Warehousing for E-commerce businesses is not anything like regular warehousing. Most industries that sell any kind of product are shifting to an E-commerce model because that is in demand. The competitive nature of the market has driven most companies into switching to this model, or at least branch into it. People expect their orders to be delivered at home and want the delivery to be swift, quick, and with features like real-time tracking and options of last-minute modifications.
When it comes to storing inventory and managing a warehouse for such a business, things get real complicated, real quick. It is not like managing a warehouse for a regular retail business where you can keep products on hand; customers will come in and pick up what they like. For an E-commerce business, you need to provide consumers with options and customizations involving various SKUs. So what are the changes you must make to an existing warehouse to make it more E-commerce friendly?
1. Cluster Picking Strategy
One big challenge that a warehouse faces in an E-commerce model is the picking of products. Warehouses used to the old-school way of picking are still picking orders out by bulk. Usually, that is how shipping used to occur because products went directly to retailers in bulk from a warehouse. Now picking needs to be done for individual products.
Cluster picking reduces the time spent in the picking process. This cost-efficient strategy focuses on picking up items instead of orders. Travel time is reduced as a single picker picks up multiple orders and places them in different totes. This reduces the margin of error significantly. Switching to this method also improves the overall potential for tighter delivery schedules to be met.
2. Automating Repetitive Processes
Automation is the need of the hour in the modern world. Technological advancements have impacted all industries, including the shipping and logistics business. When we talk about automation in the warehouse, we don’t mean a complete turnaround of the entire existing operation. Small little investments for menial everyday tasks can streamline the processes and save time and money while also making the process much more efficient.
Good examples include conveyor belts for sorting and picking, bar code scanners for easy monitoring and check-outs, DIM-weight scanners for improved accuracy etc. These machines will break even in a matter of months and start being profitable sooner than other bigger investments.
3. Optimized Reverse Logistics
The modern customer requires the option to return items if anything is not up to the mark. Failure to provide such an option results in losing customers and a competitive edge. This is why setting up a fluent reverse logistics process is necessary. Return of products needs to be just as streamlined and quick as the delivery process because customers want faulty or undesirable products to be exchanged or taken away quickly.
For increased customer satisfaction, a good reverse logistics practice must be in place. This would require extra labor and cost to put it into practice, but it is all worth considering the customer experience.
4. Advanced WMS Enabled Warehousing
A Warehouse Management System is software installed into your warehouse systems to monitor and manage processes, items, and workforce all under the same platform. Setting it up for your warehouse or warehouses will require a professional service since it is a typical task. ARK India specializes in modernizing your warehousing with state-of-the-art WMS and trained professionals to handle it.
Not only do you need a WMS for your operations, but it also needs to be advanced. Old WMS solutions had limited capabilities which could result in bottlenecks and delays in the fulfillment of orders. Modern WMS can link everything from mobile devices to the technology used in your warehouse. It can all be controlled by one master system, for which you can avail the help of ARK India.