Kitting vs. Pick and Pack

In the past, many manufacturers relied on a “pick and pack” process to select the requisite parts and package the order for a given customer. However, companies have come to rely more on kitting in recent years as customer expectations for faster deliveries and a smoother fulfillment experience have grown. But what are the key differences in these two methods of order fulfillment, and which is better for my application? The following answers these questions by comparing kitting versus the pick and pack process.

What is Pick and Pack?

Pick and pack is a term used to described a part of the supply chain where parts or items are retrieved from storage and packaged for shipment. Picking and packaging are most often performed manually, although automation may be employed for some tasks. Once an order is placed, personnel physically move through the warehouse to pull the necessary parts from storage. Then, the products for a given order are packaged together as necessary for shipment. This method is typically most cost-effective for small volumes.

What is Kitting?

Kitting is the process of collecting and organizing separate but related parts for future use in the manufacturing of a product. In some cases, items with different but related SKUs are combined and given a new SKU. Kits may be stored until needed on the manufacturing assembly line or delivered directly to customers. An everyday example of kitting is a computer order. A computer often comes with a charger, USB, software, or other accessories. The manufacturer would combine all of these items in a single kit to be shipped to the customer. This approach gives suppliers the flexibility to package kits in advance, further reducing shipping times once the order is placed.

There are many advantages to kitting such as improved productivity and faster delivery times as kits can be quickly retrieved when necessary. Kitting also organizes and improves control of the warehousing process, leading to fewer packaging and shipping errors or delays. The use of kits also allows assembly line personnel to focus on more value-added tasks rather than searching in inventory for parts. Lastly, incorporating automation into the kitting process delivers even higher efficiency gains that result in more time and cost savings.

Kitting vs. Pick and Pack – which is better?

There is no “one size fits all” solution to order fulfillment, and the answer depends on the specific application. However, as customer expectations grow and the demand for shorter delivery times continues, it is becoming more challenging to make a case for the traditional pick and pack process.

The pick and pack process is simple in theory but the implementation of this process can quickly become complex. For companies that have a limited number of products, pick and pack may be a good option. However, as products become more customized with numerous colors and variations to choose from, the pick and pack method becomes too complicated to streamline and successfully execute.

Kitting, on the other hand, offers companies flexibility and efficiency that are just not feasible with pick and pack. Additionally, since kitting must occur where the part inventory resides, it is an easy part of the supply chain to contract to a third party that has the necessary expertise and experience. For this reason, it makes sense to partner with an integrated company, like RiverSide Integrated Solutions (RIS), that can provide kitting as well as operations such as manufacturing and warehousing. Integrated manufacturers offer significant value for OEMs such as streamlining production schedules, improving the consistency and reliability of the final product, and minimizing the number of vendors involved in the manufacturing process. All of these steps improve efficiency and reduce risk – saving OEMs time, resources, and money.

RIS – Your Trusted Partner

RIS is an advanced contract manufacturer providing robust solutions in circuit board assembly, electromechanical & mechanical assembly, kitting, supply chain management, fulfillment, and distribution. We employ more than 300 people and provide services to OEM’s across the world. We operate 3 state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities within the U.S, and as your one-stop-shop we have the capabilities, capacity, quality assurance standards, and resources to provide you with support for all of your manufacturing needs. Our size makes us flexible and allows for customized solutions and quick response to our customer’s ever-changing needs. We offer various services including:

  • Product Assembly: providing solutions that include building sub-assemblies that are delivered to factories across the world to building products start-to-finish.
  • PCB Assembly: reliable, seamlessly-assembled printed circuit board systems built with extreme precision utilizing our skill engineers, technicians, and assemblers.
  • Kitting Solutions: complete turnkey vendor solutions with package design, kit assembly, warehousing, and distribution services.

Quality, commitment, integrity, continuous improvement, and adaptability are at the heart of RIS’ core values. They keep us aligned and help us make decisions about everything we do. Our customers, coworkers, community, and environment are our stakeholders – and we consider them in every decision we make.

Contact us today at (507) 523-3220 to see how we can help with your next manufacturing project, or click here for a quote.

Kitting vs. Pick and Pack
Article Name
Kitting vs. Pick and Pack
A comparison of kitting vs. pick and pack order fulfillment processes including scenarios where each is the more cost-effective solution.
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RiverSide Integrated Solutions
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