Flawless Fulfilment Is Easier Than You Think – Part 2

The following is part 2 of an in-depth look at the essential steps that warehouses and distribution centres can follow to achieve flawless fulfilment

Accurate, on-time and flawless fulfilment. Every time.

The warehouse is at the centre of your business. It’s the key hub through which nearly everything in your business must pass – from raw materials and finished goods in a manufacturing plant, to pallets and cases in a distribution centre, to a wealth of products in a retail warehouse. But in today’s highly competitive markets, there’s something even more important that’s dependent on more efficient warehouse operations: customer satisfaction. What is it that your customers want from your warehouse and logistics operations?

Flawless Fulfilment can be achieved by:-

Advanced Inventory & Storage Capabilities

The key to achieving flawless fulfilment is real-time inventory visibility and control. When cycle counts are conducted manually, or with older or fragmented technology solutions, they can be extremely time consuming and often fraught with errors. In a recent warehousing survey, respondents reported that the top two cycle-count motivating factors are reduction of out of stock conditions and ensuring WMS accuracy.

When personnel are armed with real-time access to the inventory database and advanced mobile data collection capabilities, cycle counting efficiency and accuracy are dramatically improved. Workers utilising mobile devices, such as durable and economical handheld computers and tablets for more intuitive cycle counting and direct WMS interaction can completed these tasks in less than half a day instead of weeks.

The level of visibility into inventory data provides a number of benefits. Better trend analysis for improved buying practices. More accurate data within your WMS and fewer out of stock conditions. Reduced inventory stocking levels.

Decreased capital expenditures for holding inventory and reduced inventory space requirements.

Wireless and mobile solutions can also completely automate the asset tracking process and provide up-to-the-minute information on the location, status and condition of totes, pallets and more through advanced data capture. When RFID tags are placed on all of these assets, they are automatically tracked as they move through the warehouse and onto the truck, and can easily be associated with a specific customer order.

Cold Chain Storage Solutions:

The cold chain is a harsh, demanding environment. Utilising refrigerator- and freezer-compliant mobile devices and networks that can withstand low temperatures and condensation improves traceability capabilities, enhances order accuracy and speeds shipping times in cold storage environments. With reliable operation, regardless of the dramatic temperature swings, workers can quickly and efficiently enter data – even with gloved hands – by using large keys and an easy-to-use touch-screen on ergonomically designed handheld mobile computers.

Upgrade Inbound Handling Operations

Receiving and sortation are critical steps in assuring flawless fulfilment. They’re critical because issues in receiving all too often morph into other issues throughout the warehouse management process. To streamline inbound operations, today’s warehouses must be able to manage two growing trends.

First, their systems must be prepared to take advantage of increases in the number of incoming items that have barcodes. In a recent study, respondents predicted that the percentage of barcoded items will grow from about 67% today to almost 84% in the next five years. Second, they need to respond seamlessly to shifting supplier requirements, some of which the survey identified as the increased use of Advance Ship Notices (ASN), RFID systems, GSDN data and GS1 standards.

Receiving and sortation mobile and data capture solutions

Overall, the goal is to make sure workers at the receiving dock are enabled with real-time access to inventory, accounting and order systems. When workers can quickly scan an item barcode or access an ASN, shipments can be automatically identified and reconciled. With an increasing number of returns pressuring inbound receiving processes, streamlined reverse logistics are becoming more important and widespread.

At the receiving dock, mobile processes empower workers to be more accurate and more productive. A simple scan of a barcode, RFID tag or RMA label enables incoming shipments to be identified and verified in real-time. It also allows returns to be quickly validated and updated, with automatic issue of any customer credit due. Orders are delivered right to the worker, enabling accurate staging of shipments for put-away or cross-docking, and streamlining the handling of any errors in the shipment.

Put-away and replenishment mobile and data capture solutions

With immediate access to the WMS, workers can quickly scan a barcode or shelf tag (or read an RFID tag), ensuring that the item is put in the correct place and via the most efficient route. This helps reduce OOS situations, and enables warehouse workers to increase throughput by being able to process more put-away orders every hour.

The WMS system also provides a record of the placement of the shipment so you know the exact location of all inventory to a highly detailed level.

Turnaround Outbound Handling Performance

Packing, loading, staging and shipping are the equivalent of the ‘last mile’ in flawless fulfilment. In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, these functionalities are key to turning around warehouse and distribution centres to streamline delivery, enhance competitive advantage and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Whether you’re shipping to a manufacturer that needs raw materials for just-in-time production or a retail customer waiting for delivery of her holiday gifts, the importance of timely, accurate deliveries cannot be overstated.

When real-time information in the warehouse packing function is integrated tightly into your staging and delivery functions, you can realise major benefits in your shipping and delivery operations. Mobility can streamline these final stages of order fulfilment, ensuring that the right order contains the right products, and is shipped to the right customer at the right time via the right method of shipment. It provides a final cross-check to ensure that the order is correct, properly addressed and scheduled for the proper shipment method, complete with on-the-spot printing of all necessary paperwork. In addition, in the event that any items that were back-ordered have now arrived in the warehouse, the packer can receive notification, enabling full completion of the shipment prior to leaving the facility. Finally, fixed printers or heavier duty automatic label machines can be used for ensuring onwards visibility through the supply chain.

Coordination with the dispatch function ensures that the shipment is properly staged for loading on the right truck in the right order. Packing material costs can also be controlled. Your business system can automatically determine the right size carton for the shipment, removing guesswork and eliminating the use of excess amounts of filling materials. Worker productivity is increased as the same staff can ship more orders in a day. Shipping and delivery times are improved, as is vehicle utilisation as trucks are fully loaded with the right contents.

Driver productivity is also improved thanks to accurate order staging and loading that reduces dwell time at each stop. And because more customers are likely to receive shipments within the promised time frame, customer satisfaction and retention are maximised.

View part one

About us:

Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.

Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.

ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.