Kitting in Manufacturing

Apr 09 2021

Kitting in Manufacturing

Kitting in manufacturing is a process that involves sorting then assembling the different parts used to manufacture a product into a bundle for ease of delivery to the place where the parts are to be used.

Kitting ensures the manufacturer doesn't waste time looking for product components to assemble because all the required components will be packaged in one kit. Kitting services are necessary because they reduce warehouse costs. Today, you can easily find kitting services near me or manufacturing kitting solutions because the services are offered by many experts out there.

If you want to make your production process more efficient and cost-effective, kitting lean manufacturing is the way to go. Lean kitting streamlines both shipping and packing, hence making it easier to control and track manufacturing inventory. Other benefits of kitting in manufacturing include freeing up space in the warehouse, reducing labor costs, improving cash flow, etc.

Kitting Definition

Kitting in warehouse is a technique that has gained popularity with the increase in online stores. The most popular form of kitting with big retail chains and B2B marketplaces is product kitting.

In this technique, different but related components of a product are packed together then shipped as a single unit. For example, the idea of subscription boxes has become very popular as one method of kitting.

In this case, instead of several different companies selling their manufacturing product separately, subscription box service providers kit these products into one box, which they sell as a single unit.

Private Label Technique Of Kitting

In the private label technique, a group of related products from different companies are brought together, labeled, then delivered as a kit from the kitting services provider. The kitting company sells these products under its name.

For example, many groceries don't sell the products they manufacture. They simply get products from different manufacturers, then put their branded private labels on them, then ship the products to their stores. Private labeling provides value to both the reseller and the B2B business.

Kitting And Fulfillment Services

Fulfillment kitting is used by many e-commerce companies to lower packing and warehouse costs. Fulfillment kitting is very popular with e-commerce companies like eBay, Amazon, etc.

When they receive multiple orders, these companies hold on until they have gathered all the items ordered before shipping them as a single bundle. Kitting improves fulfillment operations in the following ways:

  • Fulfillment fee reduction: Packing and picking costs will be reduced for both the customer and the business. Fulfillment kitting doesn't require much effort and also saves time, thus saving for both the parties involved.
  • Hastens weighing before shipping: Speed matters a lot in all businesses, especially in fulfillment operations. Weighing individual products and shipping them separately wastes time. It is easier to weigh and ship products as a group.
  • Reduces shipping costs: If you have to ship different parts separately, you'll spend more on shipping than someone who ships everything at once. The fewer the packages you ship, the less you spend on shipping costs.

The Kitting Process

Still asking what is kitting in warehouse? If so then after going through the kitting process, you'll understand better what kitting is all about.

The kitting process in manufacturing isn't as complicated as you might be thinking. It involves assembling related products then assigning them a unique stock-keeping unit (SKU) in your sales system. Here are the steps involved in the lean kitting process.

  1. Determine which items will be packed together: This is the first step in the kitting process in warehouse. The items that go in one package will depend on the product to be assembled. It may also depend on the color, theme, or any other quality the items share.
  2. Assign a unique stock-keeping unit (SKU) number: After identifying the items that can be packed together, pack them then give them one SKU number. Remember that, even if you had packed different items in this group, you have to treat them as a single unit or product. This unit must be complete so that you don't receive a call later that something is missing. That will increase your operating costs. The inventory system you have in place should be able to track this unit so you have a better understanding of your sales trends, and also for better stock management.
  3. Assemble the products/items: You now know what to pack and you've assigned them a single unique SKU, the next step is to assemble them. A kitting process flow chart can help you in this step to make sure you don't miss any item. This will also increase your efficiency and save you money and time.
  4. Shipping: Once you confirm everything is in order, you can ship the bundle. You can let some person check the bundle before sealing, just to make sure everything has been included.

Packaging and Kitting

When using the kitting process in manufacturing, the packaging is crucial to highlight your brand identity. Remember that most buyers won't know the items are collected from different manufacturers, so you must package the items in a way that promotes your brand and also benefits your manufacturers.

