Tag Archives: warehouse

Best Practices for a Robust Warehouse Management

In the fast-changing world of commerce and transportation, the role of warehouses and inventory facilities becomes more and more important.

Why does warehouse management matter?

All forward-looking companies that manufacture or retail goods think about delivering better customer service for their customers. The great service often suggests fast delivery, which includes order fulfillment time combined with transit time. While a lot has been already said about route optimization and faster transits, fulfillment strategy can often be overlooked. Warehouse and inventory management is crucial for faster, efficient order fulfillment. A well-thought out fulfillment strategy and warehouse organization process let companies operate faster and increase productivity.

What is warehouse management? 

Warehouse management is a complex series of activities, steered toward maintaining and reviewing all of the processes within the facility. Warehouse management includes:

  • Setting up the warehouse and inventory
  • Optimizing facility space to fit the maximum volume of products in a properly sorted way
  • Maintaining the required equipment
  • Picking, packing, and shipping orders
  • Control and maintenance of the entire warehouse performance

What are best practices for proper warehouse management?

There are many different ways to improve your warehouses’ operational performance, as well as boost the efficiency of order fulfillment. Here are some tips on technologies and strategies you can use to improve your company’s warehousing:

  1. Make sure you are using the space efficiently. Re-organizations of storage planning are useful, as you can define the misused or extra space in your facility. The more optimized your warehouse space is, the faster the shipping process will be. A great tip is to sort your products in the following way: high-selling ones should be put near the packing section for easy access, and all the other goods should be sorted according to demand.
  2. Use a robust warehouse management system (WMS). This is software for tracking, documenting and keeping everything organized. WMS is an essential tool for any company who wants to take its performance to another level. Choosing a well-oiled management system matters, as it helps simplify the process of order circulation.
  3. Automation. Digitization and new technology are affecting all industries, especially the logistics sector. In a global supply chain, innovations are driving progress and warehouse automation lets companies enhance the operational performance with robotic systems, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. Such shifts may be hard to implement and can even disrupt the fulfillment process, but the end result is believed to be worth the efforts. Automation makes operations much faster, eliminates manual tasks and collects data more efficiently.

Final thoughts

After all, a thorough analysis is key. Discuss with your team all of the major drawbacks and pitfalls of your current warehousing strategy, and define a action plan. Who knows, maybe updating your warehouse management strategy will be a major uplift for your business!

More Inventory, Less Warehouse Space: How Virtual Inventory Works

The omni-channel environment consists of demanding, knowledgeable consumers who expect a seamless, customized shopping experience. They want to order from anywhere, at any time – these empowered shoppers have changed fulfillment and transportation in retail supply chains.

To enhance the customer’s shopping experience, retailers are building virtual inventories. Virtual inventory is an all-inclusive list of a company’s products that can be sold to a consumer; the products might be in a retail store, stock room or warehouse.

Think about it like this: When a customer places an order for new shoes, a system scans and checks the virtual inventory list to determine the product’s location in correlation to the customer. Based on this information, the employee has the shoes picked, packaged and shipped to be delivered to the requested destination.

Inventory management is a differentiator in the omni-channel retail world. Creating inventory visibility means shared data across all shopping channels.

Effective virtual inventory optimizes retail fulfillment by locating the product closest to the consumer and choosing the best routing option, determined by time and cost.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has an enormous library of virtual inventory. They operate out of more than 100 fulfillment centers and offer unrivaled options in shipping. Amazon has significantly influenced customers’ expectations in service and product options.

Now, these expectations are universal and all businesses are expected to provide the highest level of service. This strains logistics functions – especially transportation, which struggles to provide the necessary capacity for increasing freight tonnage and arriving at varying destinations on time.

Virtual inventory practices help meet high expectations. Using various stores and warehouses as sources of inventory, a retailer provides superior customer service through faster delivery at lower costs.

Even smaller companies can emulate the virtual inventory process and compete with Amazon and other mega-retailers. Virtual inventory providers assist companies to build inventory in various locations and enable them to offer their consumers fast and cheap fulfillment.

But, like other supply chain practices, a virtual inventory comes with risk:

Benefits Risks
·         Shorter transportation routes/ less OTR miles: Shipping from location with the closest proximity to consumer. ·         Poor delivery performance directly affects the brand’s reputation.
·         Offer customers products that aren’t in-house. ·         Integration and adoption of the order processing system across all inventory locations.
·         Offer more brands within product categories. ·         Accommodating the increased inventory.
·         Increase product offerings without buying additional warehouse space. ·         Shipping strategy must meet demand.

 

Virtual inventory is a key component to retail’s omni-channel strategy because it permits retailers to sell store products in locations outside of their own store fronts and distribution centers. For virtual inventory to be a successful strategy, it requires technological integration and buy-in from the company, its suppliers and its distribution and store operations.

Related PLS Logistics Posts:

Request Freight Bill Analysis