There are a lot of things that need to go right in order to deliver a package from your fulfillment center to your customer. Whenever a process has multiple steps, there’s room for error. One common, costly mistake that takes place during order fulfillment is mispicks. Stick around to learn exactly what mispicks are, why they happen, their impact on your bottom line, and how you can avoid them.

What is a mispick in the pick and pack process?

A mispick is when a packer in your warehouse or fulfillment center fails to pick products precisely as listed on a picking document or as instructed by warehouse management software. 

For more context, a mispick happens during the pick and pack process. Pick and pack is a type of order fulfillment method that involves selecting (or "picking") the right kind and amount of items from warehouse shelves and packaging (or "packing") them for shipping. When this doesn’t occur, it’s referred to as a mispick.

A single mispick won’t break the bank, but recurring inefficiency and inconsistent attention to detail will certainly add up. Whether you’re a growing business where every dollar counts or an established behemoth, no one likes to lose money to mistakes.


What are the common types of mispicks?

When it comes to mispicks, there are a few different types that can occur:

  • Omitting an item from an order
  • Including the wrong item in an order
  • Picking the incorrect quantity of items
  • Picking damaged items

Essentially, whenever an order is packed in such a way that is inaccurate to what the customer wanted, it’s considered a mispick. 

While all four errors may seem simple to avoid, it happens more often than you might think. After all, warehouses are busy places, with employees navigating from bin to bin and picking items, all while heavy machines simultaneously move large pallets of products throughout the warehouse. Any distraction is an opportunity for a mispick.

While preventing the occasional accidental damage to items is a more challenging task (accidents happen), the other three types of mispicks can more or less be eliminated through increased warehouse management and resource planning systems.


What is the cost of a mispick?

The cost of a mispick can vary. It really depends on the type of mispick that occurs, when it’s caught, and your process for resolving the issue. 

We should be clear, the cost of a mispick includes more than solely the cost of the item. To truly understand how much a mispick is affecting your bottom line, you’ll need to consider all the expenses associated with shipping the item back (if your customer even does), processing it upon receipt, returning it to stock, and the potential loss of customer satisfaction. Further, time is lost in correcting the mistake by picking, packing, and shipping the correct product to the customer. 

All of these numbers are variable, as labor and shipping costs vary from region to region but the old adage runs true: time is money. Every minute your warehouse (or contracted 3PL) employees spend fixing mistakes is another dollar off the bottom line.


How to reduce your mispick rates

In order to achieve the highest degree of picking accuracy, thus reducing mispicks, it’s wise to implement inventory management software with an automated storage and retrieval system—enabling smart functionality like inventory monitoring. Not only will this smart software keep track of the contents stored, the software will also integrate with your warehouse management system and enterprise resource planning systems if you have them. 

This function allows operations managers to closely monitor stock levels in real time. In a perfect world, this would eliminate physical counts, reduce human error, and result in better inventory control. 

If you’re an Airhouse customer, you enjoy the benefit of an all-in-one fulfillment system with operations and data management features built intuitively within. Log into one platform to manage all of your fulfillment needs across B2C and B2B—accessing real-time insight into the status of every order, return, and piece of inventory in the warehouse. This level of oversight is something we strive for at Airouse so you’re never left wondering what’s going right, wrong, or anything in between.

“Airhouse’s fulfillment turnaround time always outperforms our expectations. It feels like magic.”
Michael Huffstetler
Founder and CEO of Bask

What happens if a mispick isn’t discovered before it ships?

In theory, this is the worst-case scenario. If a mispick isn’t flagged before leaving the warehouse, it’s not going to get caught until it’s received by the customer. Here are a few mispick situations that may arise:

  • Over-picked: if the package was delivered with more items than expected, it’s on the customer to flag this and return the item. More than likely, this can be chalked up to product loss, resulting in dollars shaved off the bottom line. 
  • Under-picked: if not enough items were delivered in the package, you will need to ship the missing product in a new delivery—resulting in more shipping costs that could have been prevented. 
  • Wrong items were sent: if the wrong items are sent, you will have to send the correct items in a new shipment—incurring more shipping costs like in the case of an under-pick. Even worse, you could request the wrong items are returned, but this will incur additional shipping costs and labor costs for restocking the item.



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