Your packaging should also ensure the items you ship are safe. Any damage to these items will lower your profits if the items have to be replaced. A properly packaged kit holds as many products as possible to reduce costs. However, this doesn't mean the safety of the items can be compromised.

For example, when shipping both delicate and non-delicate items, the delicate ones should be shipped separately and packaged accordingly. You can use packaging materials like bubble wraps to protect delicate items.

Kitting and Assembly

Kitting and assembly solutions are often important when delivering entertainment systems, furniture, or any other products that need to be assembled after shipping. It requires an understanding of the various parts of the item to be assembled. This service is offered by third-party shipping companies.

These companies get various components from manufacturing companies then kit them in readiness for shipping. The complete kits are labeled and stored separately before they get shipped.

Kitting Jobs

Kitting might sound easy, but it involves a lot. That's why kitting companies have very stringent guidelines that their employees must adhere to. The instructions, tasks, and company policies are crafted to ensure all operations run smoothly and efficiently.

Kitting Job Description

An individual employed in a kitting company may have to perform a variety of tasks. The tasks can relate to packaging, equipment and merchandise, incoming items, receiving and material/inventory control, kitting and shipping of equipment and materials, etc.

The warehouse kitting job description is quite detailed. An individual may be involved in loading or unloading trucks, packaging, operating forklifts, pallet jacks, and other equipment that handle materials. Others may also use power or hand tools to make wooden crates for kitting.

Other kitting jobs include:

  • Preparing packaging documentation
  • Delivery or work schedules
  • Checking and verification of data
  • Labeling kits
  • Working from project/program status reports
  • Identifying items to be kitted
  • Clerical duties such as checking incoming materials against the packing list, data entry, etc.
  • Kitting Equipment

Hardware kitting operations are usually undertaken using automatic bagging and counting equipment. Automatic packaging equipment is very important in packaging kits for shipping.

For example, automated kitting equipment such as Horizontal-Form-Fill-Seal (HFFS ) and Vertical-Form-Fill-Seal (VFFS) machines play an important role in packaging a variety of products such as:

  • Dressed knobs
  • Glass knobs
  • Kitchen hardware
  • DIY projects
  • Barbecues
  • Furniture hardware

Parts kitting best practices demand that items should be kitted to make it easier for end-users to unpack and use them without difficulties. The kits usually contain a variety of fasteners, bolts, nuts, screws, etc. All these must be counted well before packaging.

The common technique used by many kitting companies to automatically count items is to use rotary or vibratory feeders. These feeders sort different parts, which are then passed through an optical counting system that precisely and reliably counts the items then drops them into a conveyor bucket or a bagger.

Kitting Software

The kitting supply chain is very complex, and things can be more difficult if the product to be assembled has too many components. It will be difficult for humans to ensure each component is packed. That's where kitting software comes in.

A kitting software is used for inventory management. It tracks individual components to ensure every required item goes into the kit. It also creates unique SKUs for all kits before shipping.

There are many kitting software options available in the market today. The one you use to automate your kitting process will depend on your unique needs. Here are the factors you need to consider when choosing kitting software:

  • Software to track work in progress: A good kitting software should be able to monitor the progress of all individual items used to create a kit and also monitor the kits.
  • Kits forecasting: A good kitting software should know all the items needed to create a kit and also indicate the number of kits that can be obtained from the available components. By knowing how many kits you can create from the item you have at hand, you can decide what level of orders you can accept.
  • Minimum/maximum tracking: A good kitting software can indicate the minimum/maximum number of kits that can be economical to keep in store depending on the level of sales. This will ensure storage space isn't wasted and the holding costs are maintained at a minimum.

If you can't identify the software that's right for your company, you can ask an expert for recommendations.

Kitting is a serious business and has become a trend in many industries. If you want to go into this business, try to learn what is involved in your industry of interest. Things can be easier if you are dealing with an industry that you are experienced in. You'll find it a little easier to create kits and deliver them.