgeting and reporting, organized, have good leadership skills and communicate well. Increasingly, a shipping manager must be comfortable working with information systems and reporting to management on activities and issues.
This blog focuses on the picking and packing portion of the shipping manager’s job. A business can receive many benefits by focusing on picking and packing including increasing worker productivity and enhancing security. Read this blog to learn about picking and packing and the successful shipping manager.
Picking and Productivity
Picking is the process of pulling product from inventory to fill a customer’s order. It’s expensive and labor intensive. It’s also a critical part of the supply chain process. It can represent up to 55% of total warehouse operating expense. Companies can approach picking in several different ways, with varying degrees of complexity and benefits. Here are a few warehouse management approaches to consider to impact picker productivity and improve your bottom line.
- Discrete order picking: A picker walks to pick all the items from one order, one line at a time. The worker travels throughout the warehouse to complete an order. This is the most prevalent order picking strategy due to its simplicity.
- Batch picking: This approach involves picking SKU’s for multiple orders simultaneously, minimizing travel time. Batch picking is often used when a typical order has only a few SKUs and these are relatively small.
- Zone picking: Here, SKU’s are arranged into zones and employees are assigned a specific zone from which to pick. Conveyor belts are often added to move products from one zone to another. This approach makes picking quicker and allows employees to specialize.
There are many factors that impact a company’s picking choice including cost, product complexity and warehouse space size. Many companies and specialized consultants provide the advice and services needed to help improve warehouse picking strategies.
Packing and Productivity
Shipping managers are consistently asked to increase shipping productivity. Doing so means analyzing the shipping process and thinking about those components that can be changed or upgraded. Packing presents another productivity enhancement opportunity.
For example, if you are currently using hand-held tape guns with plastic pressure-sensitive tape (PST) to seal your cartons, you are missing out on the productivity benefits of an electric gummed paper tape dispenser and water-activated tape.
Hand-held tape guns used repetitively feel heavy over time and put a strain on packers’ wrists. The repeated movement involved in using the tape gun to seal a carton eventually slows workers down. Also, the plastic tape frequently tangles, forcing workers to interrupt their workflow to find the beginning of the tape so they can proceed with their carton sealing. These problems result in reduced productivity.
On the other hand, water-activated tape used in conjunction with an electric water-activated tape dispenser is considerably more productive than using a tape gun. A research study done by an independent testing facility, SGS North America, found that carton sealing productivity was 21% higher using water-activated tape plus a dispenser.
Package security is a high priority so your business can satisfy your customers and avoid losses. Customers may be understanding with a company if items are missing or damaged on one occasion and if the situation is rectified quickly. However, they probably won’t be so generous again if there’s a second problem.
You can protect your company’s products—and reputation—by using water-activated tape to seal your shipping cartons. Made of paper and a starch-based adhesive, water-activated tape is available in a variety of widths and thicknesses and can contain layers with fiberglass reinforcement if desired for strength. When the tape’s adhesive is activated with water, it penetrates the corrugated carton and the tape forms a permanent bond with the carton. This permanent bond promotes security because any efforts at tampering the carton’s seal become obvious.
Better Packages® and Central Brand® Tape
IPG’s Better Packages® brand and Central® brand jointly provide industry with the complete packaging solution. Together, these brands deliver a full line of gummed tape dispensers, under the Better Packages brand and an impressive range of high performance tapes under the Central brand. This combination has been satisfying customer packaging needs while delivering security and branding to every consumer doorstep.
For more information, download the free ebook to maximize productivity with exclusive tape dispensing performance tips.