In fulfilling orders the difference between picking an order manually and scanning the same order via a computer system is huge and should never be taken for granted. The error rate between using your eyes to check that an item in your hand is the same as an item on the page is much much higher than letting a computer do the work. Even though fulfillment companies do their best to accurately pick, pack and ship their client's orders via a manual process it is still to everyone's benefit to ensure that products are bar coded and scanned out of inventory.
At ProPack was have traditionally picked orders manually. Over the past 20 years we've developed manual double-check systems to ensure that the correct product is placed in the correct box. This entails having one person (the picker) pick the orders into a box or bin and another person (the packer) double-check that the items are correct. This takes extra time and resources as well as slows down our response time for getting orders out the door for out clients.
Six years ago we began developing custom software to facilitate scanning orders whose items all contain bar codes (or UPC Codes). This quickly improved our own performance by removing the need to have a second person double-check the order. We made a rule that the picker remove the items from the shelf one at a time and scan each in midair before placing the item in the box. The scanning system would notify the picker if the item was incorrect. This improved our accuracy from around 97% to 99.9%.
In addition, since our software was custom-built we've been able to enhance the system to allow for the scanning of lot numbers and locations. Lot numbers are assigned to food products and are allocated to orders in a First-In-First-Out (FIFO) fashion. Getting the correct lot number in the right order is as important as getting the correct item. Locations allow us to electronically manage the physical layout of our client's inventory and quickly locate and pick their product. By added both these elements to our scanning process we ensure that the exact right product is picked from the correct location 100% of the time.
Scanning benefits fulfillment warehouses, clients and customers. At ProPack we're more efficient (and thus more profitable) by using scanning. Our clients are ensured of accurate inventory, quick order processing and minimal customer service issues. Finally, the end customer receives their package quickly and with right items included.
Scanning is a win-win for all parties involved and at ProPack we continue to use our custom technology to implement scanning into all areas of our operation.
For more information please visit our website at www.propack.com.