The right kind of warehouse picking cart can help you expedite picking, stocking, and transporting various warehouse items. This is important since order picking can deplete excessive resources if not used with the most efficient picking cart for your operations. But, with the wealth of options available, finding the perfect warehouse picking cart can seem challenging and overwhelming.
This article will explore what warehouse picking carts are and what factors you need to consider to find the most suitable one for your warehouse operations. Also, we will cover some of the most common types of warehouse picking carts to help you choose the one that will improve your picking process.
What are Warehouse Picking Carts?
Warehouse picking carts are typically used for efficiently moving items from one point to another within the warehouse. They are instrumental to warehouse and factory operations, often used in picking, stocking, and managing inventory.
These warehouse picking carts are often sturdy, lightweight, and equipped with wheels to make the movement easy and less laborious. The wheels also improve maneuverability across confined spaces such as tight corners and aisles. While some warehouse picking carts come bearing containers, others have shelves - the design primarily depends on the item being transported. Some may even serve as a replacement for stationary workstations to make optimum use of unutilized space.
What to Consider While Selecting a Warehouse Picking Cart
If you plan on purchasing a warehouse picking cart that is user-friendly, efficient, and long-lasting, here are a few things to bear in mind:
1. Warehouse Inventory
Your choice of warehouse picking cart must align with the inventory you currently store in your facility. Specifically, here are two factors that you must take into consideration:
a. Characteristics of the Stored Items
When choosing a warehouse picking cart, the first consideration must be the characteristics of the items you have in your warehouse. Since warehouses often carry many things on their shelves, your primary consideration should be the nature, size, and specifications of the items you intend to move. Your SKUs could be large, compact, lightweight, bulky, heavy, dense, etc., so match your cart accordingly. The warehouse picking cart should be broadly capable of housing, storing, and transporting the item within the warehouse.
b. Inventory Packaging
The second consideration when choosing the right warehouse picking cart is the packaging used in keeping your inventory. The inventory could be stored in pallets or as individual units for consumption, making it an essential factor since some items may be unwieldy to carry for a warehouse picking cart. For example, a pallet would require you to utilize a forklift to move it within the warehouse, while smaller individual SKUs can be handled with a regular picking cart. As such, your cart design changes as the packaging changes.
2. Ordering Picking System and Layout
Order picking system and layout is another element that needs equal attention while choosing warehouse picking carts. Here's what you need to consider for it:
a. Order Picking System
The order-picking system used in your warehouse must also be considered in selecting your warehouse picking cart. Typically, picking carts are put to use to execute single-order picking systems. However, it could be used for multiple order picking systems to save time and reduce traffic around the warehouse on some occasions. Ideally, it would help if you had a mix of different warehouse picking carts to go with the various order picking systems.
b. Inventory Layout
For starters, you need to consider your inventory layout to understand better what kind of warehouse-picking carts will deliver the best results. The floorplan and the corresponding route determine how you can extract the most out of every movement. For example, suppose an item must be transported over a longer distance within the warehouse. In that case, you will need a warehouse picking cart that can handle multiple items simultaneously to save time and increase productivity.
3. Warehouse Picking Cart Features
The last factor you should consider in selecting your warehouse picking cart is the features of the cart itself. Here are what you need to consider:
a. Warehouse Picking Cart Design
The warehouse picking cart's design is the next factor in selecting the right one since its design varies based on the item it needs to carry. Here, the factor governing the cart design would be two-fold—the nature of the item to be held and the packaging in which it is available—essentially, a culmination of the previous considerations.
You may also want to check out other fringe elements such as the number of handles as well as storage facilities for supplies like clipboards, barcode scanners, etc., contingent on your facility. Depending on the choice, you will also have to deal with the pros and cons of each warehouse picking cart design and discover ways to work around it. For instance, some picking carts allow associates to angle the shelf levels for ergonomic design and improved visibility, which could be ideal for transporting small parts.
The durability of a warehouse picking cart is essential, given that it will cost you anywhere between a few hundred to thousands of dollars per cart. You must choose a rugged picking cart that is guaranteed to last a long time, given that it is expensive and a crucial part of your daily operations.
The warehouse picking cart's material, use, fit, and finish must be suitable for your operating requirements since it will endure significant wear and tear over the course of its usable life.
c. Future-Ready Functionalities
The future-ready functionalities of your warehouse picking cart will allow you to maintain business continuity when shifting to newer technologies. Even while you are preparing today, you also need to consider the warehouse of the future. Autonomous carts, bot-picking, and automation will play a defining role in warehouse management. Accordingly, your warehouse picking carts have to be capable and equipped to integrate such technologies.
Common Types of Warehouse Picking Carts
As the name indicates, security carts focus on maintaining the safety of the goods that it carries. They come with steel wireframes or meshing to encase the object with a padlock to restrict access. While dealing with more precious or dangerous cargo, the cart may also contain high-end security features such as digital locks, fingerprint scanners, and more.
Stock Picking Carts
The steel wire and resin-based build of stock picking carts make these carts affordable and highly versatile. You can use it to carry a wide range of products in various sizes and formats. Additionally, they come with a dedicated area to hold items like clipboards and tablets.
Service carts are typically used in the food services industry, but they also find widespread usage in warehouses and retail setups. They are extremely lightweight and find varied applications that can change depending on your requirement.
Platform carts, also known as truck carts, are wood, resin, or steel-based bed carts. They are generally used to carry heavy items. However, you would require a gantry, life, or hoist to load the items onto the cart.
Batch-picking carts allow multi-order picking that combines a plethora of items into a single picklist. It reduces walk times, improves productivity, and works best when the SKUs are concentrated over a smaller area without any conveyor system. These batch picking carts often come in varying sizes and configurations, and you can leverage their modular features to maximize their usage and durability.
By choosing the right warehouse picking cart for your operations, you will be able to streamline and expedite your picking and storage process by reducing the amount of time needed to pick or store items. Additionally, warehouse picking carts can minimize worker fatigue by making moving inventory around the warehouse easier. This makes it beneficial not only for your warehouse workers, but also for your business as well by improving productivity and safety.
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