There are actually many ways to pick an order from a warehouse location. However, in this article we’ll focus on two picking methods: picking by order and batch picking. You may already guess the difference from the names of these activities, but let’s explain in more detail.
Picking by order, or discrete picking, implies visiting a picking location individually per each order. For example, two customers order the T-shirts with the same SKU, and two different orders are created. As a result, when processing these orders, a warehouse employee should visit the picking location two times, to pick the T-shirts for two separate orders. This is the most common and straight-forward order picking method.
On the contrary, batch picking combines the lines from different orders into a so-called “wave” by using the inventory management software. As a result, the warehouse employee should visit the picking location only once, and it significantly saves time. After the picks of individual products is completed, products are sorted by order, packed and shipped.
Each picking method has its own advantages. Picking by order is simpler but it takes more time, whereas batch picking saves time, increases productivity, and reduces labor costs, but required two coordinated steps – pick and then sort.
You should choose the picking method based on your loads and workflow. For example, batch picking is perfect for you if the same SKU with relatively small dimensions is frequently ordered from you by different customers. In other cases it’s better to use the traditional method of picking by order. Despite the fact that it requires more time to pick, it actually speeds up the response time for order fulfillment.
Delivrd, the inventory management software, supports both picking methods to give the clients more convenience and flexibility. No matter how many orders you have, Delivrd will help you with any order profile. More details are coming soon!
This how-to guide explains the different processes involved in managing serial numbers of products. Serial number management is another powerful way Delivrd provides to minimize packing mistakes and make the whole fulfillment process more efficient.
What are serial numbers?
A serial number is a unique code assigned to uniquely identify an item. Although called a serial number, it may include letters or other symbols.
Serial numbers are all around us – your phone has one, the T.V. in your living room has one, the CPU in your computer has one. So how does Delivrd use serial numbers, and why would you want to use serial numbers, where possible?
As you might have understood by now, Delivrd relies heavily on barcode scanning. For barcode scanning to work properly, Delivrd needs a way to identify a product. There are various ways to do that – some products have an UPC/EAN barcode already printed by the manufacturer. Books have ISBN barcodes printed on their backs.
Different barcodes identifying products:
However, many products do not have these barcodes. So Delivrd relies on two other methods to identify products:
1. SKU barcodes – each product in Delivrd has a unique SKU assigned to it. Scanning a barcode containing that SKU enables Delivrd to verify that the product that was received, or packed for a customer order, is the actual product that was ordered.
2. Serial number barcodes – scanning a serial number, first when products are received from your supplier, and then , when products are packed for a customer orders, provides Delivrd with a very reliable process to identify products and prevent packing, shipping and inventory errors.
Serial numbers in receiving products from suppliers
If you are lucky enough, your supplier manages their products with serial numbers, and they have labeled all their items with a serial number barcode.
One of my suppliers, Volumerate, applies serial number labels on all the item of all of their products. I assume they use it for their own picking-packing-shipping processes, but I’m not complaining.. Here’s an example of several items of a product with a serial number label:
When you receive products with serial numbers from a supplier, the replenishment (purchase) order number is saved along with the rest of the information of the serial number. If there is a quality problem with one of the items you ordered, you can notify your supplier the serial number and the order number the damaged item was shipped with.
Another benefit to using serial numbers throughout your order fulfillment process is tractability. If your customer complains about quality issues in the item you sent them, your can trace back from that customer orders’ which serial numbers were shipped, and let your supplier know which items are defect. Without serial number management, it would be very difficult to know which item was shipped to the specific customer, as there is no way to distinguish a single item of a product from other items of the same product.
It’s important to understand that using serial numbers in Delivrd is not a must, but rather optional. You can use all of Delivrd’s powerful features by labeling your products with a barcode label containing the product’s SKU number or use existing EPC/EAN/ISBN barcodes, although serial number management has some advantages, as was explained in this how-to.
If your supplier provides you with items labeled with serial numbers (as does my supplier, VolumeRate) we strongly recommend to use serial number management as explained in this how-to guide.
If you want to use serial number management but your supplier does not label his items with serial numbers, you can print your own labels (if you have a barcode label printer and the required software). You can create new serial numbers without reference to a replenishment order – you can first receive the products from the supplier without serial numbers, apply the labels to each item, and then create the new serial number in Delivrd.
This how-to guide explains how to perform packing & shipping when using Delivrd’s Wave functionality. A short reminder – a Wave is a group of customer orders you fulfill together, as a batch.
Delivrd’s Wave packing functionality is one of its most unique features among inventory management and order fulfillments solutions. It walks you through the actual, physical process of packing your products as part of fulfilling your customers orders. It’s a ‘keyboard-free’ process, where you do not input the information but rather scan it using a barcode scanner and barcode labels.
