In a common warehouse operation, the order picking process is a time-consuming and critical process. Optimizing the order picking process is therefore a high priority for many warehouse managers. This blog focuses on two simple SAP tools that can help you optimize your order picking process.
Tool 1: System verifications
Recent research shows that many companies struggle to reach a pick rate of 97%. Meaning that out of 100 order lines picked, 3 or more are classified as mis-pick. Optimizing your system verifications can help you decrease the chance on mistakes and thus increase your pick rate.
System verifications control which variables a picker has to enter in SAP during the picking process. Common variables are material, quantity, storage bin, and so on. Standard SAP is equipped with a set of RF-transactions, which have – in general – not been optimized for your specific needs. By optimizing the Verification Control settings, you are able to control the different variables which must be entered in SAP. You can have different Verification profiles for different storage types or user groups to support specific process variants. By aligning these settings with the actual operational procedures you can achieve a better user experience, and decrease the chance of mistakes. Note that RF-screens can also be used in the desktop version of SAP, it is not necessary to actually use a RF-device.
Verification control is available in SAP WM and SAP EWM. In SAP EWM, you can use more advanced modifications like the Enhancement screen Wizard (add or remove fields from RF screens) or the Split Screen Wizard (split RF screen into multiple new screens).
Tool 2: Wave picking
Many warehouse operations use the common Piece picking method, meaning that one warehouse worker picks all the materials required for a specific order. In many cases however, it would make sense to combine multiple orders into one pick task, or better, to combine and/or split orders into picking tasks based on specific variables. This method is called Wave picking, and is often used in warehouse operations with a large number of SKUs like e-commerce companies.
Both SAP WM and SAP EWM offer functionality which supports wave picking. SAP WM for example, supports combining multiple outbound deliveries or transfer requests into one work package, based on a picking time slot. In SAP EWM, more functionality is available. Not only are you able to combine multiple requests into one wave, you can also split orders into multiple waves. Next to this, SAP EWM provides many combine/split variables like pick area and packing lane. By using this functionality, SAP can create manageable and smart work packages, which make the picking process much more efficient.
SAP WM to SAP EWM migration
If you are using SAP WM, you could consider migrating to SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM). SAP EWM is SAP’s new generation WMS which offers significant advantages and more functionality compared with the traditional SAP WM. SAP offers a Rapid Deployment Solution which assists you in a smooth transition.
Oliver Hahn, 2015