Did you know that Amazon spends around $21.7 billion on shipping? Imagine if they keep having order picking problems, which means an 11%-13% drain on profit margin. Letting this persist can lead to customer dissatisfaction, reduce productivity, and much more.


Order picking involves fulfilling customer orders by selecting the correct items from inventory. The accuracy of this system helps reduce costs and streamline warehouse operations. It can get complicated, so keep reading to learn how to do this like a pro.


Understand the Importance of Order Picking Accuracy


Delivering the right products on time builds trust and fosters long-term relationships. Increased order picking accuracy results in fewer returns and complaints. This helps enhance the company’s reputation and customer retention.


Improving order picking accuracy can reduce operational costs. Errors can lead to extra expenses such as return shipping, restocking, and labor costs. By reducing these costs, businesses can enhance their profitability.


Develop a Robust Warehouse Inventory System


WMS manages warehouse inventory, streamlines operations, and improves order picking accuracy. It does this by providing real-time visibility into stock levels and locations. This helps warehouse staff locate and select items, reducing the risk of errors.


Regular inventory audits identify discrepancies and correct them. This ensures that the WMS has up-to-date information on stock levels and locations. This allows pickers to make accurate selections.


Optimize Warehouse Layout


Organizing similar items in the warehouse makes it easier for pickers to locate them. This reduces the likelihood of errors and increases efficiency. Grouping encompasses the product type, size, or other relevant characteristics.


You can reduce the distance that pickers need to travel to retrieve items. Incorporate this system by assigning pickers to specific warehouse areas. This can cut labor expense and improve accuracy.


Install Picking Technologies


Barcode scanning technology can improve order-picking accuracy. By scanning barcodes, pickers can verify that they have selected the correct items. Barcode scanning can connect with a WMS to update inventory levels in real time.


Voice and vision-picking technologies use voice commands and augmented reality (AR) glasses. This helps guide pickers through the process. These technologies provide pickers with clear instructions, reducing errors and improving efficiency.


Train and Empower Your Workforce


Employees who are knowledgeable about their tasks are less likely to make mistakes. Try updating training materials and providing refresher courses. This will help maintain a high level of accuracy.


Encouraging employees to suggest improvements to the order picking process. By encouraging employees to share ideas, businesses can improve their expertise. Implementing employee-driven improvements can also boost morale and job satisfaction.


Establish Clear Performance Metrics


Establishing clear KPIs for order-picking accuracy can drive continuous improvement. KPIs can include pick rate, error rate, and cycle time. By monitoring and analyzing these metrics, warehouse managers can identify areas for improvement.


The picking accuracy formula measures the effectiveness of your order-picking process. Picking accuracy is the: (Total Picks – Picking Errors) / Total Picks x 100. By tracking this metric over time, you can see the impact of your strategies on accuracy.


Install a Quality Control Process


Performing pre-shipment inspections can help catch picking errors before items get to customers. First, pick and pack your items, then have a second look and verify it. This will prevent costly returns in the future.


A two-person system involves having one person select the item, while the other verifies it. This extra layer of checks can help catch errors before shipping the items. This will reduce the likelihood of mistakes and improve accuracy.


Maintain Proper Storage Conditions


Damaged items can be difficult to locate and may lead to picking errors. Implementing adequate shelving can help support item quality. This will help improve order-picking accuracy.


Labeling and organizing items in the warehouse makes them easier to locate. This reduces the likelihood of errors and increases efficiency. Consider using color-coded labels or signage to make items more noticeable.


Use Automated Picking Solutions


AS/RS helps store and retrieve items in the warehouse. These systems can improve accuracy by reducing human error and increasing efficiency. AS/RS can integrate with a WMS to give accurate, real-time inventory information.


Robotic picking solutions use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate the picking process. These solutions can improve accuracy by eliminating human error and increasing pick rates. Robotic systems can connect with a WMS and other warehouse technologies.


Review and Optimize Processes


By conducting process reviews, warehouse managers can stay up-to-date on the latest strategies. This can improve order-picking accuracy.


You want to seek new ways to optimize processes and technologies. This will help your business stay ahead of the competition. Not only that, it helps support high accuracy in their order picking operations.


Challenges of Order Picking Accuracy


The challenge comes from the vast range of products and their sizes, shapes, and packaging. Keeping inventory data correct and up-to-date adds to this complexity. This is true as errors in the system can lead to mistakes during the picking process.


Another challenge is the cost and time needed to incorporate new strategies and tech. Upgrading systems, introducing new tools, and training staff all need investments. Warehouse operators must balance between spending resources on improvements and managing costs.


Should You Focus on Order Picking Accuracy?


The answer is “yes,” as it helps optimize warehouse operations. In the end, it increases profit margin and promotes employee retention. Make sure to try barcode scanning or vision-picking technology to enhance efficiency.


If you need to transform your package shipping system, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our order-picking strategies.


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