Part one – The cornerstone of operational success
The year of eCommerce - 2020 was unlike any for most businesses. Those in distribution and warehousing found themselves at the center of a world that seemingly shifted overnight, from traditional B2B models to eCommerce and omnichannel. Businesses built on large orders shipped to customer distribution centers suddenly found themselves needing to fulfill hundreds or thousands of orders every day due to shifting eCommerce profiles.
Many companies were caught flat-footed, unable to keep up with orders and meet customer expectations. Operational processes did not fit the new eCommerce world, labor pools struggled to keep pace, and technology constraints proved costly. The new demands on warehouses and distribution centers led to an increase in errors, escalation of operational costs not to mention dissatisfied customers.
To meet these new demands, companies realized they needed to change. One option, and often the most immediate was to throw more resources and labor at the problem. While this may have bought them time, seldom did it prove a long-term, sustainable solution.
The other option, that could position companies to meet short term needs and long-term goals, was to modernize and take advantage of supply chain technologies. The right technology and processes can transform operations into a competitive advantage and take a company to the next level of productivity, cost reduction, business intelligence and more importantly, be prepared to meet new and unforeseen challenges.
Success in eCommerce
The key to a successful eCommerce operation is that all parts of the warehouse are working in concert with each other. Each part of the operation knows its purpose, processes, and goals for the day:
• Receiving operations must run efficiently to prevent back orders.
• Replenishment teams must be fully integrated to ensure ordered products are available at the right locations.
• Fulfillment/Picking must rapidly pick the right products in the right order, while utilizing the most efficient packaging and modes of transportation to meet customer service levels.
• Shipping must select the most cost-efficient rate and carrier while selecting and packing the order in the correct packaging.
While this list might seem over simplified, multiple processes, communications and tasks must be tracked and measured for supply chain success. The complexity of shipping requirements, unique customer requests and vendor requirements all but eliminates paper-based processes in the warehouse.
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) as the Cornerstone
To bring all the parts of your warehouse operations together, a warehouse management system (WMS) is critical and the cornerstone for success. The WMS is the brain and the nervous system that unites and drives a modern eCommerce operation. The WMS can streamline overall management of a warehouse operation including receiving, picking, packing, inventory management, shipping management and real-time data.
By deploying a WMS, a company gains significant opportunities to improve operations, gain control of their inventory, realize significant efficiencies in productivity and labor utilization and create advantages over their competition. The challenges the eCommerce world presents continue to grow and change. By taking the steps to create digital processes that can measure and adjust to market changes and customer demands your business is set-up for eCommerce success and growth.
The FASCOR WMS gives companies a comprehensive solution to running their warehouses including:
• Inbound Receiving
• Inventory Management
• Manufacturing & Kitting
• Outbound Order Fulfillment
• Shipping & Transportation
• Visibility & Reporting
Together these parts work in concert to manage resources, schedule, and measure labor productivity to meet your operational goals and objectives.
Next blog post – eCommerce Success Factors
Want to connect? Schedule a no obligation 30 minute demo with our FASCOR team and learn how we can help you take the next step in supply chain excellence.