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Whenever you sell something, whether it’s an old bike, a used car or even a house you want to highlight all the positive aspects of that item. It’s not so much as lying about faults but not making them your headline. You’ll never hear a used car salesmen proudly proclaim, “You’ll be lucky if you make it home in this wreck.” It all comes down to asserting a positive image of what you’re selling.
The same holds true for a fulfillment center when they discuss their qualifications. They’re going to make sure to assert their high standards of quality and excellence. Achieving high marks for accuracy during the fulfillment pick and pack processing is easy to asses: exactly how many orders did they get right? That number is reflected in the amount of returns for damage or mislabeled packages. In order to achieve high marks in accuracy there are a lot of steps along the way that need to be managed.
Quality control in a fulfillment operation begins with inspecting the inventory as it arrives at the warehouse facility. If those goods are damaged they certainly can’t be sent out to the customers. Proper shelf placement is also a key factory in quality control. This is all about the accessibility of inventory items for those working on the pick and pack front line. If the biggest selling item in a client’s product line is placed out of reach forcing a scissor lift for every retrieval then that’s not efficient stocking. Improper placement of stock can cause a drag on the entire fulfillment operation. There also has to be implementation procedures in place for notify the workers where new items are being stocked. In a 1,000,000 foot square warehouse it can be very easy to “lose” a shipment if it’s not maintained.
A properly performing warehouse management system can also improve the accuracy of fulfillment. With a thorough accounting program in place, you can instantly access the level of inventory stock. More importantly, you should be able to track the progress of any order as it makes its way down the pick and pack chain. Periodic spot check inspections can isolate a package anywhere in that line to insure that the merchandise is being handled according to company policy. This will mean making sure the items will be protected during transit and the billing labels match the order numbers.
Accuracy also plays a role in differentiating between the specific shipping requirements of the packages. This could mean separating the priority shipments from the standard 3 day shipments. If a customer pays for overnight guaranteed shipping then that’s exactly what has to be delivered!
A fulfillment center knows what a standard work day will look like when it comes to the amount of orders it can process. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be changes in what is considered “standard.” This could mean an overnight increase in a specific order thanks to the mention on a TV talk show or airing of a commercial. Fulfillment supervisors need to be standing by with the right amount of staff to handle that influx of orders. When you add up all those factors, then you’ll truly be able to get clear picture of fulfillment accuracy.