Material Handling

What's in a Pick List?

Another catch-all phrase, Pick List can mean different things in different scenarios

A pick list in the manufacturing world is a crucial tool, though its contents can significantly vary based on factors like the product mix, production volume, factory layout, and the types of items being handled. This flexibility allows for different types of pick lists to be utilized, adapting to the specific needs of each work order.

The Typical Pick List

When we talk about a pick list in a manufacturing setting, it's often a comprehensive list of all the parts and quantities needed to complete a production work order. This list serves as a roadmap for operators to assemble all necessary components into a kit. The challenge here lies in maintaining an accurate track of all these parts as they transition through various stages of work-in-progress (WIP). If there's a shortage of packages for any part number across active kits, a situation may arise where packages have to be divided, or kits need to be partially completed to keep the production flowing.

The Emergence of the 'Setup List'

A more streamlined approach gaining traction is what's known as the 'setup list.' This format focuses on gathering all the parts needed to initiate a job. Its key benefits include faster completion of initial picks, fewer packages getting lost in the WIP phase, and offering manufacturers more flexibility in how they allocate their available packages across different work orders.

Adapting Post-Setup Picking Methods

After the initial setup, the method of picking the remaining parts can vary. In operations where materials are stored close to production lines, remaining parts can be picked as needed – sometimes one at a time – to replenish feeders as they run low. This on-demand approach ensures a continuous production flow without overcrowding the line with excess components. In contrast, other operations might opt for a secondary picking phase to gather all the rest of the parts needed to complete the job, bridging the gap from initial setup to job completion.

In Conclusion

Effectively managing a pick list is a nuanced aspect of manufacturing, integral to the efficiency and productivity of the operation. Whether it's through a comprehensive work order pick list, a more segmented setup list, or a blend of both, understanding how to best utilize these lists is key to streamlining manufacturing processes. Each method brings its own set of advantages, and finding the right approach depends on the specific requirements and setup of the manufacturing environment.

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