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The Top Eight Ways to Reduce Warehouse Picking Errors

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As a beverage distributor, you understand that the only way to make your customers happy is to deliver their orders on time and intact. But picking errors can prevent you from meeting that goal. And in addition to customer dissatisfaction, the errors can result in profit loss. To combat that, here are some tips you can use to reduce warehouse picking errors.

8 Things You Can Do To Reduce Warehouse Picking Errors

If you’re like most warehouse managers, saving time and money is a priority. But human errors made while attending to order fulfillment can easily squash those goals. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce the number of warehouse picking errors, all while saving time – and money.

1. Create a Baseline

Before you begin talking to your staff about the methods they can use to stop picking the wrong items, you need to understand your baseline picking error rate. To gauge it, you should measure what amount of orders are picked right the first time. You can do this by looking at your return rates and complaints from customers, or with management software such as eoPick.

2. Get a Handle on Inventory

Another way to reduce picking errors is to make sure your warehouse inventory is in order. In addition to giving you accurate inventory counts, it will help ensure that the products are where they are supposed to be. If not, order pickers won’t know that products are in the wrong spot, and that will only increase the error rate. One way to combat this issue is to install a warehouse management system. It will scan each item into a location so everything is in its place.

3. Use Barcode Scanners

It’s easy to miscount quantities of items or accidentally pick the wrong item, but by using barcode scanners, you will eliminate those errors. These mistakes not only cause a ding to your reputation, but they will also reduce your profits as you will have to pay additional shipping costs, labor time for additional order picking, and you may even have to issue refunds.

Rectify this with the use of barcode scanners. Warehouse apps such as eoPick incorporate these handy tools into their software, making it easy to eliminate these types of costly errors. Want to double-check and completely eliminate all errors? Use the barcode scanner again while dispatching the order.

4. Eliminate Paper

If you’re still using paper for pick and pack, you’re likely experiencing a lot of errors. Paper picking has gone the way of the handwritten letter – and it’s been replaced by warehouse picking software with a mobile app. For instance, when your pickers use eoPick, it will direct them to the location, the scanner will check that they’ve picked the right product, and the inventory will be updated. No more human errors and, as a warehouse operator, that will make your life much easier.

5. Say Goodbye to the Slackers

Every warehouse has them: the slow pickers that can’t seem to get up to speed. And as nice as they may be, they cost you money in reduced productivity and possible errors. If you can automate your system with a warehouse picking solution, you can redesign your picking and labor schedules to improve productivity. The system will show you who is picking what, how long it takes, as well as their error rate.

6. Memory-Hole This

If your system is designed to allow people to rely on their memories to find items, you are only asking for trouble. Memories fail or falter sometimes, and when you bring in new staff, they will have to be trained to remember where every item is located.

There is a better (and more efficient) way. Warehouse systems and mobile apps such as eoPick scan every SKU into inventory by location. Your pickers will never have to search their memories again to figure out where that rarely-ordered SKU sits in the warehouse.

7. Stage Products Correctly

Another hindrance to error-free picking is to arrange items in the warehouse in a way that will reduce picking errors. For instance, if customers order some products with others, store those SKUs together in the same area. Likewise, if some SKUs are easily mixed up, don’t store them next to each other.

Creating a good product workflow will not only help reduce errors, but it will reduce the amount of travel time for pickers. And remember, a tired picker is likely to make more mistakes.

8. Get Everyone Involved

It’s a given that employees who feel engaged are more likely to care about their jobs. One way to avoid picking errors is to get your team involved in the process. For instance, you can use the real-time dashboard on eoPick to identify areas in the warehouse that cause pickers to slow down. Gather them for a meeting to determine why – and then solve the problem.

You can also use the real-time stats to begin an accountability program for the pickers. Have contests, post the results, and get them talking about their progress (and shortcomings). Soon, you’ll have your own advisory board filled with on-the-job experts who will make suggestions you may not have considered.

Are You Ready to Reduce Picking Errors and Increase Profitability?

It’s been estimated that wasted motion in a warehouse totals about 6.9 weeks every year. That’s a lot of time that could be spent picking other orders to increase profits. If you haven’t already automated your system, you owe it yourself to learn how you can reduce picking errors and increase profitability by using a warehouse picking solution that offers mobile app compatibility.

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Why You Should Choose Your Warehouse Picking Solution Carefully

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Warehouse managers are a busy group, and most will do just about anything to cut down on time-consuming tasks and increase productivity. That’s why most use a warehouse picking solution – including those with a mobile app feature. But unless you choose the right one, you may not save as much time as you had imagined.

Here are some tips to help you choose the picking system that will boost productivity and profits!

Look for These Warehouse Picking App and System Features

Want more efficiency in the warehouse? Of course, you do. Here are three picking solution features that will help you best control and track your inventory and shipments, manage your assets, and stay on top of warehouse operations.

1. Look for Simplified Training

If you purchase management software that your staff doesn’t understand, it won’t do you much good. Instead, look for an order-picking solution that your employees can be trained on in minutes – such as a mobile app format. For instance, eoPick only takes minutes to learn because it’s designed to make the picking process easier.

To accomplish that, it features screens that are easy to use, images of the products on the screen during picking, and even voice-directed instructions so pickers can reduce screen interaction.

2. Make Sure It’s Compatible

Not everyone wants to use mobile solutions the same way, so look for a system that works for everyone. Once again, eoPick comes to the rescue by offering pickers the option of recording picks by tapping controls in the tool, speaking specified control words into the system, or scanning barcodes for the products they pick. Flexibility to accommodate picker preferences in how they engage with the technology improves both job satisfaction and productivity for the picker.

3. Ensure It Will Make a Difference

Sure, you want your staff to be able to use a barcode scanner to make their job easier, but it all comes down to productivity and a reduction in error, doesn’t it? After all, beverage companies are struggling to increase efficiency and accuracy without increasing their error rate. eoPick can help with that, too.

Depending on your operational requirements, you’ll choose from three modes of validation: location scanning, UPS scanning, or check digit. And if you want to watch the progress, you’ll have access to an online pick dashboard that gives you real-time updates on pick performance. You’ll know who is picking what, and at what speed. You’ll see, in real-time, errors that are made and the location where they occurred.

Are You Ready to Get Serious About Warehouse Productivity?

If you’ve had enough of picking errors, which can reduce your productivity by as much as 11%, think about joining other warehouse managers who have modernized their operations with a proven and effective picking solution such as eoPick.