If you’ve ever wondered how your online orders arrive at your doorstep quickly and efficiently, it’s all thanks to the warehouse packing station. Packing stations are the places at the end of your shipment chain where orders are carefully packed and prepared. An effective packing station can reduce your labor costs, shipping expenses, and order errors and helps to meet your customer’s satisfaction. It’s a well-oiled machine that helps to ensure that your orders arrive on time and in perfect condition. In this blog, we go over the basics of a warehouse packing station and why they’re so important.
What is a Packing Station?
A packing station is a space in a warehouse where products are checked, packed, and labeled for shipping. In addition to being ergonomically efficient, it is equipped with all the packing materials necessary within easy reach. And a well-designed packing station can greatly improve the order fulfillment process.
What Does a Packing Station Consist Of?
Order fulfillment is only as fast as its slowest function, and packing–often the last stop before shipping–can be a bottleneck. But a well-designed warehouse packing station will ensure a place for everything. Modular and ergonomic packing stations can increase productivity by eliminating the need for workers to bend, reach, or leave the packing area to retrieve supplies.
Packing stations can be outfitted with various accessories. They usually consist of a workbench with shelves or gravity flow tracks designed to store the materials used to prepare orders for packing and shipping. Packing supplies such as boxes, envelopes, packing paper, and tape can be stored on packing stations in easy-to-reach locations. Tools like scanners, scissors, tape measures, utility knives, and tape guns are often organized and hung on the packing station for quick and easy access.
Connecting your packing and shipping areas with a simple gravity conveyor system can reduce bottlenecks and eliminate worker travel time. Thus creating a seamless integration between order picking, packaging, and the loading dock.
How to Make your Packing Station More Efficient
When it comes to efficiency, your packing station is key. But all too often, people focus solely on storage when designing their packing workstations. In order to maximize efficiency, your packing station needs to be integrated with the company’s warehouse management system. As a result, you will be able to organize the most important packing materials and supplies logically. If you’re looking to make your packing station even more efficient, you can do a few things.
Warehouse Organization for Efficient Packing Stations
A well-organized warehouse is very important for an efficient packing station. A perpetual inventory management system will keep track of stock levels and help avoid surprises. The workstation should be arranged so that all the tasks required to pack a shipment can be carried out smoothly and uninterrupted. It should also be tidy and well-stocked with all the supplies needed to safely and securely pack items for shipment. Creating a lean warehouse will save you time and money in the long run.
Streamline Your Packing Workflow
The packing process is one of the most important steps in getting products ready for shipping. A well-designed packing workflow can help improve efficiency and reduce errors. When creating a packing workflow, it is important to consider the type of products being packed, the volume of products, and the space available.
Packing stations that deal with high-volume small packages need to be more compact so that the worker has enough space to pack products quickly with all the packing materials within reach. Whereas packing stations that handle large and bulky products need to be spacious and include lifting equipment to help workers pack heavy items. Also, extra space can accommodate automation later on.
We have even gone one step further and included a YouTube video that walks you through the processes that go on at the packing station. You can watch the full video HERE.
Create a Workstation That Delivers Orders
In a busy warehouse, time is of the essence. That’s why it’s important to have an efficient system for bringing orders to the packing workstation. Whether it’s boxes, totes, skids, carts, or conveyors, the goal is to deliver the orders in batches, so the packer doesn’t have to move from his workstation. The delivery system should be located next to the table, and the packer should always be within easy reach of a new order.
Whenever possible, staging systems should be next to the table so the packer can avoid lifting, carrying, and walking the carton to the staging location. The best solutions allow the packer to simply push the packed carton onto the staging area which helps to keep the packing station running smoothly and efficiently.
Frequent Packing Process Evaluation Pays Off
If you’re looking to keep your packing operation productive, it’s important to frequently observe and upgrade the process as business factors change around it. You can be more accurate and faster with the right combination of processes, equipment, technology, and training. By frequently evaluating the packing process, you can ensure that your operation is always running smoothly
The Gaming Community’s Answer to Warehouse Packing
Remember those old handheld barcode scanners that revolutionized warehouse picking and packing? Well, there’s always been a bit of a lag between picking up the scanner, scanning the barcode, and then placing the scanner down to continue working. Maybe it’s one or two seconds, but shave those few seconds off every order, and you’ve accumulated a lot of time.
One of our ShipHeroes found our solution in the gaming community. Xbox® released an adaptive game controller meant for gamers with limited mobility. We discovered that this device could work for packing stations at ShipHero. The cost to make this upgrade is nominal. It’s cheaper than a mobile socket scanner, which most clients use in their warehouses. Not only that, but workers love it because it’s more fun and less time consuming. They literally push buttons, no time is lost scanning or using a mouse and keyboard.
Establishing Packing Procedures
An efficient warehouse packing station is critical to a successful order fulfillment process. That’s because it helps you ship the right goods to your customers quickly and in good condition. It can reduce your labor costs, shipping expenses, and order errors and helps to meet your customer’s satisfaction. After all, the success of any eCommerce business comes down to happy customers, and efficient packing stations are necessary to achieve this. Late orders, high shipping fees, and order inaccuracies won’t keep your customers coming back for more. Sometimes, you need a third party with a team of experts to handle the logistics while you focus on growing your business.
This is where a warehouse management solution like ShipHero can help you out. With ShipHero, you can automate your warehouse packing stations and get real-time insights into your fulfillment process so that you can make informed decisions about how to improve your operation. As a result, you can keep your customers happy and grow your business. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take your warehouse packing station to the next level!