Picking mistakes can cost a business significantly in terms of productivity. This is especially true if you run an e-commerce business that sells items exclusively online. Sending the wrong item, the wrong bundle of items, the wrong color item, or the wrong size item all count as picking errors. Needless to say, reducing errors is essential.

In manufacturing, small mistakes are enough to slow down entire logistics processes.

Picking of wrong quantities

Sometimes operators may pick items in larger or smaller quantities than indicated in the order. In large warehouses, this probability is reduced by using inventory management tools such as radio-frequency technology or RFID: barcode scanners or other forms of line of sight or non-line of sight systems.

However, it must be mentioned that if the products have been mislabeled upstream, scanners or terminals will also be ineffective.

Picking up the wrong item

If an item is stored in the wrong place, it is likely that the warehouse operator will end up picking a different SKU code. In many warehouses, operators move around based on sheer memory. As a result, they may not thoroughly check a part number since they know for sure where it is located. Products and goods must be labeled appropriately in order to identify and locate them in the warehouse. This is a necessary procedure and is a measure that also prevents clutter in the warehouse.

Misdistribution of items on shelves

The probability of an operator making a withdrawal error increases as the distances to travel increase. Long picking paths and poorly connected bundle inventory can make it difficult the picking process itself unnecessarily complex.

This problem is quite widespread and can be solved by reviewing the configuration of storage systems or, if the problem is more complex than expected, by adjusting the warehouse layout.

Exchanging or mixing up articles

The cross-picking or exchange of items is often the result of an error in the shelf placement of a product. In this respect, the signage and labeling of compartments and corridors are vital as it allows packages to be quickly located and for rapid cross-checking of SKU against shelf or bin.

Replacing an item without permission

If it is necessary to replace an SKU, it is essential to correctly record the operation in the system so that inventory inconsistencies are not generated. The method and directives for achieving this function must be clear to all operators. This is a big issue in many warehouses, as the operator replacing the item will easily forget to adjust the system data once returning to his or her workstation.

Mixing items intended for different orders

An operator can sometimes choose to execute multiple withdrawals at the same time. This technique allows the picking process to proceed quickly, but it is not without risks: as a small distraction could cause an error.

To avoid this error it is essential to pass each item to the scanner upon picking. This can reduce errors significantly.

Picking up the wrong-sized item

Picking garments of the wrong size is all too common an issue in warehouse operations. To avoid this picking error, you must assign an SKU identifier based on the size of the product. The operator must scan the item before picking the product.

Avoiding extra charges

The cost of picking can represent more than 45% of the total costs for a company’s warehouse operations. The downstream impact of a simple erroneous pick would result in additional extra expenses. These can include returns, administrative costs of responding to unhappy customers, repetition of the entire sequence of operations related to picking, packaging, consolidation, and shipping.

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