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.
To all Retailers,
As you all know we are in an unparalleled time in history with numerous supply chain interruptions, we are working behind the scenes to ensure that we have practical product solutions for a disrupted supply eco-system.
I have spoken with many innovative c-store and supermarket owners recently as they navigate a treacherous supply chain caused by the economic impact of Covid-19.
Here is what I found they have in common:
They are quick to temporarily pivot to items they can get instead of leaving a hole on the shelf for the disrupted item.They over project their quantities on the upcoming order to compensate for the items that manufacturer’s cannot supply to avoid shortages.They embrace new items, as manufacturers work hard to protect the supply chain on key new items.They use displays and floor stacks to create impulse solutions and to fill the shelf as the display sells down.They are creative with Grab & Go solutions for the store.
In the upcoming weeks we will looking at the top 25 impact outs each week and give you some items (with current inventory) that you pivot to in this challenging product pipeline. We will also give you some commodity headlines, with behind the scenes insight on how we can partner together to win in this tough environment.
About The Store Solutions TeamOur Store Solutions program was launched in the Fall of 2014. Our 11 Teams are located in 3 states Washington, Oregon, and Northern California totaling 20 Team members, including our newest Team out of Portland, OR based in our new Rich and Rhine Portland Distribution Center! The program is 7 years old and has added 6 teams throughout the Pacific Northwest since its inception.
Our Store Solutions Team serves our 2,200 c-store and small market customers. Annually they re-set and merchandise approximately 500 customers across all regions. Their resets accomplish everything from cleaning up categories and retagging them, to building brand new gondolas, throwing a stocking order, and can include a redesign by request.
How Does The Store Solutions Team Benefit Customers?Our Store Solutions team bring the most relevant and timely marketing and industry knowledge to each reset via SKU selections which are in our Merchandising Guide. These selections are based on industry data like MSA, Nielson, and IRI. This data is specific to the customers we serve. In addition, our team members are skilled at being creative and innovative with on hand resources, from shelving to racks, to achieve the best possible results. Not every customer hasidentical resources, so the challenge is real.
How Does The Store Solutions Team Evaluate Stores?The team meets with the Territory Sales Manager, along with the store manager or representative to determine customer priorities and get a feel for how what the customer is expecting for their store. They then take this information and design a layout with category assignment. A great example of this is Jacks Mini Mart located in The Dalles, OR. This was a large job, approximately 5,000 sq. ft. Marcy, Lead Store Solutions Representative out of Vancouver, WA had the help of three Territory Sales Managers. They all pitched in on the job by tearing down shelving and rebuilding it. This job took a few months of preparation, with many new things moving into the location, but overall, the team did a great job resetting the store and making it look fantastic!