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All You Need to Know About Warehouse Packing Stations

Apr 15, 2024 | All Articles, Ergonomics, Productivity

A warehouse packing station is more than just a workspace where goods are prepared for shipping. It’s the heart of your warehouse, where products are checked, packed, and labeled for shipping. The efficiency of your packing station directly impacts your order fulfillment success. This guide will help you understand the importance of warehouse packing stations and how to optimize their layout for maximum performance.

Why Invest in Efficient Warehouse Packing Stations?

If you’re shipping delicate goods prone to transit damage, aiming for quick delivery to customers, or striving to avoid the reputation damage that comes with late or incorrect shipments, an efficient packing station is essential. Businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of designing effective warehouse packing stations to ensure the best customer experience.

Setting Up Your Warehouse Packing Station: Key Considerations

When designing a warehouse packing station, consider the work that will be done, your warehouse workflow, the items needed, and ergonomic factors. Let’s delve into these aspects in detail.

Purpose of the Packing Station in a Warehouse

The function of the packing station will define what you need for your warehouse:

You should properly outline all the work that is done in the station.

In a shipping station setup, the work typically includes:

  • Consolidating orders
  • Final quality checks
  • Packaging
  • Addressing and labeling
  • Manifesting
  • Staging

Outlining work like this helps with having an efficient packing station layout. You’ll have a packing station specially designed to meet the unique needs of the required work.

For example, when considering the “final quality checks” work, you will plan where the checks happen. But you’ll also plan what happens if a defect is discovered (like where the partial order is staged while waiting for a replacement for the defective item).

Not properly outlining work will cause you to create a packing station that fails to address some critical needs.

Workflow

Understanding the order in which things will be done will help you plan a packing station that facilitates the transition from one step to the next.

The workflow is simply the sequence of work in the packing station from the beginning to the end.

So, considering your workflow will help you design a packing station that allows for a seamless transition from one step to the other in the order fulfillment process.

For example, consider how you receive the items in the workstation. It will tell you whether to design a workstation that connects to a conveyor belt system or one that allows for receiving items by cart or manually.

This custom standalone workbench over the conveyor is a fine packing station idea when items arrive and leave the workstation via the conveyor belt.

If consideration is not given to workflow, the packing station layout will be poor. There’ll be detrimental delays between phases of work.

Tools and Materials Needed

All the tools and materials in the packing process need to be identified to provide storage space in the packing station.

Equipment and tools that you may need in a warehouse packing station include:

  • Computers (CPU, keyboard, and monitors)
  • Printers and scanners
  • Heat sealer
  • Stapler gun/ staplers
  • Gluer
  • Scales

Materials that you’ll need in a shipping station setup include:

  • Boxes
  • Bags
  • Envelopes
  • Labels
  • Stationery
  • Void fill material

Identifying all the tools and materials helps in planning specific locations for them in the packing station. This keeps the workspace organized.

The Priority of Items

The relative importance of the items needed to do tasks will determine where and how to place them in relation to the operator.

The more critical a tool or material is, the easier it should be for the operator to reach it.

The relative importance of any tool or material that will be in the packing station depends on different factors like frequency of use, sequence of use,  and force.

  • Frequency of use. Items used more frequently have more importance than items used less frequently, so they should be located where it is easier to assess them. This will make operations faster.
  • Sequence of use. Components can be arranged in the order they are accessed. The most common format is left to right and top to bottom. But each operator can personalize it to their preference.
  • Force. Items that require more physical exertion will also require special consideration. For instance, a custom cutout can be made on the work surface to fit a drop-in scale. The operator no longer needs to lift a heavy package to weigh it.

Ergonomics

The need to have operators do their work comfortably and efficiently will define what is needed for a shipping station setup.

The measures to fit the station to the worker and the task at hand can affect everything about the packing station.

For example, instead of a fixed-height workbench, you may consider an electrically height-adjustable workbench. This allows operators from different shifts to adjust the workbench’s height to their individual needs easily and quickly. That way, they won’t do too much bending, stretching, or reaching and hurt themselves in the process.

If operators build and fill large shipping boxes at the shipping station, an under work surface box building shelf can be added to the layout. It makes sure that they work in a safe and neutral position.

Ergonomics improves employee well-being and optimizes performance. Failing to consider ergonomic options may lead to employee dissatisfaction, low morale, and increased chances of injuries. With these issues, employee productivity will inevitably drop.

Our Plan Your Workstation Guide will assist you in designing a packing workstation that fulfills the needs of both the operator and the workflow.

