When we think about quality control, we most often think of the process of manufacturing goods. However, in a warehouse environment, quality control actually refers to the quality of the orders you are shipping out. Since order fulfillment is your service, you need to guarantee the quality of those orders before they go out the door. Fortunately, adding quality control can actually have a positive impact on your warehouse efficiency.Stopping Defective Items at the Door
Whether it's a damaged item or an item that has been improperly packaged, your quality control team is responsible for stopping these items before they reach the customer. In most cases, unless the defect is very obvious, your picking team doesn't have time to stop and inspect the items they are pulling. It's up to your QC team to identify red flags and make sure that customers don't receive those items. This often means re-picking a particular item to fill the order if something needs to be thrown out. In reality, only a small fraction of your orders will have defects, so your QC team should be able to work quickly and effectively without disrupting workflow on the front-end.
Naturally, your QC team will also be looking for accuracy of orders going out. If they notice a trend of wrong items coming from a particular picker, they can address the source of the problem directly. Again, a small number of orders should have inaccuracies, but catching them now will keep your customers happy day in and day out.
As a benefit of your quality control systems, your warehouse will see significantly fewer returns coming in through your doors. Whether they result from defective items or accuracy errors, it is the returns that are usually most troublesome to your work flow. Processing returns can be a burden to warehouse efficiency because it requires additional resources with no additional profit. Every time you take an item back into your warehouse, you have to put it away again, while still sending money out the door to the customer, who may decide that this negative experience was enough to drive them away for good. In this area alone, it's easy to see that the opportunity cost of not having a quality control team is far greater than the cost of having one in place.
Adding even a small quality control effort can do wonders for your warehouse efficiency as a whole. It can help reduce the number of damaged items in your warehouse and can isolate accuracy problems before they reach the customer. Implementing a quality control team often also has incredible effects on the number of returns you are seeing day to day.