Kitting and pick & pack services are also known as product assembly. This is the process where items are brought together and bundled into a single packaged product for the customer to receive. It is a basic but important part of warehouse service and delivery. Inefficient or ineffective kitting practices slow down the whole workflow and increase the risk of errors finding their way to the customers’ doorsteps. Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to ensure accurate and proper kitting is done.
Bill of Materials
You may be surprised at how often smaller items are left out or included in the wrong amounts. This is common in high-volume kitting operations; as workers start packing based on rote reflexes, it gets easier for things to slip through the cracks.
A bill of materials is a good way to make sure your staff pauses and pays attention. It’s a written notice that is created for each unique product kit and states the contents and their quantity, similar to a checklist. A bill of materials is a simple way of ensuring everything gets double-checked and verified.
Electronic Inventory Tracking
One of the benefits of kitting is that it allows for flexibility in designing product bundles. One of the downsides of kitting is that this means certain products aren’t always kept at the same inventory level. You might be well-stocked in one item but dangerously low on another.
Warehousing software lets you keep track of inventory levels in real time and can alert you when certain items are getting low. These programs are especially important in cases where bulk or mass orders are common, as they let you know how much of the order can be packed and shipped immediately and how much needs to wait. The importance of effective inventory tracking and overview dramatically increases in times of high demand, such as holiday periods or during sales.
As the saying goes, “Trust, but verify.” A good kitting practice undergoes quality and production checks at predetermined intervals. The exact timing is going to depend on the scale of kit production, but generally a check is performed every 20 (when producing in the hundreds) to 200 (when producing in the thousands) kits.
The reason for this is that if a problem is detected, you will have a smaller window of kits to double-check to determine how widespread the error is. In cases where your product kits are done as one-offs or off the assembly line, you can employ a “measure twice and cut once” approach where a secondary manager inspects and signs off on the kit.
APS Fulfillment, Inc. is a specialist in direct mail marketing and warehouse fulfillment and is based in Miami, Florida. We’ve stored, sorted, and delivered products of all shapes and sizes for all kinds of companies. Contact us by phone at 954-582-7450 or by email at [email protected] to learn how third-party warehousing and fulfillment services can support and grow your business.