Have you ever wondered what went into your order or who all touched your order? We have come a long way from using paper and pen to pick customer orders.
Order Selection: Pick, Pack and Serve
May 12, 2021
Have you ever wondered what went into your order or who all touched your order? We have come a long way from using paper and pen to pick customer orders. After Harbor receives items from the manufacturer, they are staged in excess locations. Our warehouse management system or WMS directs users where to place pallets in overstock and when to pull them down to fulfill orders. Our warehouse operation is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and innovative. From tools for order selection to ways to give order selectors instant achievements and gratification.
The order selection department primarily operates Sunday through Thursday and starts picking orders at 2 PM. Orders that are being picked are put on trucks that night and delivered to the customer the next day. Almost as soon as an order is entered, we are printing tags and distributing them to their departments.
Order selectors predominately use a voice picking system. Order selectors train their voice unit with a list of commands. They can then interact via a headset and confirm the correct item, quantity, and verify route information. This gives the team member an overall hands-free experience.
Any each-picking is done as a team and picked into a tote. Team members work together to finish routes in tandem to keep the flow of the warehouse smooth and efficient. Totes are worked on together and sent to an automated sorting system where totes can be organized by pallet and route. We call this area of the warehouse the merge. They are then sent to our consolidation department where they scan and verify correct totes are being put on the correct pallet.
Case picking is when a customer orders a full case of an item rather than a partial. These departments use a riding pallet jack to complete a pallet at a time. An order selector in the department will start an order with an empty pallet. It is their responsibility to make sure that it is built in a way to make our transportation team efficient as well. The order selector must consider weight of the item, stop on the route, food safety requirements, as well as where they are placing the picking tag. This is all done while still being accurate and efficient.
After pallets are completed and wrapped, they are put onto Harbor dedicated trailers for our motivated and friendly transportation team to deliver to our customers. Order selectors are one of the key roles at Harbor and are essential in getting items to our trusted customers. This position has been a gateway for a lot of Harbor team members that have been promoted into customer service, IT, purchasing, and beyond.
This year has been extremely challenging with the pandemic and hurdles that it has created. A big percentage of the Northern sales team success is Canadian traffic, colleges, and seasonal vacationing in the northern Seattle area. The borders have been shut down, college campuses closed, and ferries empty which has created a big challenge for the team.
The LDC-North team worked hard with their accounts on Harbor’s initiatives that were created to help out customers in every way possible to get through these uncharted waters. They maximized on the following initiatives during Covid the lockdowns:
CSI (Customer Support Initiative)The team helped educate stores on curbside pick up, call in ordering and creating social media pages for their locations. This was proven to be very successful for the northern territories.
Clean Store InitiativeThey helped provide cleaning products, tools, advertising, and education to their customers to help promote a clean and safe shopping experience for the consumers.
Teresa Nixon got up early every day, checking what was in stock to let her customers know what options were hard to get items. She also focused on Harbor’s social media initiative, assisting customers in getting pages created so they could reach their customers through social media and their websites. She sent customers images of Harbor’s coffee programs and Mountain Fresh products so customers had content to post. She has worked hard to make suggestions for stores so they can be more COVID-19 compliant and supplied cleaning products to help stores follow through on the clean store initiative.
John Gasche helped customers put together curb side pickup programs. He also helped his customers get on social media to advertise their businesses, and new programs. This also helped customers alert consumers when hard to get items were in stock. He brought a sense of normalcy to his customers during a very difficult time, always bringing a positive attitude to work each day.
Dan Rochon worked with his customers to find replacements for items that were out of stock, ensuring that customers could continue through foodservice programs through the pandemic. Jennifer Radvanyi also worked on getting substitute products to her customers. She stayed in close contact socially with all her accounts during the lockdown to provide support and service where possible.
Matthew Childs saw how people can come together in hard times, and always reminded customers we will get through this. Each store had different protocols that aligned with state mandates, and he worked with each of his customers to ensure all precautions were being taken.
Thank you to the LDC-North Sales Team for ensuring our customers are taken care of each and every day!
*Please note some photos were taken pre-covid.