As more and more companies turn to online shopping as a means of selling their products, they are discovering the need for faster and more accurate order fulfillment. In an effort to improve order picking times, silicone rubber keypads are emerging as a way to make order fulfillment more efficient. Automated systems with a monitor are now used to replace the more traditional method of handing workers a container with a paper receipt for an order inside. Computerized software for gravity-based and powered conveyor systems are generating a need for silicone rubber keypads that automate the process. When devising a new order picking program, it is important to coordinate the custom silicone keypads with the software’s needs.
The most simplistic method of order picking is to assign a monitor and keypad to each order fulfillment station, giving workers an automated list of necessary items. As each item and proper quantity are completed and loaded into a bin, the employee checks it off on the silicone rubber keypad. When the order is complete, the bin is forwarded to the next department via conveyor. Using a rubber keypad system allows employees to arrow up or down to scroll through the different components of the order.
Picking by Zone
For large warehouses, it’s important to minimize travel steps made to complete the orders. The order may be divvied up into sections instead of having one person gather all of the items on the list, making each worker responsible only for the inventory in their zone. As each zone is completed, the bin advances through the line.
Picking to Lights
In cases where accuracy is paramount, some companies have implemented a pick-to-lights system. As each order comes over the monitor, the racks where each item is kept contain a backlit rubber keypad that illuminates. Beside it, a panel displays the number of items or cartons needed for that particular order. Once the correct quantity of that item has been picked, the worker depresses the backlit rubber keypad to turn it off. The next panel lights up, displaying the proper quantity needed until the backlit rubber keypad is turned off.
In some cases, it might be necessary for the order number to be recalled after it has been filled. For example, if the incorrect number of items has been forwarded on the line and the quality assurance department notices, they may send it back to the appropriate zone for correction. In cases like this, the person picking the order may need to re-enter the order number or enter the customer’s name to view the information and make corrections to the order. An alpha-numeric keypad is helpful in these cases.
When designing a new order picking system or software, molded rubber products such as custom silicone keypads can be designed with specific operations in mind. This increases efficiency and maximizes accuracy.