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How to reduce pick errors in the warehouse

Getting products to customers as quickly as possible should be the goal of any warehouse operation. But speed should never come at the expense of accuracy. How do you reduce pick errors in the warehouse?
Shipping inaccurate orders can frustrate customers awaiting mission-critical supplies. Also, it can bog down a warehouse’s customer service operations, and ultimately waste valuable time and money
 
Picking errors can greatly contribute to inaccurate order delivery. As one of the last points of contact before a connecting with a customer, picking errors can grind an otherwise smooth transaction to a halt. This causes ripple effects that can touch every point of the customer experience.
Reducing picking errors is essential to maintaining customer satisfaction. Keeping an accurate warehouse inventory and shipping accurate orders are key to making this happen.

Warehouse problems include picking the wrong item, inaccurate quantities, or mixing similar SKUs. Here are some tips to reduce the number of pick errors in the warehouse:

Maintain accurate labeling and barcoding

Running a high-quality warehouse operation means knowing which items are exiting and entering the premises. Investing in technologies such as automated labeling, barcoding and RFID, can ensure that picking is as error-free as possible. Combined with other WMS solutions, software can add real-time visibility to items moving about the space.

Streamline product staging
The proper placement of items can help ensure accurate and efficient order picking. Store common orders near the pick-and-pack area to help expedite the processing of your most popular goods.
 
To reduce picking mix-ups, avoid storing products or parts that are easily confused3 next to one another. Intelligently staging products helps improve productivity. Plus, it can also reduce the amount of warehouse travel time for employees.
 
Shipment verification software can help ensure that correct picking and staging before shipping to the customer. Serialized barcoding makes this possible by building up pallet/container relationships.
Conduct inventory checks
Is everything in your warehouse where it’s supposed to be? Even in the most efficient of distribution centers, a misplaced product or package can lead to delayed shipments. Often this is a result of unintentional picking errors from what should be accurate inventory.
 
Inventory control software can give you a real-time view of your stock levels, reducing picking and packing errors. Also, it can help streamline receipts, inventory movements, and physical inventory counts.
Avoid overstaffing

Expanding picking sites and hiring as many order pickers as possible may seem like the right strategy to help meet demand. But when too many workers are on the floor, the result can be an inefficient and messy operation.

Relegate the right number of warehouse employees to specific areas and zones for picking4. And to keep staff to the minimum, integrate automation with warehouse task management. This leads to a faster, more intelligent picking operation.

Contact a Radley specialist for more information on accurate warehouse picking, or check out Warehouse Management Systems: A Complete Guide.

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