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How to Decrease Warehouse Picking Errors

Some tips on ensuring accuracy in stock shipping.

The reason that warehouse shelving solutions are so important is that, simply put, warehouses are in the business of stock.  Stock comes in, is stored, is picked, and is shipped.  Failure to keep accurate numbers on all of this would result in chaos.  But, while tracking orders picked, time efficiency, hourly stock picks, etc. is relatively easy, tracking errors is an entirely different issue.  It is possible to put a system in place that monitors errors, but can you really rely on this system?

Stock picking errors, by their very nature, go unseen.  Incorrect stock being picked is easier to trace than quantity inconsistencies, but how do you keep an accurate record of all picking errors?  Here are some guidelines to increasing the accuracy of picking error records on your warehouse shelving:

 Traceability

The unreported errors are responsible for throwing off the accuracy of your error reports.  You need to find information that can provide a comparison between cycle counts and returns, and then compare this to reported picking errors at the warehouse shelving level.  This won’t necessarily solve the problem outright, but it will provide you with more insight into the unreported errors.  Once you have a clearer idea of the nature of unreported errors, you will have an easier time tracing the source.

 Nip errors in the bud

Shipping too much product as a result of a stock-picking error presents a difficult problem for reporting.  This is because not all customers will report having received an excess in stock.  The best way to prevent this situation is putting systems in place that will double-check all items on multiple levels: post-picking and pre-shipping.

 Be prepared to slow your operation

Any operation involving the human factor is bound to make mistakes from time to time.  The best way to get around this is to have different departments double check each other’s work.  This may slow your operation, but it will reduce errors as well.  Alternatively, you could employ dedicated quality controllers to ensure the accuracy of all stock picks.

 Some handy points for minimising errors:

  • Bring in quality checkers:  Granted, this is an extra expense, but, if you are losing valuable stock, the expenditure could be less than your stock losses.
  • Alter your stock positions:  This may slow production for a few days, but it will help decrease errors.  If you have areas in which similar looking stock is placed next to each other, split them up.  This will minimise human errors.
  • Be aware of theft:  You never want to accuse your employees of stealing, but this could be a significant factor.  Employees stealing products can be creative in covering their tracks, and this will lead to inconsistencies in your error reports.

These are just some of the ways in which you can reduce the amount of unreported errors in your warehouse.  As previously stated, warehouse shelving solutions are important because your stock is important, so monitoring it correctly is the best way to make sure that your warehouse shelving is put to good use.

 

 

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