Published on: January 09, 2018
Becoming an expert at anything requires two things: knowledge and practice. You probably have plenty of practice in the art of picking, packing, and shipping. But what about knowledge, or information, about how accurate you are with your shipments?
Depending on what the data from your Acumatica reports tells you, you may have an opportunity to use data to improve your warehouse management. Consider this: if only half percent (0.05%) of mistakes impact your warehouse, it may look like, on paper, that you’re doing great. But, if that half a percent represents a million dollars per year of mistakes, suddenly it doesn’t feel like you are doing great.
Acumatica offers numerous reports that incorporate warehouse data with other business data so that you can get an accurate picture of your business. Not sure where to begin? Mindover Software offers a collection of free Acumatica resources called Acumatica Tips and Tricks that can show you how to complete inventory transfers, review purchase orders and more. It’s a great place to go to learn how to get the most from your Acumatica system.
Perfecting Your Picking and Packing
Let’s take a look at picking and packing. It’s an area of your warehouse management that usually receives scant attention. However, too many mistakes in this area can lead to higher than usual returns and dissatisfied customers. Examining each of the following can help you reduce errors and improve service.
- Review return data: Go through the data on returned orders. One sign there’s a problem in the picking and packing system is a high number of items returned for incorrect products or reports of incomplete orders. Reports from a business intelligence, ERP, or WMS can help you pinpoint if those orders occurred during a specific time period or with specific teams, if you can pinpoint it down to the individual level.
- Examine existing processes: When was the last time you reviewed and updated warehouse processes for picking and packing? What if you don’t even have a written process? Then it’s time to build one. Dust off the process manual and review the steps in the picking and packing process. They should be current; that is, reflect the steps that staff currently take or the ideal steps that you’d like them to take.
- Check for discrepancies: If the process you’ve outlined differs from what’s occurring in the warehouse, find out why. Your warehouse staff may have discovered shortcuts or better ways of handling picking and packing. Conversely, their way may not be as efficient as the methods outlined in your process. You’ll need to do some digging to determine which of these scenarios is accurate.
- Invite comments and feedback: Don’t be afraid to invite the warehouse team’s comments, feedback, and suggestions. A good way to do this is to host a roundtable luncheon where the company provides sandwiches or pizza and creates an informal atmosphere. Allow people to open up and share thoughts for improving the process, feedback, and ideas.
- Hold contests: If you can monitor data on picking and packing, hold a contest to see which team can generate the lowest number of order mistakes. Give a special prize to the team with zero mistakes per month. Software that tracks return data can help you set the parameters for a contest. Monitor metrics, such as returns for incorrect or incomplete orders, which leads straight back to the picking and packing process.
Small items are often difficult to count. They can cause mistakes in picking and packing more frequently than larger ones. They are easily dropped, miscounted, or overlooked in large orders, and they can be difficult to scan.
You may wish to host additional training sessions with your warehouse staff to help them improve picking and packing small items. Double teaming, in which one person picks and another packs, then switch roles to check each other’s work, can also help reduce mistakes with small items.
Small Mistakes Add Up
Small mistakes can add up to lost profits. It is rare that one big mistake hurts a company’s annual budget. Instead, the small slips and errors during picking and packing lead to poor fulfillment and upset customers.
Acumatica ERP offers cloud-based software that enables you to track, manage, and address warehouse problems. You can use data from Acumatica to improve operations and reduce error rates. With Mindover Software’s tips and tricks page, you can get the most from your Acumatica software.
Mindover Software provides business software and solutions to companies big and small. We help companies select and use technology, adapting to the ever-changing demands of their industries through new and innovative software products. Contact us today for more information.