Warehouse order picking is a critical process in modern-day order fulfillment, as it involves selecting items from inventory to fulfill customer orders efficiently and accurately. Manual order picking is prone to errors that can lead to shipping inaccuracies, customer dissatisfaction, and delays. This is where warehouse order picking software comes in. With this in mind, let’s explore further about the importance of warehouse picking software in reducing manual errors and increasing efficiency in the warehouse.
The Importance of Avoiding Manual Errors Throughout the Order Fulfillment Process
The order fulfillment process is a critical aspect of any business that involves delivering products or services to customers. Manual errors made during this process can lead to a wide range of negative consequences, including delayed shipments, incorrect product deliveries, dissatisfied customers, and lost revenue.
It’s essential to avoid manual errors by implementing a reliable and accurate system for managing the entire order fulfillment process, starting with reliable order management software or a DSD software for example. Automation and technology can help minimize human errors and ensure that every order is processed and fulfilled accurately and efficiently, ultimately leading to cost savings, a better customer experience and increased business success.
5 Common Manual Errors in Warehouse Order Picking
Warehouse order picking is the process of selecting and collecting items from inventory to fulfill customer orders. This process involves retrieving items from their storage location, verifying the item and quantity, and preparing them for shipment to the customer. Order, picking and packing process is a critical part of the warehouse and distribution center operations and requires efficient and accurate execution to ensure timely and accurate delivery of products to customers.
Manual order picking is prone to errors that can cause delays, shipping inaccuracies, and customer dissatisfaction. In fact, in a survey carried out by Stitch Labs, 63% of the respondents identified human error caused by managing manual processes as the primary reason for inventory or fulfillment problems.
Here are some of the most common manual errors that occur during the warehouse order picking process
1.Picking the Wrong Item
This error occurs when the warehouse worker selects the wrong item from inventory to fulfill an order. It can happen when items look similar, have similar packaging, or are located near each other in the warehouse.
2.Picking the Wrong Quantity
This error occurs when the warehouse worker selects the wrong number of items to fulfill an order. It can happen due to misreading the order or inventory count.
3.Picking from the Wrong Location
This error occurs when the warehouse worker selects items from the wrong bin, shelf, or location in the warehouse. It can happen due to poor organization or inadequate labeling.
4.Misreading Labels or Barcodes
This error occurs when the warehouse worker misreads a label or barcode and selects the wrong item or quantity.
5.Mixing Up Similar-looking Items
This error occurs when the warehouse worker confuses similar-looking items and selects the wrong item to fulfill an order.
How These Errors Can Negatively Impact Warehouse Operations?
Manual errors in the warehouse order picking process can have negative consequences for warehouse operations, including:
Increased order returns and customer dissatisfaction: If the wrong item or quantity is shipped to the customer, they may need to return the item or be dissatisfied with the order, leading to a negative customer experience.
Lost productivity due to rework: Correcting manual errors requires additional time and resources, leading to lost productivity and inefficiencies in warehouse operations.
Increased labor costs due to the need to correct errors: Addressing manual errors can require additional labor costs, which can impact the profitability of the business.
Inaccurate inventory levels and stockouts: Manual errors can lead to inaccurate inventory levels, making it challenging to maintain optimal stock levels and avoid stockouts.
How Warehouse Picking Software Can Help
Warehouse picking software is designed to optimize and automate the warehouse order picking process. It is an essential tool for warehouses and distribution centers that need to fulfill customer orders quickly and accurately.
It can greatly reduce manual errors in the order picking and packing process. By automating and streamlining various aspects of the process, warehouse order picking software can improve accuracy and efficiency, resulting in fewer errors and higher productivity.
Let’s review specific features and capabilities of a warehouse order picking software to avoid manual errors:
Barcode scanning is a crucial feature of warehouse picking software as it ensures that the correct items are being picked and placed in the correct location. This feature allows pickers to scan the barcodes on items, locations, and orders, which verifies the accuracy of the order and minimizes errors caused by manual entry.
Barcode scanning also ensures that the right items are picked by matching the item and location barcodes, which reduces the likelihood of misplaced items. Additionally, it eliminates the need for manual data entry, which is prone to errors and can cause delays.
Voice picking is another important feature of warehouse picking software as it allows pickers to receive instructions through a headset, which can help reduce errors caused by reading and typing. With voice picking, the picker listens to instructions through a headset and confirms the pick by speaking into a microphone, eliminating the need for manual data entry.
Voice picking can also improve efficiency by allowing pickers to work hands-free, which speeds up the picking process. Additionally, it reduces the risk of injuries caused by carrying scanners or devices around the warehouse.
Pick-to-light systems use lights and displays to direct pickers to the correct items, ensuring that they are picking the right items in the correct quantities. This feature can help reduce errors caused by confusion or distraction by providing a clear visual cue for the pickers, in fact, research shows that this system can improve productivity by 20-50%.
Pick-to-light systems are especially useful in warehouses that handle a large volume of small items, such as pharmaceuticals or electronic components.
Real-time tracking is a critical feature of warehouse order picking software as it allows managers to monitor the status of orders and pickers in real-time. This feature ensures that all orders are being fulfilled on time and accurately.
It can also help identify potential issues before they become major problems. For example, if a picker is taking longer than usual to fulfill an order, the manager can intervene and find out if there is an issue with the order or the picker’s performance.
Automated Inventory Updates
Automated inventory updates can help reduce manual errors by automatically updating inventory levels as items are picked. This feature ensures that the system always reflects the correct inventory levels, which reduces the likelihood of overselling or underselling products.
This can also help reduce the risk of stockouts and overstocks, which can impact customer satisfaction and profitability. By keeping track of inventory levels in real-time, managers can make informed decisions about restocking and inventory management.
Key Considerations When Choosing the Right Warehouse Picking Software
Compatibility and Integration with Existing Systems
One of the most important factors to consider when selecting warehouse picking software is compatibility and integration with existing systems. The software should be able to seamlessly provide ERP integration, as well as integrate with the warehouse management system (WMS system), order management software and other relevant platforms. This will ensure that data can flow freely between systems, reducing the likelihood of errors and improving overall efficiency.
Ease of Use and Training
Warehouse order picking software should be easy to use and require minimal training for pickers and other warehouse staff. The software should have a user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation to ensure that pickers can quickly learn and use the software effectively.
Total Cost of Ownership
When selecting warehouse picking software, it’s important to consider the total cost of ownership. This includes not only the upfront cost of the software but also ongoing maintenance and support costs. Additionally, the software should provide a good return on investment (ROI) by improving efficiency and reducing errors in the order picking process.
In general, B2B businesses in today’s environment cannot afford to have manual errors in their operations, in particular, in their warehouse systems processes since they require a high degree of accuracy and efficiency to ensure timely and accurate order fulfillment.
However, to achieve a seamless and error-free order fulfillment process, businesses must fully embrace technology in every step of the way, starting with the order taking process. This means implementing reliable order-taking software such as the OIS Pro App. Don’t let manual errors slow down your business and schedule a free demo today!