What is Pick and Pack?

Pick and Pack is one of the most important steps of the order fulfilment process.

It looks like a simple activity: picking the items of an order in the warehouse and packing them up to be dispatched. However, you can imagine the consequences of an incorrect pick or a package that doesn’t protect its content.

This is why we’ll explain in detail what is Pick and Pack.

A quick recap

Before explaining Pick and Pack, let’s remember the main steps of the fulfilment process:

⇒ Receiving and storing the products (usually in a warehouse)
⇒ When customer orders, pick and pack the selected products
⇒ Labelling the order for shipment
⇒ Shipping the package with a carrier
⇒ Managing returns and protection

Pick and Pack

The pick and pack step usually starts after the customer places an order.

The fulfilment provider receives a notification of this order via integration with marketplaces and eCommerce systems.

The timing of the start of the process depends on the delivery time. When the customer requests a quick delivery, the pick and pack process must start as soon as possible. If the goal is to have a cheaper process, a batch of orders can be processed to save resources.

In summary, Pick and Pack means to collect (pick ) the order item(s) in the warehouse storage and to pack them in a bag, envelope or box to be dispatched.

An order may have a single item or multiple items.

Picking

A good fulfilment provider will store the goods using letters and numbers to map where the goods are stored in the warehouse.

A warehouse usually has rows, which are split into shelves, which are split into specific items. For instance, “A3 2352” could represent row “A”, shelf “3”, item “2352”.

With a code like this, the picker must find and collect the item.

You can learn more about our unique fulfilment model here and discover why our Pick and Pack process is so efficient.

Packing

The item(s) of an order must be packed with care to be dispatched. As the size of the package might influence the shipping cost, it’s a task for the packer to find the correct size of the packaging.

Another task is to find the best content protection: loose fill, paper voidfill, cardboard, bubble wrap, air bag cushioning, paper fill.

The next steps: dispatch and delivery

Following the Pick and Pack Services, the delivery process begins.

What does 99.9% picking accuracy mean for eCommerce sellers?

Achieving a 99.9% picking accuracy in the fulfilment process means correctly pick and pack items for customer orders, ensuring every customer receives the exact item they ordered.

What is a mis-pick?

When an order is picked incorrectly this is referred to as a ‘mis-pick’. It can be as simple as the wrong colour or size being selected for the correct item, or the wrong item being selected all together.

The common causes for these errors are:

1. Human error – due to lack of attention, stress, misreading labels, confusing naming conventions, similar looking SKUs, manual data entry errors.

2. Communication breakdowns – due to lack of training for new staff, language barriers, changing procedures or layouts, unclear item descriptions, missing information.

3. Poor inventory management – disorganised storage, overcrowding, stockouts and messy warehouses can all impact the final picking process.

4. Technology and system errors – discrepancies between digital and physical inventory, malfunctioning barcode scanners, poorly printed or damaged barcodes and labels.

5. Order complexities – personalisation, item kitting, similar SKUs or even large multi-pick orders can cause issues for pickers.

What are the consequences of a mis-pick?

When errors of any kind occur, the trust built up between the organisation and their customers is damaged. When a consumer is inconvenienced by a mis-pick they may start to see the merchant as unreliable with poor service quality which could drive them to your competitors, damaging your reputation and growth. If your brand has a strong customer community rumour of the issues can spread quickly and even put off potential new customers. The same can be said for the fulfilment partner onboarding new merchants.

Cost & Time

The first impact is the customer service time. There are also packaging materials wasted. Shipping costs might include (deliver, return and a new delivery). There are also the labour costs to correct the mistake. In addition to these, there is also the added impact on the new orders coming in that may be delayed while staff correct the mistakes.

When inventory is tied up in errors and mis-picks it can’t be turned into cash revenue for the business. This might not seem like a huge problem if you have one or two mis-picks but if significant errors occur and you are facing hundreds or thousands of mis-picks each year with products that have a high turnover rate you could be facing significant issues.

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