About 15 years ago, I changed industries from healthcare to logistics. As I am an IT professional, you might think it was a jump from an antiquated, paper-based world to a high-speed, technologically advanced one. Actually, I’ve been surprised at the extent to which the exchange of supply chain data in the logistics world remains old-school or simply manual.
Manual Data Processing Inefficiency
These days, the Amazons and Walmarts are setting the new standard for speed and accuracy in distribution. So I am puzzled as to why a large portion of companies, including even larger manufacturers, continue to relay orders to their 3PLs manually. That requires customer service representatives to re-key the order data into the system to manage the pick and ship process. In addition to adding labor costs, this approach invites errors.
According to Purchase Order Management Best Practices, typical error rates for manual data entry are about one error for every 300 keystrokes. For Amazon, the maximum length of an SKU identifier that can be sent is 40 alphanumeric characters (are you starting to do the math on error potential?).