In an effort to save time and get orders to customers as quickly as possibly, some companies resort to using a process commonly called pick and pack. What this is involves is instead of completely unloading merchandise from a truck or pallet, they “pick” those items that are needed for reshipment, repackage them, and affix a new shipping label to the order.
By using the pick and pack method of packaging, the shipper does not have to completely unload everything and spend time to reload and completely package it. While they still need to take the time to repackage the products and affix a shipping label, using the pick and pack method prevents them from having to take extra time sorting, storing, and then taking them down in order to ship those products to the customers.
How does pick and pack fulfillment affect inventory? It depends whether you are using automated inventory management. In that case you may wish to scan the inventory as it arrives and then scan anything that is going out. While you could also save time by scanning only what is remaining after the pick and pack process is complete, you would not be showing the complete and accurate summation of the shipping and receiving process. Even when you go to a store to make an even exchange, in most cases they will scan what you are returning and then scan the new product even if they are exactly the same just so their inventory shows a return–this is especially important if the return is because the product is damaged and cannot be resold.
The pick and pack method has been used as a part of logistics management for a long time, but it has only recently become more popular as a time saver. With the advent of automated inventory management, using pick and pack to ship materials that have just come into inventory is an easier process. There is no longer a need to hand count products that come in on a pallet before using the pick and pack process to reship them. Worse yet, in the past many companies didn’t even take the time to count new merchandise into inventory before reshipping but just counted what was remaining after the pick and pack process was complete. The problem with this method is if a customer says they did not receive a shipment, you have no way to prove if it ever arrived at your location from your supplier.