Picking and packing is an area in most plants where automation has taken over. The barcoding systems,
conveyors and other machinery work together to ensure that orders are filled and shipped accurately
and on-time. However, many companies are still not using the their automated pick and pack systems
to the fullest of the system’s potential. In fact, the many errors that companies experience can be
avoided. Here are three common pick and pack errors that plants can avoid with the proper use of their
automation resources.

Misshipments

One of the best-known pick and pack errors are the misshipments. These are the wrong orders sent to
the wrong addresses that often result in a high level of returns. Miss-shipments occur when the pick
and pack automation system is fed the wrong information, when orders are improperly checked and
when packaged orders are mislabeled. To combat misshipments, plants should set up a system of order
checking that also has a means of verifying the checked orders. Order checking is the most important
defense against misshipment. The packer doing the final check on the order often does so manually.
However, an automated system that produces an accurate checklist can solve this simple problem
before it becomes an expensive error.

Bad Inventory Counts

When items are picked, the pickers are supposed to log the inventory as being packaged and shipped.
The company has already recorded the sale of the item, but that is not enough. Until the inventory
notation is made, the item is still in the system as being present, unsold. This can skew the final
inventory numbers. To prevent the mistake, a barcoding system, using hand-held equipment is the key
to correcting this error. Handheld scanners used by pickers whenever they take an item for a shipment.
Actually, barcoding systems are not new to the pick and pack, but they are often underutilized. Using
them properly is the best way to combat bad inventory counts.

Misuse of Technology

The barcoding, conveyor sorting and automated packing machinery is best used to make the pick and
pack sector of the plant the most efficient that it can be. However, when these tools are misused, they
can make simple errors costly ones. Barcoding systems, for example, work only when the barcodes
are scanned, and quantities input properly, each time an item is picked. Miss a scan and the inventory
numbers are incorrect. A proper review or inspection of the shipping sector should root out improper
use.

The seemingly simple errors in shipping product can quickly escalate to expensive shipping problems
if left unresolved. Companies should evaluate their shipping sectors to get rid of these and other errors
that threaten to derail the efficiency required of a successful shipping department.

Eagle Technologies Group is an industry leader in the design and implementation of factory automation systems worldwide.