Not having to input information using your keyboard minimizes mistakes and makes the actual process of packing a lot more efficient and reliable.
Let’s first look at the Wave Packing page and it’s different elements:
The screen is made up of several parts:
Packed Lines: Shows how many order lines need to be packed in this wave, and how many lines have already been packed.
Current Shipment No.: Show the tracking number of the current shipment.
Last Shipment No.: Show the tracking number of the previous shipment.
Product to pack: Shows information about the product you need to pack, and an image of the product. Seeing is Believing!
Packing Material: Shows information about the packaging material required to pack the order lines’ product you need to pack, and an image of the packing material.
Order Line Status: Shows various information on the status of the current packed line, such as order number, quantity to pack for this order line and quantity that was already packed etc. It also shows you the status of the different steps of the order line: pick, pack and weight.
The bottom part of the page is made up of two input lines. The lines vary in usage, depending on the step of the process.
Step 1: Pack order products to shipment
When you first start packing an order, you first need to scan the tracking number of the shipment, and then scan the products barcode.
In Delivrd, A single shipment equals a single customer order, so if a customer order has two order lines, 1 piece of product A and 2 pieces of product B, you will scan the same shipment 3 times, one for each piece, and you will scan each piece once, before you physically place it inside the packaging material (a carton box, a poly mailer or a padded envelope).
So the scanning sequence is :
Tracking Number, barcode of product A
Tracking Number, barcode of product B
Tracking number, barcode of product B
You must scan a tracking number because Delivrd needs a away to uniquely identify the current shipment. If you do not use tracked shipment, you can use Delivrd to print random tracking numbers. These numbers will only be used by Delivrd, not by your courier.
When you scan a product’s barcode, you can either scan a barcode with the product’s SKU, a serial number of that product, or the product’s EAN/UPC/ISBN number.
Whenever you scan a barcode of a product, inventory of this product is updated – a single piece is subtracted from inventory. Also, inventory of packaging materials is adjusted based on their actual usage in the packing process.
Step 2: Weighing the shipment
Once you have completed packing a shipment (e.g., you’ve placed all ordered quantities into a packaging material), you now need to weigh the package. You need to use an weight scale to know the actual weight of the package.
Weighing in Delivrd servers two purposes:
1. Shipment (=package) weight is printed on the shipment label.
2. The weight is used as a control measure to make sure no packing mistakes have been made.
Here’s how this control is achieved:
When products are created in Delivrd, their weight has to be provided by you. Once a shipment was fully packed, Delivrd calculates the expected weight of the package, by combining the weight of all the products + the weight of the packaging material used for packing.
This expected weight is compared to the actual weight reported by the user. If the weights are different, it is very likely that a packing error has occurred!
We recommended that you do not seal and tape the package until the weighing step is complete, so that if a possible packing mistake has been identified, you can easily view the packages content and if required, repack the shipment.
Hopefully the following video will make the process more clear.
Video tutorial – packing Waves in Delivrd
To summzarize, the advantages of using Devlird’s Wave packing vs. packing single orders one-by one:
Grouping orders together makes picking of products + packaging materials more efficient
Visually presenting products to pack and packaging materials minimizes packing errors and makes the process more reliable
Barcode scanning minimizes packing errors and makes process more efficient
Weighing control identifies packing mistakes before actual shipment
Printing shipping labels and packing slips minimizes shipping errors
Automatic update of inventory levels, based on barcode scanning, make for a more accurate inventory management of both products and packaging materials.
We will provide you with more video demos that will further demonstrate the power of Delivrd’s Wave Packing & Shipping.
This how-to guide will explain how to use one of Delivrd’s most powerful feature: the (pick) Wave.
What is a Wave? the way most order fulfillment processes work is: orders stream in through the different sales channels throughout the day. At certain intervals – once an hour, several times a day, or even once every few days, orders are grouped together, picked, packed and shipped.
The Wave is the grouping of orders for the purpose of picking,packing and shipping them together, making the process much more efficient than processing each customer order separately.
To create a Wave in Delivrd, go to the Wave menu (under Outbound Processing), and click ‘New Wave’.
There are two parameters you need to input – the maximum number of order lines that can be grouped in this wave, and for which sales channel orders should be fulfilled.
When creating a pick-pack-ship Wave, you need to set the courier you are going to use to ship the Wave’s orders.
Important: Only Released customer orders can be added to Waves. By releasing orders you control which orders should be picked for each wave.
Screenshot: Create Wave page
Once a Wave is created, you need to review it and release, before you can start actual packing.
From the Waves list page, you can go to Edit, review the list of order lines in that particular wave, and release the Wave.
