Tablet-Based Picking Drives Down Labor Costs


For most warehouses, order picking represents 60% to 78% of labor costs. Solutions which directly reduce order picking labor for both manufacturers and distributors is the most important aspect of a lean manufacturing operation.

While order picking methods vary as greatly as the distribution centers teams who use them, an order picking systems design is a key part of every warehouse solution. WarehouseOS® (WOS®) specializes in tablet-based picking, the most effective approach on the market today.

Tablet-based picking is superior to pick-to-light and pick-to-voice because tablet-based picking is faster, at a lower cost, and with less integration. Tablet-based picking has a simple visual interface, which is highly configurable, yielding a customizable and easily updated experience for the user. Regardless of SKU volume or product handling, solutions like WOS are designed and implemented as a comprehensive picking system to meet unique requirements with reliable, flexible, and intelligent solutions.

It is critical when selecting a tablet-based solution to ensure that the system interfaces with most common Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Warehouse Control Systems (WCS) and that sufficient Pick/Put locations are available. Depending on the size of the operation, some customers will want a stand-alone solution or one that is integrated with an intuitive graphical interface.

Eliminating pick and put errors, increasing efficiency, and reduction of labor are the key variables to consider. Since labor represents such a significant part of warehouse and distribution costs, a reduction in manpower demand is achieved with increased throughput.

Being compatible with new material and legacy systems, and scalable to accommodate future growth are equally vital elements to consider.

The bottom line is that paper picking cannot keep pace with tablet PCs when it comes to piece picking and packing.

The labor costs of picking are spent walking to retrieve each piece. That accounts for two-thirds of total picking time alone, often trying to fulfill multiple orders in one trip. Kaizen events often demonstrate that effort must be made to ensure pickers are taking the quickest pick route and collecting the accurate SKUs the first time. Mobile technology is much more efficient in managing this process than requiring employees to reference outdated paper lists that can cause delays in shipping – or poor customer service outcomes.

WOS has seen many companies transition to the tablet-powered cart solution. These customers are responsible for distributing thousands of SKUs, across many states.  

Sometimes an acquisition or a move can cause a dramatic uptick in warehouse workload. In these cases, customers may quickly outgrow the push cart and paper picking ticket method, and then find matters compounded by moving to a larger warehouse. The result is more walking and decreased productivity among workers. These growing pains are solved with tablet-based picking.

Learn more about WarehouseOS®