Even if you feel that you have a functional and efficient warehouse, there might still be some things you can do to improve it further. Consider the five tips below to see how you might be able to improve the accuracy and speed of your warehouse order picking.
5 Ways to Improve Warehouse Order Picking Speed and Accuracy
Reduce Manual Entry
Manual entry, which is the way that warehouse picking was done in the past, has quite a few problems. There is a risk of human error when the information is entered manually. The person who is entering the information could put the wrong product info onto the paperwork, which means the picker will be picking the wrong items to ship. Even if the main product is correct, there could be errors regarding the exact color, size, style, etc., due to errors.
The best way to eliminate these types of errors is to replace manual entry with automated processes. The information about a customer’s order should be automatically added to the system at the time of purchase. This way, all of the information from the original order will be used going forward, which will reduce the potential for errors.
Paperless Order Picking
Using paper as part of the picking process should be eliminated. Instead, you should opt for paperless picking, as it offers quite a few advantages. It can lead to shorter search times for products that need to be picked and shipped. It can also help to increase performance and efficiency while reducing the error rate. Paperless picking provides clean and clear documentation, and there’s no risk of it getting lost.
Going paperless will help to make things easier for your employees. It will also help to ensure a faster time from the shelf to shipping and to your customer’s hands. This is one of the best ways to improve order picking speed and accuracy.
Directed Staging/Put Away
You should also choose to start using directed staging/put away in your warehouse. This is a feature that can be used with many warehouse management systems. It will direct your employees to put the items that come into the warehouse into their final location as soon as they arrive. This eliminated the staging area that has been common in warehouses for so many years.
When you eliminate the staging area and put the items in their proper location in the warehouse immediately, it reduces congestion. It also means that there will be less handling of the product, which should help to reduce potential errors and misplacement. The sooner the products are on shelves, the sooner they can be picked and shipped, too.
Order Item Validation
Before picking, validating the ordered item is essential. Your customers expect that the items they order for your company will be the items they receive. The items can be quickly verified using barcode scanning. Workers will need to validate before picking even if they are “certain” they are getting the right item. Your WMS should allow for item validation. It will greatly reduce errors, and it will make it easier for your pickers to ensure they have the right item.
You should also be using batch picking. This is the process of collecting inventory for identical orders at the same time instead of picking items one order at a time. This way, your employees can pick up the items for many orders in one trip rather than going back and forth picking. Naturally, batch picking can help to speed up the process and make picking far more efficient. If you are using a different type of picking process, consider switching to batch picking to see just how much more efficient it can be.
These are some of the best ways that you can start to improve your warehouse order picking speed and accuracy. You should always be looking for new ways that you can make these types of improvements. Look out for new technology, as well as ways you can improve the layout of the warehouse to make the picking process faster and easier. Improving the warehouse should be considered an ongoing process. Make changes when you need them.
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