Revolutionising picking processes with digitalisation

The growing complexity of customer demand, the increase in omnichannel retail and the covid-19 pandemic are rapidly changing the global production and distribution scenarios.

Last month RFID Lab participated in a webinar panel discussion, hosted by the Procurement Magazine, on the new challenges that supply chains and logistics are facing. Focused in particular on order picking, the panel discussed how automation and digitalization can improve, simplify and speed up picking processes.

Omnichannel is changing logsitics processes

The importance of omnichannel commerce, which is a multichannel approach to retail, has been rapidly growing over the last years. It first became important with the growth of e-commerce, today the pandemic has accentuated the customers’ request for multiple sales channels. The market demands high speed, adaptability and cost reduction, the customer expects seamless shopping experiences – on and offline. This new scenario significantly complicates the logistics processes, putting under pressure warehouses and stores alike.

Prof. Antonio Ricci, representing RFID Lab, explained in deep how omnichannel sales impact order picking and radically changes the single stores, that more and more take on the role of “small warehouses”. Processes such as picking, packing, shipping and returns are no longer confined to logistic facilities and operators but have to be managed by the single shops as well.

Optimizing picking with RFID

As picking is one of the most complex logistics processes, and the one that absorbs the greatest amount of operating costs, companies are obliged to redesign their warehouses but most importantly their shops. They need to make order picking efficient and secure, accurate and fast independently of the location.

From Autonomous robots, to AI and RFID, automation and digitalization provide technologies and solutions that significantly help streamline the processes reaching the efficiency and security needed to successfully respond to the market changes and developments. RFID provides automatic identification and tracking of objects and significantly increases inventory accuracy, which is foundational for omnichanneling and efficient order picking.

The role of order picking is growing, the role of warehouses and stores are changing. This not only requires new competences and a redesign of physical spaces. It requires new technologies and solutions, such as RFID.