A large quota of returns and low repeat-purchasing rates may well be the result of substandard performance in logistics. This is where efficient quality management can be of assistance. In this post, we will explain the basic principles and strategies that can improve your quality management.
How to establish an efficient quality management system for logistics
The basis for smooth process optimisation is the systematic recording of quality defects. In the logistics of an online shop, as well as in the traditional mail order business, many errors frequently occur. It is therefore advisable to review the quality of in-house logistics to avoid some of the following:
- Packing errors: an order is filled with the wrong items or items are missing from customer orders
- Lack system failure notifications: the employee in the consignment department notices that an item is on the wrong storage shelf, but fails to report this
- Improper handling of goods: goods can be damaged during storage, consignment or packaging
- Storage errors: the classic error – the item is placed on the wrong storage shelf
- Incorrect packaging: increased risk of damage during transport
- Inventory discrepancies
Quality management starts with the employees
This small list of errors shows that quality defects can actually originate within the company itself. The purpose of quality management is primarily to raise awareness of employees in storage and dispatch for such errors and to ensure that these errors are avoided through proper conduct in the workplace.
For example, returns due to incomplete or incorrect shipments are significantly increasing. In order to establish a causal link between returns and consignment – quality information, which can be gathered from returns, needs to be entered into the shop’s information loop.
Long-term reduction of the number of picking errors can be achieved, for example, by adding an order-related monitoring element to the pick slip. Each employee in the consignment department confirms that he has put together the order as specified. If digital pick lists are used, the monitoring process can be confirmed using the handheld scanner. If paper is used, the employee signs this with his initials.
Personnel management is every bit as important as the optimisation of organisational processes. In his standard reference work “Mail order business management”, Dr Jan Thieme, mail order business expert, places particular value on the following observation:
“Besides feasible measures for registering and monitoring quality, which are prerequisites of quality management, the instruments of personnel management and motivation also come to the fore.”
In order to firmly anchor the topic of quality improvement in the minds of the employees, it is advisable to:
- Create quality awareness, by ensuring that it is always a constant topic in personnel management
- Provide positive reinforcement through praise and acknowledgement
- Include the employees in the quality improvement process, as they are in certain cases more familiar with and better able to evaluate the detailed workflows of the operational processes