Internet sales and e-commerce are dramatically changing the face of warehouse management. Even if you are a small or medium-size business, the Internet can fundamentally change everything in the supply chain from picking, packing, and shipping.
E-commerce warehouse management can be challenging.
Are you ready for the challenges e-commerce has brought or may bring to your business? Here are a few things you will need to consider.
- Fulfillment will move from large volume to small volume or single item orders. The traditional method of fulfillment from receiving, putaway, packing, and shipping doesn’t work very well for on-line ordering. Rather than having weekly or bi-weekly order fulfillment, you may need to turn orders around in 24 to 48 hours. Every step must be handled efficiently, consistently, and cost-effectively to meet customer expectations.
- Much higher returns (in some cases up to 22%) means that an efficient returns process is crucial. This may require a dedicated space in the warehouse for handling returns.
- Integrated ordering and tracking is necessary. The ability to monitor individual SKU’s as they are stored and moved through the facility may be needed and seamless integration with your ERP is critical. Automation will enable more accurate orders, lower labor costs, fewer returns and saved space. Automated picking options provide the most cost savings as they streamline throughput.
- Because demand can change quickly, you will need to implement technology that can adapt to your needs. You’ll require scalable automation that can be adapted as your needs increase or decrease and the flexibility to use the technology in any location.
- Accurate inventory data are essential to ensure the customer gets the right item in the expected time. Integration with your ERP for real-time, accurate inventory and order visibility is critical.
- EDI capabilities are often required. To learn more, read our recent blog, 5 Must-Haves for Advanced EDI and Sage 100 Barcoding Technology.
Scanco has a team of certified consultants who can advise you on the ideal warehouse management hardware and software for your business. Contact us to review your current distribution processes.