APS Fulfillment Services_article_051115Error crops up all the time in business. There’s no way around it and it’s just a matter of trying to fix them as they come up.

In pick-and-pack fulfillment, errors arise a bit more frequently. The process of selecting, bundling, and shipping packaged goods can get muddled. However if it gets too problematic then you lose efficiency and damage your reputation.

If you’re looking to reduce your picking and packing errors, here are some areas to start:

1. Streamline Your Pick Path

The best way to see where your errors are happening is to go over your line of operations, or “pick path.” Observe where you receive orders, the items, and the packaging in detail to see where the mistakes are happening. Auditing your pick path can be a bit of a drag but it will help you pinpoint what’s wrong.

2. Redesign Your Workflow

Once problems are located, it’s time to redesign your workflow and correct the errors you’ve found. It might be a matter of rearranging your step-by-step pick path or correcting faulty workmanship on the part of one of your pickers.

3. Integrate New Technology

Pick-and-pack can really benefit from the most modern technology accessible. Since pick-and-pack requires orders to be logged and your staff to access them to fulfill the order, you’ll probably need a very good database and tracking system to see which orders are completed, by whom, and all other relevant information, like completion dates and client addresses. Many professionals recommend tablet technology since it’s mobile and easy to use with touch screens.

4. Improve Your Warehouse Layout

It’s important to have easy access to products so they can be picked and packed as soon as the orders are placed. Wading through disorganized bins of products or not arranging your workspace well only slows down the process, along with creating more than a few safety issues. If you have to perform warehouse and fulfillment center rearranging to make your pick process better, do it.

5. Use a Visual System

Experts have begun noting how well a visual system of categorizing and organizing products works. What this means is that you organize your products using colors or image tags so that you can access them according to their type, section, or brand. The advantages of this are twofold: you can keep track of numbers or order status through digital formats via visual media such as bar codes and you reduce worker stress. The latter is because text-based categorization fatigues workers more and can lead to an increase in processing issues.

6. Track Your Error Rates

With more technology and the option to keep tabs on pick-and-pack orders comes the ability to keep track of errors. Obviously you can’t make your pick path error free, but as you do your pick-and-pack services, you can spot error points as they arise and fix them quickly.

Note that a lot of newly reformed pick-and-pack companies have introduced rewards systems for employees who find and correct errors. From a management point of view, this might be a worthwhile program for your company as well. It’s not good to go fingerpointing when errors happen, but you can inspire better performance amongst your staff.

Correcting pick-and-pack errors just requires some effort, keen eyes, and the implementation of new tools or techniques. Once you’ve spotted the problems in your pick-and-pack process, you can sharpen your methods.

Need solutions to your product fulfillment problems? APS Fulfillment, Inc. has the knowledge and services to make your direct mail and product fulfillment ventures more successful. Contact APS Fulfillment, Inc. by e-mail at info@apsfulfillment.com, visit their web site at www.apsfulfillment.com, or phone toll-free at (954) 582-7450.