Omnichannel companies and their e-commerce fulfilment operations continue to be tested by consumers’ overwhelming transition toward online shopping during these uncertain times. Over the past few years, the warehouse has gone from a neglected apart of the business to the main hub. This shift has only been exacerbated due to the recent restrictions brought on by the pandemic. Is your warehouse ready to continue supplying your customers as people start to go back to work?
With the market’s focus on the largest e-commerce players, who are even struggling to find fulfilment solutions, mid-sized companies are now looking to evolve their businesses and the implementation of a WMS is key.
In order to make sure your warehouse runs smoothly as possible and copes with the influx in orders, you might like to consider the following:
If you haven’t done so already, review your current processes and highlighted what changes you need to make to maximise your productivity and customer experience. Do you have a back-up plan if things go wrong? How are you currently coping? What will you do if the increase in demand continues?
Speak to your purchasing department and suppliers to make sure that you will have the right levels of stock in your warehouse to fulfill your forecast in demands. This will enabling you to fulfill all your customers’ demands and increase customer satisfaction with prompt dispatch and deliveries.
Installing a WMS system will help you organise your warehouse to ensure it’s running more efficient and effective during these busy times. Reduce picking & dispatch times and have all the product information you need to hand at any time. Standard systems will also make training new staff a lot easier before they are expected to hit the ground running.
You or your customers might be selling across several channels and websites. Perhaps you take orders over the phone and sell via your website or are trialing selling via Amazon and eBay or other leading retailers. Make sure you have a platform that can handle multi-channels. Your customers might expect quicker delivery times – review all dispatch options and improve integration with more courier companies etc.
If you’re currently using a warehouse management system, make sure that it’s up to the job during these busy times. Now might be the time to think about additional functionality for your WMS or upgrading to the latest cloud software. The system will give you more accurate stock levels across different eCommerce websites such as Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, and Shopify and will give you better reporting by providing you with the information you need when you need it.
The key to success is to ensure you have the right levels of trained and enthusiastic staff. Hiring temporary warehouse could be the key and a WMS will enable you to predict the correct staffing levels at all times. Reviewing staffing levels and planning ahead will enable you to concentrate on the other areas of your business rather than trying to find suitable staff at the last minute.
An influx of newcomers into a warehouse creates its own set of challenges as it takes time for new operatives to become familiar with locations, stock items and work processes. Using technology like a warehouse management system (WMS), the time needed for new operatives to reach full capacity or productivity is significantly reduced. Whereas manually, it can take a few days or even a week to get up to speed, it’s less than a day using a WMS.
Good communication is essential in any business at any time of the year, and at this present time; communication in your warehouse needs to be at its best. Make sure your warehouse staff are fully trained & know exactly what they need to do at all times and you have all your systems up and running before the peak season kicks in at the end of this year.
A key area to current look at is how a WMS can assist you in dealing with workers self-isolating
As well as coping with new incoming staff, the COVID-19 crisis is impacting on existing staffing levels, as operatives inevitably become unwell and need to self-isolate. This is akin to having someone key to the daily operation of the warehouse leave. If they are a ‘go to’ person, like a shift supervisor or pick team leader, it can create a void as they take their experience and knowledge with them. When a WMS is implemented, with structured processes backed up by technology to take care of decision making, the impact on business as usual is much lower if a key person is absent.
A WMS will help get your busy running smoothly straight away and will help with long term cost reduction. A warehouse manager can expect to reduce operating overheads on an ongoing basis from day 1 of implementation and see a reduction of up to 20% during peak periods, after introducing WMS technology.
Moving forward in these uncertain times and whatever happens over the next few months to the economy, the warehouses that are already using WMS technology to improve efficiency and productivity are certainly the best equipped to continue meeting their customer’s expectations – and have a future proofed operation for when we emerge on the other side.
Technology is constantly changing with the market brings in new devices, from automation tools and robots to the smartphone in the workplace, the older WMS would’ve continually needed custom work to keep up. Getting everything right now by updating or installing the latest cloud WMS will pay dividends in the future and improve your productivity & profitability as well, resulting in better customer satisfaction.
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 fulfilment and manufacturing warehousing.