In retail, large quantities are not always the best way to go. When you replenish orders on a one-for-one basis (actually units sold) the downstream savings can be substantial. The new item(s) can go directly to its place on the store shelf. Double handling in the store is eliminated. There is no backroom inventory to manage.
That's great for the retail outlet, but what about the DC? Piece picking may, in fact, be suicide in the DC based on current practices. But rethinking order fulfillment processes to optimize "each-picking" tasks could yield significant productivity improvements in both the DC and the store.
There are several ways to accomplish that. Start by thinking about the final destination of the inventory inside the store. The small orders that are created by increased delivery frequency, for example, can be further divided to match fixtures, aisles or backroom layouts. Several of these "sub-orders" can be picked simultaneously as an efficient batch in a single pick trip at the DC. Loose pieces also can be bagged and labeled with the pick ticket at the DC. As a result, the store or the branch will receive products grouped and identified.
Meanwhile, the pick path for the batch can be greatly reduced if products are slotted at the DC to mimic the way that orders are received from the store. This will challenge you to choose pick-face configurations in the DC that combine efficiency for the fast movers with close proximity for the slower movers.
This may sound old-fashioned. Before we had sophisticated warehouse management systems to optimize DC operations, warehouses and back rooms were often arranged by product family or by vendor, and often in part-number sequence. Perhaps you can use similar methods now to optimize product flow to the store shelf.