Warehouse tip: How to stop mispicks in eCommerce

Mispicks are an unnecessary warehouse cost for e-commerce

Mispicks cost e-commerce businesses in multiple ways. It is not enough to simply measure the number of mispicks, what e-commerce businesses should really be interested in is the total cost that results from them.

Despite mispicks increasing e-commerce operating costs, 90% of the warehouses that I see do not believe that they have a problem with mispicks.

Quality checks prevent mis-shipments NOT mispicks for eCommerce

In warehouses that are picking using paper pick sheets it is normal 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 despatch 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. This acts as an insurance against human error on the part of the picker. Quality checks can reduce the mis-shipments that result from warehouse mispicks but the checking by the packer is also prone to human error.

Using a barcode system to pick can increase picking accuracy to 99.99%. This allows warehouses to move from dedicated quality checks as part of the warehouse process to random quality checks. This speeds up the sales order cycle and allows warehouse resources to be re-allocated.


Mispicks increase customer service enquiries

E-commerce stores are constantly trying to optimise their customer service levels to maximise their sales.

At one end of the customer service spectrum their is the freephone customer service line. At the other end are the email only customer service systems.

Regardless of the way in which customer services is delivered, e-commerce businesses are invariably looking to reduce the number of customer service enquiries that are made.

Customer returns that result from warehouse mispicks and damaged items are exclusively the fault of the e-commerce store. These customer returns should be separated from customer returns that are initiated by the customer and should be recorded and bench-marked separately.

A warehouse mispick benchmark to aim towards is 1 mispick (picking the wrong item) in every 10,000.


Mispicks waste money on delivery

Every mispick that is delivered to your customer has to be sent back at YOUR expense.

Mispicks need to be handled by the warehouse on return and processed back into stock. This has a cost associated to it, between £30 and £100 typically. There are various ways to minimise this handling cost.

If you offer your customers free delivery mispicks will be severely damaging your profit margins.


Re-picking + re-delivery = Tangible costs of a mispick

The cost of physically picking an item is doubled for a mispick.

Whether you offer free delivery or not, re-delivering a mispick to a customer is a cost that you have to bear.


Barcode system eliminates administrative burden of mispicks

Mispicks create an unnecessary administrative burden on e-commerce customer services and warehouses.

A barcode system eliminates mispicks which means customer service don’t waste time:

1. Investigating and processing mispicks

2. Advising logistics team of all mispicks

3. Maintaining spreadsheet for returns and customer credits relating to mispicks

4. Liaising with the warehouse team to resolve queries on mispicks

5. You have fewer pissed off customers that will simply shop elsewhere in future if you get it wrong

Don't make the mistakes that others are making after all the hard work you have put in to get to a great position on Google.