Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined kick-starts the Christmas shopping tills ringing (more like beeping – it’s 2016!) like no other mass marketing event in recent history. 2015 saw £2bn being spent in shops and online in just 24 hours with traditional high street retailers like John Lewis reportedly leading the way in 2016 alongside newer, niche players such as Not On The Highstreet reportedly doing very well.
The American phenomena which has made its way across the Atlantic first hit UK headlines with mass brawls in supermarkets over low priced goods however recent years have been calmer with retailers attempting to spread the discounting over a week rather than all into one day. This has been done to support logistics as it was becoming a logistical nightmare trying to change the entire operation for a single day of mass volume trading.
High volume selling events such as Black Friday will always highlight gaps within a warehousing operation.
Many warehouses are just not setup for high volume order processing as the software and processes in place have been designed and implemented in the 90’s or mid 2000’s. These have usually been designed for large orders into retail or wholesale. High volume selling events such as Black Friday will always highlight gaps within a warehousing operation.
How to support high volume picking and packing
Switching to a high order volume operation can be very challenging without a mass overhaul of working practices and software systems. The very idea of picking single items or even breaking down pallets and opening cases is enough to keep many warehouse teams up at night!
The first option many businesses will try is to throw people at the problem. This isn’t necessarily due to bad planning, sometimes a high volume warehousing operation can creep up on you without realising it of years of steady growth!
high volume warehousing operation can creep up on you
Growing businesses need good warehouse management software. Most have a basic finance system or ERP which might be great at keeping track of the finances but has never been designed to support a true warehousing operation.
Step One – Take time to understand your order profile
Truly understanding your order profile can offer huge rewards. Knowing, not guessing, the fastest moving items and carefully planning their location in a warehouse will save staff hours in walking time.
Understanding the average amount of lines per order is also key to deciding how to best to manage the operation. A low quantity of order lines could lend itself to bulk order picking methods outlined in step two.
Step Two – how to pick those orders
Picking lots of small orders may lend itself to bulk picking so that operatives visit each location only once to pick stock required for lots of orders. This prevents the warehouse operative visiting the same location repeatedly wasting lots of time.
Once all those orders have all been picked in bulk, an effective sortation process is then needed at a packing area to individual package and ship orders to their correct end destinations.
Step Three – how to ship
If your operation is moving toward a ‘pick pack ship’ setup rather than full loads or pallet deliveries, the first step for many is a careful review of carrier services.
Creating 100’s or 1000’s of shipping labels each day is a massive task for any operation to do manually.
Many small and medium businesses run their own transport for wholesale deliveries especially where their business covers a small geographical area. Delivering B2C UK wide or even internationally is a different challenge which generally needs the support of a major carrier such as DPD, MyHermes, RoyalMail and ParcelForce.
Creating 100’s or 1000’s of shipping labels each day is a massive task for any operation to do manually. All major carriers support integration into their own systems from 3rd party warehouse systems to automatically generate labels so it is important to find a WMS software partner that can support quick, easy interfaces to a range of carriers and their various services.
Beat the Black Friday warehouse blues!
Speak to one of our team to understand how ClarusWMS’ simple cloud subscription platform can support excellence by promoting better customer service, better results and efficient working for high volume warehouses.
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 cloud warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution and manufacturing.