There is no denying that pick and pack errors are fairly common. A lot of businesses report issues with picking and packing, ranging from too many people and locations to losing order details and substituting the wrong items. However, this is not something that we should just accept. All businesses need to make a dedicated effort to reduce picking and packing errors. If you do not reduce picking and packing errors, you are going to end up with continual inventory mistakes that will cost your business money.
You can reduce picking and packing errors by:
Don’t let the process of selecting, combining, packing and shipping your goods get muddled. A streamlined picking and packing operation can boost efficiency and keep your reputation strong.
There is only one place to begin, and this is by taking a look at the entire process in full, from the moment items are received through to storage, ordering, picking and packing. This is the only way you will be able to identify issues. After all, you may have noticed that something is going wrong with picking and packing, yet the errors may not be directly related to this. They could be related to something earlier in the process, for example, order errors. You are only going to be able to get to the bottom of where you are going wrong if you look at everything on the whole.
For example, there are a number of different problems relating to warehouse storage, which can then cause issues with the entire picking and packing process. The layout of your warehouse may not make logical sense and the picking paths may, therefore, be inefficient. Another storage problem is neglecting housekeeping. Mess in a warehouse results in the obstruction of flow of people and goods. Not only does this lower productivity but it can result in things ending up where they should not be and mistakes made.
There are also a number of mistakes that can be made when the orders are being taken, and this can then send the entire process on the wrong route. For example, if you are still using manual order recording, this can be prone to human mistakes. A lot of different types of miscommunications are possible when you recover an order verbally. Common errors of mishearing, error in sequence, inventory counts mistakes, spelling errors, and such like can happen when you are writing or recording an order on a piece of paper. Therefore, the error here would be with how orders are being taken, rather than how orders are being picked and packed.
An important step to take when it comes reducing picking errors is to switch to an updated technology option. Automated order picking methods are a must for eliminating labor-intensive processes and ensuring errors are reduced. This means packing, picking, and retrieving items through the assistance of computerized systems that marry equipment and software in an integrated manner.
There are many benefits that are associated with automated picking technology. This includes all of the following:
Automated picking methods are used by all of the big companies around the world today. You should also consider some of the technologies that are shaping the industry and set to make a big impact over the next few years.
One trend that is set to completely revolutionize the pick and packing industry is robotics. A new generation of ‘follow me’ robots will see unneeded human motion eradicated from the picking and packing process. For instance, both Fetch Robotics and Locus Robotics provide an autonomous mobile robot that enables the picker to be able to fill the bins on the robot with one stock. The robot will then find its way to the packing station once filled. There is then another robot that will sweep in, taking the place next to the picker. Of course, it will be a while before this is fully implemented but it shows you the way the industry is going and another way that mistakes can be reduced.
Another way that you can improve your picking and packing process and lower the number of errors that are made is to look at the warehouse space layout. There are three main elements that come together when it comes to an effective warehouse layout. These are as follows; flow, accessibility, and space. So, how can you make sure you have a warehouse layout that achieves these three objectives?
It all begins with a plan. You need to make sure that you define your objectives. Some businesses want to make their warehouse more efficient, whereas others want to optimize their inventory receiving, for example. Once you have outlined your objectives, you will be able to redesign your warehouse layout so it achieves them. You will also need to determine your warehouse inventory needs, create an implementation plan, and test your warehouse layout design.
It is also important to recognize that there are different forms of picking. Some of the most common options include Zone, Batch, and Wave picking. Below, we will explain each one and the benefits that are associated with them.
You also need to make sure that your employees are aware of how to prioritize orders. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this. It all depends on your business and your goals. Some companies, for example, will prefer to assign priority at customer level. This means that customers that are flagged with being high priority customers will have their orders processed first. You could give customers a rating. Therefore, if customers all place an order on the same day, their rating will dictate whose order would be shipped first.
A lot of businesses decide to operate on the basis of if you ordered first, your items are shipped first. This means you are basically going to be sending out orders based on when they were placed. The highest priority will be given to the oldest orders in this case. This means new orders will go to the bottom of the list. This may seem like the obvious choice to go for and the easiest to implement. However, this is not always the case. If you have one or two very important customers who may be unhappy with the delay, this could end up causing friction.
The two examples are simply two of many when it comes to the different ways to prioritize your orders. Other examples include the availability of the product, the processing date, and the promise date, for instance, you may promise a ship date on your website when a customer places an order.
The final piece of the puzzle when it comes to reducing pick and pack errors at your business is to reorganize your warehouse staff. Of course, this is only something you should do if you feel that it is needed. However, it could be that your current set-up is inefficient and that you are not using your current employees to the best of their abilities. You should also make sure that you provide employee training when and where needed.
Another way that you can reduce the picking and packing errors that you are making at your business is to outsource fulfillment to a 3PL warehouse provider. This involves hiring a third party company to manage some or all parts of the fulfillment process, including shipping orders, packaging items, and storing inventory. Of course, the exact services provided will depend on the relationship that you strike up with the company you decide to outsource too.
There are a number of different benefits to consider when it comes to outsourcing fulfillment to a 3PL provider. This includes the fact that you are not going to need to store your inventory. You are also going to be able to scale by focusing on only the most important tasks. Before you now have a business that handles this for you, you can have peace of mind and focus on the core of your company instead, which is what really makes your business money.
There are two main reasons why people overlook outsourcing fulfillment today. The first is because they want to maintain control of every step of the process. While this is admirable, it is inefficient, and you are going to run into a lot of hurdles along the way. In addition to this, people worry about the cost associated with going down this route. However, outsourcing can save you a lot of money in the process because you do not need to spend money on staff and other members. You are also not going to lose as much money due to mistakes and errors.
As you can see, there are many different benefits that are associated with using an order fulfillment warehouse company if you are looking to reduce picking and packing errors. However, the only thing you need to do now is to find the right company for the job. Luckily, you do not need to look far, as R+L Global Logistics has you covered. We have an exceptional reputation in the industry, providing real-time visibility, hands-on support, advanced technology, and a large ground network.
Are you ready to reduce picking and packing errors? Get started with R+L Global Logistics today. If you have any questions about the service that we provide or you are ready to get started, you can reach us on (866) 989 3082. We look forward to hearing from you.
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