Industry Insights, Productivity
Human Error in Warehousing: A Deeper Dive

Human Error in Warehousing: A Deeper Dive

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A well-optimised process flow in a warehouse is not only financially prudent but also highly influential in boosting productivity and efficiency. Every aspect of the put, pick, and pack process is crucial, as it directly impacts long-term stock, turnaround time, and overall customer satisfaction. However, it’s important to note that these processes heavily rely on human fulfilment of their respective roles, and unfortunately humans are prone to errors.

When we talk about human error in warehousing, it’s not just as simple as an employee picking the wrong item. It actually goes beyond that. It involves a whole spectrum of mistakes, ranging from errors in data entry and mislabelling items to mishandling goods or even using the wrong procedures. These are all important aspects that need to be addressed and mitigated to ensure the smooth flow of operations in the warehouse.

The Human Side of Errors

Every error has a human story behind it, reflecting the intricacies of real-life situations. It could be an exhausted employee, straining their eyes to decipher a faded label amidst the hustle and bustle of their work. Perhaps it’s a dedicated worker, heroically juggling multiple tasks, inadvertently overlooking a crucial step in the process. Or maybe it’s a fresh-faced recruit, still acquainting themselves with the labyrinthine layout of the warehouse, unaware of the optimal workflow. Despite their seemingly insignificant nature, each error possesses the potential to disrupt the seamless flow of operations and erode trust among team members. It is in recognizing and addressing these individual stories that we can create a culture of understanding, empathy, and continual improvement.

The Hidden Costs of Human Error

Frustrated customers, who eagerly anticipate receiving their desired products, and overwhelmed employees, who strive to meet customer demands, face significant challenges when faced with out-of-stock items and discrepancies in inventory management. These hindrances not only result in a sense of exhaustion and fatigue among employees but also lead to delayed deliveries and adversely impact customer relationships. Consequently, these factors not only disrupt the smooth operations of the business but also have a far-reaching impact on various aspects of daily life, affecting productivity, customer satisfaction, and overall business performance.

Let’s dig deeper into the cost associated with these human errors:

  • Lost Sales: An item picked incorrectly might lead to a delayed or cancelled order. Over time, this can harm the company’s reputation, leading to lost customers and reduced sales.
  • Increased Labour Costs: Correcting mistakes requires time. Whether it’s returning a mispicked item, re-entering data, or repackaging goods, the labour costs add up.
  • Wasted Resources: Incorrectly handled or stored items might become damaged, leading to waste. There’s also the cost of resources spent on retraining or corrective actions.
  • Return and Re-shipping Costs: Shipping the wrong item means bearing the cost of returns and then the expense of shipping the correct item.
  • Opportunity Costs: Time spent correcting errors is time that could have been spent on proactive measures, like training, process improvement, or customer engagement.
  • Reduced Morale: Constant errors can lead to a decline in employee morale. Workers might feel less confident in their roles, leading to decreased productivity and even higher error rates.

Stats & Figures

Human errors, unfortunately, play a substantial role in process deviations observed in industries that have well-defined procedures, including the realm of warehousing. These deviations, when examined closely, reveal that picking errors by themselves can bring about financial implications per occurrence. Hence, it is not surprising to discover that companies allocate large proportions of their operational budget towards effectively tackling and rectifying these all too common human errors.

Human errors account for about 80% of process deviations in industries where procedures are well-defined, like warehousing.

The average cost of a picking error ranges from $20 to $60, which, when multiplied by the frequency of errors, becomes substantial.

Research suggests that businesses spend, on average, 20% of their operational budget addressing and rectifying human errors.

Mitigating Human Error:

Modern warehousing solutions, like rugged handheld scanners and wearable gloves with embedded tech, can significantly reduce human error. By automating data entry, simplifying the picking process, and providing workers with tools that are intuitive and efficient, businesses can combat the hidden costs associated with mistakes.

Conker Rugged Devices offer sturdy, dependable, and efficient solutions designed to streamline and optimise your warehouse and inventory touch points. These devices are purpose-built to withstand even the toughest conditions, ensuring sustained performance and durability. With their instant scanning capabilities, Conker Rugged Devices enable swift operations, while their precision scanning functionality minimises errors, enhancing accuracy and productivity. Experience the power of Conker in elevating your warehouse and inventory management to new heights.

Benefit Stats & Facts
Reduced Picking Times Can improve efficiency by up to 50%.
Enhanced Worker Safety Wearables can reduce workplace injuries by up to 40%.
Improved Inventory Management Accurate tracking can reduce stock outs by up to 60%.

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Human error in warehousing, although unavoidable, can be effectively managed and minimised. The first crucial step in this process is to recognize the hidden costs that are associated with these errors. By implementing advanced technology solutions and emphasising continuous training and process improvement, warehouses can operate with heightened efficiency and profitability levels. This proactive approach ensures that errors are mitigated, leading to smoother operations and greater success in the long run.


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Anthony Nicholson

Anthony Nicholson

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