One of the main struggles for warehouse managers is maintaining a consistently high pick accuracy rate, as variables like human error, time pressures, and supplier faults can all result in picking the wrong item or miscounting quantities.
Over time these errors add up and, in some cases, a mere half a percent of incorrect picks can cost a business hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in product giveaway, correction costs or contract penalties. Not to mention the negative impact on customer service.
A typical warehouse achieves between 99 - 99.5% pick accuracy percent by order*. But when half a percent of pick accuracy can have such an effect on a business’s bottom line, and with so many variables involved, how can you keep pick accuracy, well, accurate?
Many warehouses have implemented technologies such as voice-to-pick or pick-to-light systems, both of which instruct the pick operator to the part location within the warehouse. However, although both systems get the pick operator to the correct location quickly, they do not account for human error and cannot verify the operator picked the correct quantity from the correct bin.
As speed is a key factor influencing accuracy, some warehouses slow down the pick process to give pick operators more time to spend verifying correct parts and quantities. This results in cost implications as businesses then need to increase labour to cope with the reduced number of picks and is not usually a viable option.
Automation such as robots and carousel systems can reduce human error and increase efficiency, but automation will not complete the full picking process and requires huge amounts of capital expenditure to implement.
There are emerging technologies that combine pick accuracy improvements without compromising on speed. The Mobile Picking Solution (MPS) from Avery Weigh-Tronix brings technology to the point of pick, to eliminate manual counting and verify pick accuracy. It integrates seamlessly with other pick management systems (including voice-to-pick and pick-to-light systems), making them more accurate and efficient.
The MPS is a mobile workstation equipped with touch screen, advanced counting scale, barcode scanner, battery power supply and printer. Simple on-screen instructions guide the operator through the picking process by displaying images of the item to be picked and the quantity required. This use of imagery and simple, step-by-step prompts guarantee a minimum pick accuracy of 99.75%. Thanks to immediate cost savings from reduced pick errors, return on investment for the MPS is calculated in months.
*Tillman, J., Manrodt, K., and Williams, D. (2018), WERC DC Measures: 2018 Trends and Challenges, Warehousing Education and Research Council, USA