You can also use the Edit page to print a picking list – a list of all products you need to pick to fulfill the wave, the quantities, and the storage bin of each material (if you ,maintain the bins in the product information page). The picking list includes all packaging materials required to pack the Wave’s products.
Screenshot: Edit Wave page
Screenshot: Wave Picking Slip
Of course, you can remove order lines from a Wave and pick them in another wave.
Once a Wave is released, you are ready to start packing.
Video tutorial: Create and manage Waves
The next how-to guide will explain how to use the packing functionality in Delivrd, a unique, enterprise-grade packing software solution, which will minimize costly packing errors, and save you a lot of time in the packing process.
This how-to guide explains how you create partners in Delivrd, the free inventory management and order fulfillment cloud solution.
Partners in Delivrd describe the people and companies which are part of your supply chain. In Delivrd, there are 4 types of partners:
1. Supply Sources – This are the people or companies that are the source of the products you sell. These can be a factory which produces the products you sell, an online marketplace such as Amazon, eBay or Ali Express, or in some cases, the direct supplier of your products
2. Suppliers – These are the ones who supply your products.When you create a new replenishment (purchase) order, you select the supplier of your products from the suppliers list.
When you create a new supplier, you need to select the supply source of this supplier. For example, if you buy your products from a supplier names jung.jong who sells his products through AliExpress, jung.jong is your supplier, and AliExpress is the source of supply.This is similar for Amazon or eBay sellers, where the supply source is eBay or Amazon, and the seller himself is the supplier.
3. Sales Channel – These are the channels you sell your products through. This can be Amazon, eBay, Shopify, your own e-commerce website, or even direct selling, where you sell to customers face-to-face. You need to create your own sales channels, based on your own needs.
4. Couriers – These are the couriers you use to ship your products. Possible couriers are the postal services, DHL, UPs, FedEx etc.
Before you create your first replenishment (purchase) order, you must first create at least one supply source and one supplier
Before you create your first customer order, you must first create at least one sales channel and courier.
For example, if you are an eBay seller using Delivrd for order fulfillment & inventory management, your customers orders are initially created in eBay. If you own a large eCommerce website and use Magento as your eCommerce solution, your customers orders are initially created in Magento.
So the first thing to keep in mind is that Delivrd is not your shopping-cart front end, but is designed to process customer orders created by other systems, be it ecommerce solutions, ERP or CRM systems.
There are several ways to create customer orders in Delivrd – manually (possible, but not recommended), import from a text file which contains customer order data exported from your backend system (e.g. ecommerce system), and for eBay sellers’ we have developed an import tool that automatically imports eBay orders into Delivrd.
No matter which method was used to create customers orders, the following steps are part of these orders’ fulfillment process:
1. Review – once orders have been created/imported, you must first review the orders. The purpose of the review step is to minimize shipping errors.
You can review orders one-by-one, but a better solutions Delivrd offers is the review page, which lists all open orders (meaning, all orders that were not released yet), and indicated problems the orders might have, such as order line items without products, orders without packaging materials, stock availability issues, and a basic, yet powerful, address validation indication.
Screenshot: Open orders review page
2. Fix errors – if any issues were identified in the Review steps, orders must be corrected – be it a wrong address, a missing packaging material, or any other issue. Fixing this errors will minimize shipping errors and customer returns.
Screenshot: Fix errors in edit order page
3. Release – in order to be able to further process an order in Delivrd, it must be released. Once it is released, you can create a shipment based on the order, and start the pick, pack & ship activities in Delivrd.
Screenshot: Release order
4. Create shipment for order or create picking wave – in Delivrd, to fulfill a customer order, you need to created an outbound shipment. This shipment is used to collect relevant data such tracking number of the package sent to the customer, the package weight and the courier used to ship this order.
A shipment can be created manually by you, or it can be created automatically using barcode scanning of a tracking number, if you use Waves for pick, pack & ship (more on that later).
5. Pick & Pack – Picking & packing in Delivrd describes the process of picking the product ordered by the customer, and packing it using some form of a packaging material (padded envelope, poly mailer, carton box etc.). In Delivrd, these steps are performed using barcode scanning of a product’s SKU, serial number, or EAN/ISBN number, to minimize costly order fulfillment errors.
Screenshot: Packing using Wave
6.Print shipping label & packing slip – once packing of a customer order is completed, you can print a shipping label with all relevant info (exact address, weight, value, type of products packed etc.). If you want, you can also print a packing slip which described which products and how many of each have been packed.
Shipping label example:
7. Confirm shipment – once a shipment has been shipped (e.g., was submitted by you to the post office or to your preferred courier), a shipment is completed. The customer order is marked as shipped and the order fulfillment process is completed.
