I grind into the PF basket. The basket sits on a small block of wood, with a hole drilled in the bottom so that it fits nicely onto my Niche; it’s stained to match. I have tried a number of dosing rings and funnels, but found a very tall one of stainless steel one on Etsy that eliminates any stray grind spray. Rotating the basket (while it sits on the block of wood) during grinding ensures more even distribution but requires focused attention during grinding; it also uses time/effort that could be spent on other shot/drink production activities.
I carefully WDT (deep, mid and then top rake) with four 0.35mm needles (any more needles moves the grounds around, which is not good). Thinner needles flex too much and tend to bend closely together and thereby move the grounds too much. Thicker needles move the grounds too much. I then tamp with a 58.5mm EzyTamp (to ensure level tamping).
I don’t tap on the sides or bottom. Tapping on the bottom seems to introduces a puck density variable that is not easily controlled. My shots run a tad slower when I bottom tap. The flow seems to vary if you bottom tap once vs twice vs hard vs soft. I don’t need yet another variable, so I just stopped doing that.
The above eliminated most instances of channelling. Adding a top screen (the thicker Normcore; I also have a thinner one) eliminated all channelling and keeps my group head screen very clean.
I might (someday) get a PF stand. But it would not really save much time or effort.
WDT does take more time, so if you are in a hurry, there are faster distribution methods. My espresso production speed is a bit too slow when I have guests and need to pump out 4 doubles.