Workstation planning checklist download

Key Components of an Effective Warehouse Packing Station

Depending on your work process, the following components are needed to build an effective packing station.

Workbench

Workbenches need to be sturdy and durable to withstand the wear and tear of the business environment. They also need to be comfortable to work with.

Here are some important questions to ask when you select your workbench.

  • How much surface is needed to perform the fulfillment tasks? The space should be big enough but not too big that you have to reach and stretch all the time.
  • What is the required maximum capacity? Take into consideration the shelving, equipment, and products.
  • How many people are going to use the packing station? Are they going to switch between sitting and standing during the shift? We recommend an electrically adjustable station if the height needs to be adjusted more than four times a year.

Uprights

Workbench uprights allow for the proper placement of workbench accessories.

They are an excellent packing station idea to organize and unclutter the workspace.

Uprights are also good ergonomic options. They hold accessories within the operator’s reach, reducing ergonomic risks of bending, stretching, and reaching. Minimizing these risks leads to improved productivity.

Shelves

Shelves provide storage space for the different materials and tools needed for the packing tasks.

Proper shelving makes the workspace clutter-free and easy to access items.

When planning shelving, you need to consider the ergonomic principles and reach zones.

Here are some ideas:

  • Corrugate storage shelves with dividers can store different box sizes. It can also serve as extra storage space for low-use items.
  • Adjustable shelf with tilt reduces wrist strain.
  • Under work surface shelving system keeps lesser-used items out of the way. It’s easily customizable with pullout trays for extra workspace.

Lights & Computer Accessories

Proper lighting provides the operator with proper visibility to perform tasks. It improves the accuracy and speed of work. It also helps workers avoid eyestrain and the headaches that usually follow.

There are different lighting options to consider such as LED overhead light, task light, and LED under-shelf light

Adjustable computer accessories ensure the most ergonomic viewing angle and neutral body positions.

Warehouse packing stations

Conclusion

An efficient packing station makes for a successful order fulfillment process. In other words, it helps you ship the right goods to your customers quickly and in good condition.

Importantly, with an ergonomic packing station, packing activities are not only performed faster but also safer.

Packing stations optimize the placement of items to reduce ergonomic risks of bending, stretching, and reaching. Ultimately, this improves productivity.

Are you ready to improve productivity in your warehouse with an ergonomic packing station?

BOSTONtec is the perfect partner for shipping and packing workstation solutions.

We provide ready-to-ship models as well as tailor-made custom solutions. Whatever your needs, we have solutions that will improve your productivity.

Contact us for your workstations. When your productivity soars through the roof, you’ll be glad you did.

FAQ

1. What is a Packing Station?

A warehouse packing station serves as a designated section within a warehouse where goods are prepared for shipment. Typical applications include inspections, packaging, labeling, and arranging items for transportation.  

2. How to Design a Packing Station?

When designing a packing station, consider the workflow and prioritize the tools and materials required for each task. It’s essential to identify the various tasks involved, including order consolidation, quality checks, packaging, staging, etc. Design your custom packing station with our Workstation Configurator. 

3. What is Picking and Packing in a Warehouse?

Picking is the process of selecting items from inventory to fulfill customer orders, while packing involves assembling, packaging, and labeling those items for shipment.

4. What Height Should a Packing Table Be?

The height of a packing table should be adjusted to ensure that operators can work comfortably without having to bend or stretch excessively. Its recommended to set the table at elbow level for standing workers to reduce strain on the back and arms. For a full overview of ergonomics at work, view our guide. 

5. How Do Ergonomics Affect Packing Station Setup?

Proper ergonomics in a packing station setup allows operators to work more comfortably and efficiently. Over time, this results in improved productivity and reduced risk of injuries. Factors like height adjustable workbenches and proper lighting contribute to ergonomic design. 

6. What are Other Industry Terms for Packing Stations?

A packing station in the warehouse industry is known by various terms including pack stations, pack out stations, or packaging stations.

 

About the Author

Nina Neuschuetz
Nina Neuschuetz
As the Marketing Manager for BOSTONtec, Nina brings a wealth of experience with over 25 years of B2B marketing expertise in both the United States and Europe. Her tenure at BOSTONtec has been marked by a keen focus on ergonomics within the industrial market. Notably, she lead an ergonomic study in collaboration with the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina State University and developed comprehensive ergonomic guides for industrial and commercial workstation environments. Nina’s role extends to collaborating with customers and partners, guiding them through market trends and solutions tailored for the industry. She holds a post-graduate degree in Marketing and Business Administration from the University of Passau, Germany. Connect with Nina to explore ergonomic solutions and industry insights on her LinkedIn profile.

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