It’s important to understand that Delivrd is not an eCommerce solution or an ERP system, and therefore, orders are usually imported into Delivrd from an external system, such an eCommerce solution, a CRM system or an ERP system. You can also manullay create an order in Delivrd, as this guide explains.
Delivrd handeles the entire order fulfillment process – from picking, packing all the way to shipping. Delivrd does not handle the actual payment for these orders. Your ecommerce/CRM/ERP system should take care of customer billing.
There are basicaly 3 ways to create orders in Delivrd:
1. Create the order manualy
2. Import orders directly from eBay
3. Import orders from a text file.
We will first guide you through the process of creating a customer order manually, and in later posts, we’ll explain how to easily import order from eBay or from text files.
Create Customer Order Manually – Order Header
Much like replenishment orders, customer orders comprise of header data, contaiing information abour the customer and some other general data, and details, which are a list ofall products and quantities the customers ordered.
To create a new customer orders go to: Outbound Processing->Customer Orders, and from the order list page, click on ‘New Order’
Order Header Information:
Reference Order: This is the number of the order in the original ecommerce/CRM/ERP system. For example, if you create an order that was originated in eBay auction, you can use eBay’s item # (for example, 331550404698) as a reference number.
Sales Channel: the sales channel which the order came from. This can be eBay, Amazon (if you are an Amazon Seller), Shopify, Magento, or any other sales channel you sell through.
Shipping Costs: these are the shipping costs your customer paid you. If you offer free shipping, leave this as zero, otherwise, enter how much your customer paid you for delivery costs.
Requested Date: this is the date the customer requested to receive the products. Although most online shippers expect immediate shipment (you can enter the current date as requested date), some other customers might order ahead of time and ask to you to ship products at a future date.
Shipping Address: Obviously, Delivrd needs to know the exact shipping address in order to properly fulfill the order (address data is printed on the shipping label created by Delivrd).
Once you’ve completed updating the header information, click on the Save button.
Order Line Items:
We will now add the order line items – select the product, the quantity and the price for a single unit of the product:
You can enter as many order lines as you like, so if your customer ordered several products, you can use the same order for all these lines. In general, since customer orders originate in systems outside Delivrd (e.g. ecommerce/CRM/ERP), an order is uniquely identified by the its reference number, and orders in Delivrd should be exact ‘copies’ of orders in the originating system, both in terms of header information as well as details (line items) data.
Once all order lines has been added, the order should be reviewed and then released.
Only released orders can be picked, packed and shipped!
You can go to the release order page by clicking on ‘Review and Release’ in the action menu in the top-right hand part of the page:
You’ve just created a new customer order in Delivrd! Next post will explain how customer orders are processed in Delivrd, as the ultimate purpose is to fulfill the quickly and accurately fulfill the order – pick the ordered products, pack them, and ship them to the customer.
Video tutorial: Creating new customer order in Delivrd:
I use various suppliers to source my products, but my favorite one is VolumeRate (from now on, referred as VR-VolumeRate). Products are not sold cheap there, but VR is a very reliable supplier, and more importantly, he ships his products well-packed, all products are labelled with both SKU number and a serial number barcode. And that’s awesome, because I don’t have to label each piece I buy. Here’s an example of those labels:
When we will walk-through receiving shipped products from a supplier, I will explain why these labels are so great, and actually worth the extra $$ I pay VR.
But first thing first, we need to create a new replenishment order. In the example to follow, I purchased 2 products: Glossy screen guards for iPhone 4 and protective back-cover for iPhone 5, totaling 45 pieces.
Here’s how the order details look on VR’s website:
Important things to notice are the Order # , in the top left corner of the screenshot, and the SKU numbers.
I will use VR Order # as reference order number in Delivrd, and any time I will need to lookup that order I will use the Order # as a search term.
SKU’s, as you might have notices so far, are very important in Delivrd,as they are used to uniquely identify products. When I created the two products in the order, I’ve used the SKU’s that VR uses. I could have basically used any unique number for an SKU, but since VR already manages SKUs, and even labels products with those SKUs, it makes sense to use VR’s.
This is the header information of this order, from the view replenishment order page:
The order # (230) is the order number that Delivrd has assigned to this order. The reference order number is VR’s order number. Total shipping costs for this order were $12.21. I estimated that the products would arrive mid-April, but that was just a guess.
The order lines for this order, and the total for this order, including shipping costs, are as follows:
Once the order have been created, you can change any details you want, including removing/adding new lines.
After all order lines have been added and changes completed, the replenishment order should be reviewed and released.
You can review the order in the view order page or in the edit order page, and release it by clicking on ‘Release’ from the Actions menu, in the top right-hand side of the page:
What happens next is, I usually wait a couple of days until VR ships the products. When that happens, I get a tracking number from VR. I then create an inbound shipment, to keep track of the order’s shipment.