Picking mistakes can cost a business dearly. They represent a cost in terms of productivity if yours is an e-commerce business that sells its items online. Think about the damage to the image that can cause a picking error: a customer who receives the wrong product, with different sizes or colors from the ones requested, or simply who gets his item late, is a dissatisfied customer. Reducing errors is essential.

In the field of production, on the other hand, small mistakes are enough to slow down entire logistics processes.

If you want to improve your warehouse pick rate and prefer to prevent problems rather than having to fix them, we’ve prepared a list of major picking errors for you to avoid.

Picking of wrong quantities

Sometimes operators may pre-select items in larger or smaller quantities than indicated in the order. In large warehouses, this probability is reduced by using radio-frequency technologies: barcode scanners or RFID systems to keep the staff who are doing this informed.

If the products have been mislabeled upstream, scanners or terminals will also be ineffective.

Picking up the wrong item

If an item is stored in the wrong place, it is likely that the picking operator can pick up a different SKU code. The consequences of this error should not be underestimated, as they will eventually result in a complaint from the customer. Products and goods must be labeled with barcodes in order to identify and locate them in the warehouse. This is a necessary procedure and is a measure that prevents clutter in the warehouse. Despite this, it is still possible to come across warehouses whose shelving is filled with unlabeled products.

Misdistribution of items on shelves

The probability of an operator making a withdrawal error increases as the distances to travel increase. Long picking paths, time-wasting, and poorly connected inventory can make it difficult to pick multiple load units for order composition.

This problem is quite widespread and can be solved by reviewing the configuration of storage systems or, if the problem was more complex than expected, by intervening directly on the warehouse layout.

Exchanging or mixing up articles

The exchange of items is often the result of an error in the localization of a product or a process that leads picking workers to assimilate-store certain codes, leading them to the collection of wrong products. In this respect, the signage and labeling of compartments and corridors are vital as it allows packages to be quickly located on the one hand, and for rapid cross-checking (SKU-shelf) on the other.

Replacing an item without permission

If it is necessary to replace an SKU, it is essential to correctly record the operation in the system so that inventory inconsistencies are not generated. The method and directives for achieving this function must be clear to all operators.

Mixing items intended for different orders

An operator can make multiple withdrawals at the same time. This technique allows you to gain speed, but it is not without risks: a small distraction could cause an error in the preparation or packaging phase.

To avoid this error it is essential to pass each item to the scanner before packing it. Thanks to the barcode reader, an instant check is carried out and you make sure that everything is in order before sending it.

Avoiding extra charges

The cost of picking can represent more than 50% of the total costs for a company in the warehouse. The downstream impact of a simple erroneous pick would result in additional extra expenses: returns, administrative costs, repetition of the entire sequence of operations related to picking, packaging, consolidation, and shipping.

Picking up the wrong-sized item

How many times have we heard of returns made for receiving clothing of the wrong size? To avoid this picking error, you must assign an SKU based on the size of the packaging or packaging. The operator must scan before picking up the product.

While there are many factors that can cause errors during order preparation, it is good practice to identify them to improve picking processes and prevent them from taking on the connotations of endemic problems.

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