What Causes Picking Errors?

By DOUG HOPPER, Fulfillment Process Expert

Recent increases in E-comm and B2C ordering patterns have put a spotlight on the impact that picking errors now present to operations managers.  At a minimum, the B2C shipper incurs a customer return with all the associated costs.  But all too frequently the single item mis-ship results in the loss of the next sale.  Consumers typically do not return to shop at the seller who delivers the wrong item- or the right item in the wrong size, color or quantity.  In fact, they tell their friends and the damage is accurately measured with a multiplier nearly every time.  Even in the B2B environment, these errors typically carry a deduction against future invoices along with a correlating reduction in customer satisfaction, opening the door for competitive offerings – even in long-time established accounts.

The picking error that occurs in the distribution center is most often the result of using a sub-optimized process for order fulfillment.  The interaction between a picker and paper pick tickets, paper labels, RF handhelds or wearable devices, all have inherent distractions that take the picker’s attention away from the task at hand.  Errors occur when a picker is at the pick face with similar or like items stored side by side and must look away from the item/location in order to enter or read information from an RF device or paper ticket.

Voice picking technology removes this inherent distraction faced by all selectors in DCs by utilizing a conversation with the system of record (WMS, ERP, Inventory System) to keep the picker focused on picking the correct item and quantity every time.

Here are a few examples of improvements achieved with our voice-directed picking application:

  • One company achieved a reduction of 50% in returns after implementing voice, resulting in nearly $1.3 million of savings in the first year.
  • At one manufacturer, their shipping errors dropped in the first month from an average of 500 per week to only 3.
  • One company achieved 99.99% order accuracy, noting only 1 error per 7,000 cases and reduced overall QA staff by 75%.

Want to know more? Reach out and we can discuss if voice can help solve some of your challenges at voice@mountainleverage.com.

Doug Hopper

Doug is an in-house Fulfilment Process Expert at Mountain Leverage with over 20 years of experience running supply chain operations throughout the USA for Nestle Company.  He brings valuable insight and experience to today’s distribution challenges.


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