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The quest for the right picking method can feel never-ending, at times.

Everyone has their own idea of what the best possible picking method should be, and every warehouse has their own needs that must be met as far as picking and packing are concerned. That said, there are some telltale signs as to whether or not your particular method is working.

These signs can be hard to read at first, or may seem disconnected in ways, but the fact of the matter is there’s always something you can do to make sure you’re picking your items in a way that makes the most sense for your warehouse and your inventory.

 

How to Tell If You’re Using The Right Picking Method

 

Are you constantly encountering mispicks?

One of the most obvious and important things to check when reviewing the effectiveness of your current picking method, is to see how many mispicks you tend to encounter. There’s something of a threshold here – every warehouse will have mispicks, but the amount you encounter is the part to focus on.

Are your mispicks steadily increasing? Is a certain item consistently being mispicked? Do the mispicks typically originate from a specific area? Review these (and other, similar) issues to see if maybe your whole picking method needs a re-do.

 

Are certain shelves always producing errors?

Picking methods are a combination of the procedure you use to find the items, and the procedure you use to shelve the items. All the training in the world won’t help your staff if the items they need are constantly mis-labeled or in the wrong area. Review any wire shelving, pallet racking, or industrial shelving you use to see if the mispicks are originating from bad shelving/labeling processes – this can be a big sign that something needs to change.

 

Is your cycle time consistently high?

“Cycle time” refers to the time it takes you to get an order from the time it’s received, to the time it ships. A high cycle time is a pretty solid indicator that your picking method doesn’t fit your warehouse, as it’s constantly leading to longer product handling times. No matter how fast a shipping method your customer selects, if the item takes too long to even get to the point where it’s shippable, you’re going to start losing customers – and fast.

 

Is your order ratio skewed?

Let’s say, for instance, that you get roughly 30 orders per day on average. Obviously, not EVERY SINGLE order is going to be able to be fulfilled that day, but if you’re struggling with getting more than half of them fulfilled within the day they come in, that’s probably a sign that your picking method needs to be sped up.

After asking yourself these questions, you should have a much better idea of how your picking method is working – and what else you may need to do for it.

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