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Bulk Shipping Strategies for Maximum Efficiency | Warehouse OS Series Ep 05

Get your orders out the door faster and with fewer mistakes!

Steve Navarro, GM of the Allentown, Pennsylvania facility, explores how bulk shipping efficiency can be improved in video six of our Warehouse Operating System Series. Get an inside look at how his team implemented efficient strategies that have helped meet and exceed production targets.

Learn more and see how you can make your operations faster and more efficient!

Video Transcript
Speed is a key factor here as well. If I want to get the numbers out the door, I need some people who are efficient and know how to work with some speed. Let's get you guys bulk shipping as efficiently as possible. So I'm joined by an expert on this topic, Steve, our GM in our Allentown, Pennsylvania facility. Do a lot of bulk out of this facility, so I'm going to walk you through a bit of how we do that and best practices that you can utilize in your building. So Steve, walk us through how we use bulk, how we plan the day, how we make sure we don't make mistakes, and any tips and tricks you have for new users of bulk ship. Okay. Typically start out with our batch, our bulk suggestion screen to see where we are with suggestions. Anything over 25, we typically want to bulk out, meaning we will process the batches here to do them here in bulk. So we'll start the morning off and we will go through the suggestion screen, see what's out there. We'll start processing the batches anything over 25. It could be 25, it could be 150, it could be whatever's out there for us to pick. It's much more efficient for us to get them done through bulk as opposed to running it through the regular packing station with a picker. We could do about 2,000, 2,500 orders on a normal eight-hour shift, non-peak season. During peak season and we could probably double that number. And one thing I like about bulk during peak is really good use of temps. So very little training, they don't even have to have a login into the software, they just get the stack and get the work. Right. We'll build them a demo and say to them, this is what it looks like, get it done. So let me show you one of our batches. So this is a control form, so we do this control form to track who picked what, when, how long it took, because we're tracking time here as well, and stuff like that. We're always working on efficiencies and stuff like that. What we're also showing the packer is what exactly needs to go in that order. For this particular customer, each order gets a QR code, a QR insert, the impression kit, an envelope and a suffocation sticker. All of that will be packed into a bubble six. The date, any instruction, start time, finish time, who packed it, we've got all these things tracked on. We do this for every single batch that we process. So with that being said, once we've got this done, we're ready to go, we'll print out a pick list. So this is our pick list and this is our QR code. So what we got to do is we'll give this to a bulk picker. So I have one bulk picker for the branch for the facility. She manages to do this all day long, she's pretty much picking the orders we're giving them. She's bringing them back, we're QC'ing what she picked as far as quantities and accuracy. She's scanning the product also for accuracy. We just want to make sure we're double, triple checking, we're not sending out the wrong item. This particular batch is 27 orders, so she should pick 27 items for this batch. If we have an extra label, if we have an extra impression kit, we've picked too many, something happened in the air, something happened, so we will backtrack. What we also do in ABE here, is we keep these carts here, these yellow ones, as you can see. The carts aren't allowed to leave to the sorters until everything matches up properly here before it goes. So that's another thing we do here. Each order goes into a cart. If one of the packers is good, label for label, item for item, we're good, everything worked out just fine, we'll release the cart to the sorters. If there's a problem, we don't have to go looking for it later through a sorting process, it will still be here in our area. One thing we added during peak is the e-pickers. So if you get that on camera, that's what the bulk puller uses. So it's typically less than a pallet, but more than one carton, or at least one carton. So we use that e-picker to efficiently move around the warehouse, grab all the boxes we need for that order, and it makes us a little more efficient and they're much cheaper also than a forklift. They're around 20k I think. Right. Michelle is my bulk picker. So this particular batch, and we have them color coded here by priority as well. So Michelle's going to scan our QR code, it's going to show her exactly what she needs to go pick. So basically with this particular item, the four items that we had on the front page here, she's seeing them exactly right here. So she'll go, she'll start picking, she'll scan the location, she'll scan the product, she'll confirm and verify she has the right item. What her main focus and her responsibility is to make sure the counts are correct when she comes back. I don't want her bringing back less, more. You bring back more, it's a little inefficient, we got to go put it back. So we don't want anything left over around this building. So you're off. All right, thank you, Michelle. Thanks, Michelle. So we know we're in the exception and handling business, so how do things typically go wrong? What can go wrong and how do we address it? So, in the bulk department back here, what we typically see as going wrong is we end up with extra labels, or we end up with short labels. So a lot of the times, and I'll tell you the reason why, we're picking and pulling off of here. Let's just say one of these bulk packer misses one label, and then because it gets long for them, they'll tear it off and they'll throw it in the trash. Next thing you know, they didn't realize they just threw the label in the trash. Because we keep the carts behind the QC then, we can actually see which label was missing. If we run through the labels, we can see which one was missing, which customer did not get their order. All we have to do is plug back in in our system, on our ShipHero system, plug back in our batch ID number, pull up that exact order. We could print just that one label and get that one label out instead of digging through the trash. But that's typically our main problem here, is we'll be short a label issue, and it's human error, we're in the business. I mean, not everyone's perfect unfortunately, however, but that seems to be our main culprit, is we will throw a label away by accident. But the good part about it is we keep the carts behind so we don't have to go digging through a gaylord full of multiple items, multiple packages. We do that for a reason. And then we bring it to sort, right? So we sort it once we're done and we have a hundred percent of the labels done for that order? Right. Then we'll bring it down to sorting, they'll sort it into the correct shipping method. Like most of these here, these are all USPS. But yeah, on these orders, you could have USPS, you could have FedEx, you could have AxleHire. You could have different shipping methods in here. So we'll sort those out, the sorters will get them, do their thing down there, they'll double confirm down there and make sure they got the right item down there as well. When we think about who to put in bulk, is it new people that you put in bulk? What's the criteria for who does bulk versus who does, let's say, multi item back. This function right here takes a little speed and a little, I mean, it is good for the temps, when we bring temps in during the holiday season, during peak season, because there isn't really much, like we said, there's minimal training, pack this, do this and we're done. However, speed is a key factor here as well. If I want to get the numbers out the door, I need some people who are efficient and know how to work with some speed. It's a trial and error basis. We see who's out there, we see who looks good, we see who works efficiently and things like that, and we'll bring them back here to the bulk department. All right, thanks Steve.
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