Shipping mistakes can make a warehouse less productive and less profitable. Not only does the warehouse have to take the time to accept the return, restock it and make good on the shipment, it also has to pay for the first and second shipments and overcome the hurdle of poor customer service. Some ways to improve accuracy:
- Inventory – Have a good and current accounting of your inventory by making sure you use solid counting techniques. By hiring the right people for inventory control, putting checks and balances in place and using warehouse management software, you can have a handle on your inventory any time of the year. Bar coding and recording every bar code helps you to know what’s shipping on a day-to-day basis. Counting is most easily done when products are in full view, as on pallet racks or flat shelving.
- Warehouse design – Minimize fulfillment errors by keeping like products together, rather than mixing multiple products in the same bin or area. Designate a part of the warehouse for similar products, select the easiest and quickest storage method and inform workers of the intentional design. If workers know the specific location of a product, they are more likely to get it right every time.
- Picking strategies – Give your employees who pick the products some built-in ways to be more accurate. Keep the most frequently sold products at ground level, and in the same general area of the warehouse. They will be quicker and easier to access than if they were higher up on the rack or spread throughout the facility. Reduce the confusion, effort and distance for order fulfillment employees and watch the errors decline.
- Storage – All products should be in the appropriate storage media. Fast-moving items should be stored on pallet racks so they can actually be moved quickly. Slower-moving products can be in bins or on higher shelves.