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 Paper picking has gone the way of the handwritten letter – and it’s been replaced by warehouse picking software with a mobile app.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.