The final part of this four-part article discusses how improved picking systems can make it easier to on-board a new warehouse employee.

If distributors experience high turnover among their warehouse staffs, converting to a bar-coded warehouse will speed up the on-boarding process of new employees.

Too often, veteran workers are using institutional knowledge when filling orders, truncating location and production descriptions rather than using plain English on the picking tickets. The instructions are then understandable to only experienced pickers.

“So it becomes this abbreviated nonsense. Not only does the person not know what they are looking for physically, they can’t read very well what the document is telling them to do,” says Bader. “There are all kinds of problems with it.”

As a result, the training time in a non-bar-coded warehouse is typically longer and more intense than in an environment that uses scanner guns or other technology, because the new picker will need to learn all of the intricacies of the warehouse’s organization, process and language.

“You can get a brand new person up within 30 minutes to an hour,” Bader says of training in a scanner gun environment. “They can be picking at a 100 percent degree of accuracy within one hour, and that’s a huge save on the learning curve.”

Brendan O’Brien is a freelance writer based in Greenfield, Wisconsin.