Accidents happen, mainly because of human error. Yet, those accidents can lead to costly mistakes, like incorrectly shipped items, expired products, damages, and injuries that impact your warehouse. By learning how to reduce human errors in your warehouse, you can increase the productivity of your workforce while increasing profitability. Here are the best ways to make your warehouse safer and more efficient.
Implement a Warehouse Management System
When you can leverage technology, you automatically set yourself up for success. The right technology can improve the productivity and efficiency of your workforce, thus improving profit. One of the best options is a warehouse management system (WMS), a kind of software designed to organize, control, and direct warehouse operations from the point those items enter the warehouse to the moment they leave.
Warehouse management systems like Agility from Wisys play a vital role in ensuring items are validated (which is necessary for compliance in several industries) and traceable. A WMS also ensures the materials and products move in the most cost-efficient way. Employees can use the WMS to help locate and place items, as well as receive order updates and other tasks. Smart pick lists, for example, can be automatically created within the WMS and give the employee the most efficient route through the warehouse.
Assess The Environment
Sometimes it is not the procedure but the location that is troubling the workforce and leaving them demotivated. If the environment is not properly set up, your workers may end up traveling miles to find an item needed for an order, which is wasting their time and yours. Many warehouse management systems come with functions that let you analyze the layout of your warehouse and develop a strategy for augmenting the setup.
Even the smallest tweak to the environment can help. For example, if your WMS shows you that there are items that are frequently selected, you can move them closer to the pickers and packers. A WMS can also assist with directing strategic pulls, including First In, First Out (FIFO) and Last In, First Out (LIFO) practices.
Utilize Validation Scanning
Are most of the errors within your warehouse incorrectly picked and packaged items? If that is so, then you should consider post-pick validation scans or checks. For every item that is packaged incorrectly, you are doubling the amount of time and effort spent on an order. That is why a validation check is essential, even when using an automated system.
Your employees can use barcode scanners and integrated WMS or ERP solutions to ensure that the items are being picked up from the correct location. Furthermore, checking the package weight, and asking for tripe signatures (from the picker, checker, and courier) can help ensure that the right items are being sent to the correct customer.
Review Your Storage Strategies Often
Even if you are not using a WMS or ERP, there are certain practices that reduce human errors in your warehouse. These practices include:
- Reviewing your storage strategies
- Putting high-demand items in accessible locations
- Storing frequently picked items close to the packing and shipping area of the warehouse
- Properly labeling all storage lots, slots, and bins
- Keeping items with the same SKU in the same location
- Ensuring all bins hold one product, as multiple items stored in a single bin can lead to picking problems
- Using a WMS to track and analyze inventory movement
- Conducting routine inventory checks
Let’s focus on the last one for a moment, as it connects with everything else. When you check the inventory for mistakes, you can discover items that have been mislabeled or misplaced, which are two leading causes of picking errors. When mistakes are made during item replenishment, it inadvertently causes more problems later on. As such, checking your inventory is key to improving the accuracy of picking and packing.
Assign IDs to Track Employees and Identify Problems
Humans make mistakes, and those associates in your warehouse are no different. However, there are many factors that can lead to problems, including emotional, physical, and mental stress. Negligence, fatigue, and even lack of motivation can influence behaviors leading to mistakes. To ensure that your associates remain accountable for their actions while on the job, it is a good idea to assign an identification number to each individual.
Not only will this give employees a way to report on issues, but they can also use the WMS to track orders, find picking routes, and more. IDs can also give managers a way to see who is doing work, who needs more training, and who made an error.
Reduce Human Errors with a WiSys WMS
The most effective way to reduce human error in a warehouse is to automate tasks and ensure that everyone is on board. When your workforce is utilizing barcode scanners and features from a WMS like Agility from Wisys, you can optimize every step of the picking, packing, and shipping process. To learn more about how Agility WMS can optimize your warehouse and assist your workforce, fill out the inquiry form or call us today at 770-955-3550.