Last week we discussed some of the advantages brought to the table by employing Best Business Practices. Today we will move to Part 2, Picking the Right Item. Over the years we have harped on getting the catch weights right, but as we will see today that is only one component of our best business practices. Eliminating runbacks and keeping your customers satisfied are critical to your business.

Primer: Best Business Practices, Part 2

Last week we talked about producing a pick ticket for the picker.  The purpose of the picking process is to accurately pick the line items listed on a pick ticket in a timely fashion. Our initial goal is a 99% picking accuracy.  Most customers can reach this goal just by automating their inventory documents (receivers, pick tickets, and invoices).

In order to reach our first stage 99% accuracy goal we need to look at the inventory process as a chain of distinct transactions, each with a 'supplier' and a 'customer'.  Delivering properly to these internal customers has a dramatic impact on delivering to the 'real' customer.  The majority of our clients have three distinct links in their internal supply chain.

  1. The Receiver: The first link of your internal supply chain.  The receiver is your purchasing department's customer and is receiving delivery from your vendor (or your production area).  He must check the accuracy of the PO and put the items away in the correct slot. Having a proper receiving document can assist this first customer in the chain.

  2. The Picker:  The Picker is the Receiver's customer.  They rely on the delivery of items to the correct slot location.  The picker then needs a document clearly printed with the right product, quantity, unit of measure, and location for the item.  Below are the statistics of what can go wrong in picking and its effect on order accuracy. Study the items picked incorrectly to determine the cause and attack the problem.

  3. The Packer (sometimes called the Loader): The Packer is the Picker's customer.  They rely on the picker having pulled the correct product and reported the weights and quantities correctly for invoicing.  The loader requires a printed copy of the filled order, normally in the form of an invoice, bill of lading, or weight verification sheet.  This is the final 'internal' customer so treat them with all the care you would your external customer, because if you deliver wrong to your Packer, you'll deliver wrong to your 'real' customer.

With the steps above most clients can achieve a 99% picking accuracy, but one mistake in one-hundred orders has room for improvement.  Automating the tasks of the Receiver, Picker and Packer allows clients to move beyond the 99% accuracy threshold.  About one third of our customers use one or both of the following methods to automate their internal supply chain:

RF Handheld Scanner

Provides automation for Receiver, Picker and Packer with a handheld device that can move through the warehouse.  The built in scanner verifies the barcode on the product, automatically counts quantities, and can confirm warehouse slot locations.


Check-out Scanner

A check-out style scanner brings automation to your Receiver and Packer.  This fixed point installation gives you the convenience and speed of a grocery store style check-out in your warehouse. Barcode scanning confirms the product, quantities, and captures weights saving your operating costs.






Issue 631 - Turn and Earn, we need a reminder.

Being that a lot of vacations are happening right now I thought it would be a good time to re-publish our turn and earn issue that we did back in 2005. Although it's an older News Letter it's one that shows you how good your inventory is doing from a profitability standpoint.

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