Picking errors are a detail that may seem small but, collectively, can be incredibly costly for your business. Precise picking with a zero error approach not only helps to ensure that your customers are happy but improves operational efficiency too. Without this kind of system in place your business could be losing hundreds of thousands of pounds every year. In fact, research places the average loss from picking errors at around £260,000 annually.
The costs that add up
It’s estimated that the average picking error costs around £15. That may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things but if order volumes are high and precision rates are not this can result in a high daily error cost. For example, where 80 orders an hour are being picked and each order has four parts that’s 320 parts per hour that could potentially result in a picking error. When that figure is multiplied by an eight-hour shift the total rises to 2,560. Even if picking precision is around 90% that’s potentially 256 errors each day. With every error costing £15, the total daily loss from picking errors would be £3,840.
The broader impact
It’s not just the financial cost that can have an impact – there are other issues to consider too. For example, poorly picked orders can have an effect on the customer experience and this impacts brand perception. Staff morale can also take a hit if picking errors are consistent and this can make it even harder to improve accuracy. There is also the cost of waste – whether this comes from incorrectly picked items or packaging that is wasted during the process. All of these can soon add up to a very expensive series of mistakes that can impact the entire business.
Avoiding costly picking errors
Manual picking is always likely to be subject to a degree of picking error, simply due to the involvement of humans. That’s why automated solutions are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a way to support human operatives and to speed up and improve accuracy during some parts of the picking process that are particularly vulnerable to error. Pick to Light is one picking solution that has helped to improve picking accuracy to just over 99% in many warehouses. There are many benefits to integrating a Pick to Light system, including the fact that it simply makes employees’ jobs simpler and easier. It works like this:
- The system highlights which storage container to pick from next
- The number of items to pick is clearly stated
- The operative places the correct item in the correct order bin
- The correct pick is confirmed by the operative
Systems like this improve both speed and accuracy, increasing productivity as well as helping to reduce the cost that can result from picking errors. They support smarter and more efficient operations that are run on a zero error basis and which deliver a better experience, both for customers and also for staff.