Offering your customers high quality service is the best way to win their hearts, but can cause financial losses if poorly managed. So it is crucial to realize what major mistakes retailers make while processing orders for their customers, and how to successfully avoid them.
No matter how you look at it, mis-picks are a significant and costly customer service issue. Each mis-pick results in a retailer not delivering the products needed to satisfy its customers’ shopping needs , and each one has to be sent back at your own expense. Ecommerce businesses are invariably looking to reduce the number of customer service inquiries that are being made, but warehouse mis-picks and quantity errors due to human error hampering these efforts. Considering the care and energy you put into your products, why compromise them with poor shipment policy – especially since these issues can so easily be prevented by use of an inventory system?
With an inventory management system, online retail businesses stay competitive by controlling their inventory effectively – and utilizing a barcode system to pick can increase picking accuracy to 99.99%. We at the SkuVault blog obviously are the most familiar with our own product, SkuVault, so we’ll use that as an example of how, precisely, picking, shipping, and quantity errors can be prevented. SkuVault utilizes barcode scanners in conjunction with product and location barcode labels; this offers total visibility of inventory availability ensuring real-time accurate ‘available to sell’ levels are published on your various online channels, resulting in reduction of out of stocks, undersells, mis-picks and mis-ships. It provides a mechanism to enhance your order fulfillment process by significantly reducing quantity errors associated with human slip-ups in your warehouse – displaying a photo of the item to be shipped out, and producing an obnoxious error sound when an incorrect SKU is scanned are just two ways that our inventory management system helps to prevent human error. With full user and history support, you can also glean insights into who is under (and over!) performing in your warehouse. SkuVault’s quality control station integrated with barcode scanners allows you to pick, pack and ship packages more efficiently by completely automating the fulfillment and logistics processes.
Even without an inventory management system, the impetus should be on having a structured order fulfillment process. Everyone in the warehouse should follow exactly the same steps. This allows you to move staff and train new employees much more easily, and also helps to identify the source of errors for correction. This all starts with having a baseline for measurement and improvement. Establish quality goals and standards and measure them on an ongoing basis. Measure your overall quality and performance for the entire workflow. Review your fulfillment process at least every six months and ask your employees about areas they find challenging and ask them how to improve. In warehouses that are performing picking using paper pick sheets, it is customary to see a series of quality check procedures designed into the warehouse picking process. This usually involves one set of warehouse operators picking customer orders and placing them in a dispatch location, along with the pick list. A different person is then required to double-check that the right items have been picked. This person is often the packer and acts as an insurance against human error on the part of the picker.
Too many shipping methods will create complications and leave room for errors, but more importantly, they will severely complicate matters when you have to account for express and international shipping. In the long run, it’s best to opt for the simpler solution. As a rule, definitely avoid using more than four shipping methods, and try to avoid using more than three. As natural as it is to focus on the products you ship to customers, don’t forget about all those shipments suppliers send to you. Without taking control of your total supply chain, you’re leaving opportunities on the table. The structural integrity of a box breaks down by 50 percent after a single shipment, making it less able to protect what’s inside. As a rule, use new boxes with at least 2 inches of cushion against every side. But a lot depends on the size, weight and fragility of the item to be shipped.