Global Logistics Show 2018

17-19 January 2019

Hitex Exhibition Centre, Hyderabad


6 Best Practices for E-Commerce Warehousing

ECommerce is growing at an astonishing rate. In fact, the number of online sales rose 16.3-percent annually. Meanwhile, the number of warehouses has not yet grown enough to accommodate the surge in order fulfilment and processing. As a result, today's shippers need to work more efficiently and productively to stay competitive and provide customers with viable solutions listed below:

1. Proactively Pull Orders as They Come In.

Ecommerce warehouses are processing more orders than ever before. As a result, a single ecommerce warehouse may actually be responsible for processing groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables, beauty supplies, apparel and practically any other type of product. Shippers need to proactively pull orders as they come in, but the key to making this practice success is prioritizing order picking to meet the demands of the consumers.

2. Manage Returns Quickly and Effectively.

Returns not simply a nuance for shippers; they are critical to providing consumers with peace of mind while shopping online. Amazon and Wal-Mart, are serving consumers with unparalleled return options, making any possible returns easier and virtually free to consumers. In other words, shippers need to be prepared to take on the costs of free return shipping, assistance when printing shipping labels and processing returns as they come in.

3. Use Metrics to Track Progress and Order Fulfillment Processes

The endless flow of incoming orders via eCommerce actually reflects one part of the multichannel supply chain. Shippers should use metrics to track the percentage of orders fulfilled within time requirements, numbers of orders shipped within a given time frame, accuracy in orders picked, packaged and shipped, and labor productivity. Each of these metrics relates directly to consumer promises, such as free two-day shipping.

4. Manage All Order Types Under One Roof.

Historically, order channels were split among different distribution centres. Orders for retail spaces came from one centre. Meanwhile, orders processed online were left exclusively in another centre. In this space, the role of using a dedicated transportation management system (TMS) has become vital to success. A TMS allows shippers to combine orders from different channels and of different modes into one environment, reducing unnecessary delays and costs

5. Optimize Transportation Requirements During Picking.

While many small orders may come in, the warehouse should proactively work to reduce the transportation costs by picking and packaging products for intermodal transportation of Supply Chain 24/7. As a result, shippers can reduce transit times and fuel costs, which promote faster, on-time delivery.

6. Use Incentives.

Your staff members need to have a reason for working more efficiently than the fear of not being employed. Furthermore, threatening the employment and financial security of your staff will only breed hostility. Instead, you should implement an incentive-based program to encourage all staff members to work together and increase progress and productivity. This increases collaboration, which can also be leveraged to increase collaboration across other parts of the supply chain.

ECommerce shows no signs of slowing, and those who refuse to enhance warehouse and shipping processes will lose their competitive advantages and fail. However, the future for eCommerce is filled with opportunity. If shippers and warehouses can leverage the power of insurmountable demand to improve the processes during order fulfillment and shipping, they can become the industry profiteers of tomorrow.