Brands need to constantly innovate and review their fulfillment methods in order to stay competitive in today’s supply chain climate.
With the busiest shopping season rapidly approaching, now is the time to evaluate your brand’s fulfillment approach and identify areas for improvement. Competitors are working hard to make this peak period go more smoothly than previous years by investing in warehouse automation technologies, adaptable storage methods, and data warehouse tools.
Here are three important tools for improving your eCommerce business’s reputation before the fourth quarter begins.
Automation in the Warehouse
Although warehouse robotics might appear to be a significant investment, even minor automation systems can increase the efficiency and accuracy of your fulfillment center.
More fulfillment centers have started to install cost-effective warehouse robots such as sorting and bagging machinery, automated label printing, and wearable technology that improves warehouse productivity.
Collaborative robots are one of the most popular and accessible forms of warehouse automation. The procedure of identifying a purchase, going to its storage area, selecting it from the shelf, and returning it to the packing station consumes a significant amount of time. Collaborative robots are used by your existing staff to complete some of these time-consuming and repetitive activities, as the name implies. These bots are designed to scale with your web store’s growth because they can accommodate any particular demands of your fulfillment center.
The use of collaborative robots is projected to rapidly increase as fulfillment centers look for more efficient ways to cut labor costs while still finding a flexible automation solution, according to Automate.org. If your warehouse layout changes, or you need to shift sites, collaborative robots can adapt alongside you.
Your employees will be able to manage the higher demand for accuracy that Q4 creates because of this new warehouse technology taking over picking, labeling, and shipping operations in fulfillment.
Smart Warehouse Storage
To compete in today’s online market, eCommerce companies are searching for methods to reduce order fulfillment time and have products delivered faster. A portion of this strategy involves examining your warehouse layout and adapting it as needed.
It may appear to be a huge job, but repurposing data to reorganize an established warehouse is worth it in the long run. Automated slotting and efficient storage procedures enable your staff to locate items more quickly, allowing them to start the shipping process sooner. For example, keeping your most popular items close to the packing stations can pay off big in the long run. Warehouse workers no longer have to go throughout the warehouse for a single product, allowing them to stay focused on ensuring that their shipments are accurate and effective.
Some new firms are turning to micro fulfillment centers as a means of keeping up with competitors like Amazon, which has fostered consumer expectations.
Traditionally, online merchants have utilized a single warehouse to handle all of their orders. In the short term, having all fulfillment from a single site may be advantageous since it helps to keep costs down. However, once Q4 arrives and demand rises dramatically, that warehouse might become clogged quickly.
Micro fulfillment centers are facilities that store, pack, and ship consumer goods to customers. To provide shippers with an edge during peak season, underused warehouses and excess retail space are rented. Micro fulfillment centers minimize the distance between distribution centers and end consumers by increasing the amount of accessible inventory space.
Modernized fulfillment services can also assist reduce delivery times by drawing on their global network of warehouses and consumer information. Launch Fulfillment, for example, operates seven North American warehouses that keep your products as close to your consumers as possible before they make an order.
After placing an order, the item’s last-mile shipping time is significantly shortened, resulting in a superior buying experience for your clients.
Reporting & Visibility Tools
The most essential equipment you can use for Q4 is something that assures you have a clear view of what’s going on inside your warehouse. A clear view of your existing inventory, order capacity, and demand on staff allows you to anticipate delays before they affect the customer, giving your brand an edge when peak season bottlenecks become a reality.
A data warehouse tool might either be a closed system with limited capabilities or an open web application that allows much more flexibility in building and maintaining your data warehouse. A quality warehouse management software, or WMS, backing up your operations is critical if you’re handling fulfillment on your own. When things get busy, you’ll be able to evaluate the rate of incoming orders, shop for the lowest carrier rates, and replenish your stock for an optimal fulfillment strategy with a dependable WMS.
If you’re outsourcing fulfillment, however, it’s critical to choose a third party that places a premium on customer visibility. Fulfillment service providers like Launch Fulfillment, which provide comprehensive warehouse reports, tracking data for each order, and customizable connections, are designed to handle shipping during peak season while keeping you informed. Based on the information you receive from your dependable fulfillment partner, you’ll be better equipped to make investment, replenishment, and development decisions with consistent assistance from fulfillment professionals.
Over the last several years, the growth of internet shopping in Q4 has taken supply chain management by surprise. Warehousing employees and shipping lane congestion were new problems for eCommerce businesses attempting to stay competitive during the most crucial period of the year.
Implementing new features like warehouse automation, micro fulfillment centers, and visibility tools can give your brand the support it requires to succeed in Q4 while also providing flexible and scalable solutions for the future problems that the supply chain may throw at it.