The picking and packing of e-commerce orders can be repetitive, mistake-prone work. But a well-designed workflow, using complementary software, can help reduce mistakes, provided that it supports the employees doing the work — not frustrate or hinder them.
This article will explain how to design a picking and packing process to reduce errors.
Designing the Work Flow
One of the most effective methods of eliminating errors is the Japanese idea of “poka-yoke,” which involves designing workflows to eliminate errors — not relying on the operator to do it. An example is the three-pin electrical plug. It could have been designed with three symmetrical pins in a circle, or three pins in a straight line. But both require thought and care to plug-in correctly. The actual design uses three non-identical pins arranged in such a way it is impossible to get wrong. It requires no thought to use.
We use this principle in our fulfillment centers by bar coding all our storage locations. Our software won’t let an operator continue with a pick until he or she has scanned the correct location, forcing the operator to be in the right place before receiving the product details.