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Get your house in order

The better you get at managing warehousing costs; the more profit you can make. However, if you are disorganised and have a lack of control over operations, you stand to not only lose profit but create inefficiencies that impact on processes, customer service and employee morale. Here’s how you can get your house in order by implementing rules around processes, people and systems:

Incentives
Your best people want to be recognised for their performance. The challenge for many companies is that incentivising your warehouse team for speed will have a negative impact on accuracy and vice versa. However, pay based on performance can have the biggest impact on improving productivity levels, as well as helping with retention of your best people. Two things can help with this: the first is removing the margin for human error – introducing automation through barcode scanning is a simple place to start (something you can do with Peoplevox). The second is to use the data barcode scanners capture to measure each person’s activity levels.

Mentor more effective managers
Successful frontline managers have the ability to manage all aspects of fulfilment to positively impact your costs, worker morale and quality of customer order fulfilment. Ask yourself who best understands your products, customers and vendors? Identify training resources that will help progress their skills. If you haven’t got the internal talent, hiring a ecommerce manager who knows how to run your fulfilment can relieve a lot of time and energy from the founding team. They’ll come with knowledge about staff scheduling, warehouse layout and automation technologies that can help streamline your processes.

Simplify physical processes
Take a fresh look at your physical processes and the steps involved in product flow and order fulfilment. For example, if your products don’t arrive barcode labelled, ask your suppliers to introduce them for you rather than labelling them yourself.

Split your single and multi item orders
If you’re selling on marketplaces, you know the majority of orders are for one item only. Separating these orders in the pick and pack process can provide some serious gains. One popular method is to keep your products in brand sections by SKU order. Printing single order sheets in SKU order allows you to pick multiple orders at the same time. Another way to do it is to use a scanner to find items. The benefit here is that you don’t need to store things in SKU order, and can go for the ‘chaotic warehousing’ approach Amazon use.

More efficient supply chain
When it comes to developing vendor compliance policies – purchasing T&Cs, on-time delivery, item quality, importing guides, product packaging and labelling – a supplier manual is a good starting point. It should outline your labelling requirements and help your suppliers to make your inbound goods a smoother process. Push for quality and value-added services up the supply chain to ensure the product is ready to be put away or shipped. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if you can achieve this you’ll reduce the extra labour spent on correcting mistakes.

Third-party fulfilment
The biggest consideration with outsourcing fulfilment is whether you use your systems or put your business onto theirs. Whether you need speedy delivery using Amazon FBA or getting a local freight forwarder to supplement your storage capacity by holding excess stock. Finding a third party that will adopt your systems can be a real advantage as you retain control of your data and it reduces the costs of switching providers if it doesn’t work out.

Integrate your parcel carriers and tracking details
This is one of the quickest wins you can make. It helps your warehouse team and improves customer experience. If you are uploading files to Royal Mail or even typing in address details, using software that links your website and marketplaces through to your carriers and then passes tracking information back up the chain to your customer’s inbox is a no brainer.

oliver rhodes peoplevox
Written by Oliver Rhodes, Sales Director at SaaS warehouse management system, Peoplevox – Volo’s third-party partner for bigger or complex warehouse requirements. Oliver has worked with over 130 of the UK’s fastest-growing multichannel retailers to help improve their warehouse management and fulfilment. His clientele includes Mothercare, Barbour, Surfdome and Activ8 Distribution.
Go back

Get your house in order

The better you get at managing warehousing costs; the more profit you can make. However, if you are disorganized and have a lack of control over operations, you stand to not only lose profit but create inefficiencies that impact on processes, customer service and employee morale. Here’s how you can get your house in order by implementing rules around processes, people and systems:

Incentives
Your best people want to be recognized for their performance. The challenge for many companies is that incentivizing your warehouse team for speed will have a negative impact on accuracy and vice versa. However, pay based on performance can have the biggest impact on improving productivity levels, as well as helping with retention of your best people. Two things can help with this: the first is removing the margin for human error – introducing automation through barcode scanning is a simple place to start (something you can do with Peoplevox). The second is to use the data barcode scanners capture to measure each person’s activity levels.

Mentor more effective managers
Successful frontline managers have the ability to manage all aspects of fulfillment to positively impact your costs, worker morale and quality of customer order fulfillment. Ask yourself who best understands your products, customers and vendors? Identify training resources that will help progress their skills. If you haven’t got the internal talent, hiring a ecommerce manager who knows how to run your fulfillment can relieve a lot of time and energy from the founding team. They’ll come with knowledge about staff scheduling, warehouse layout and automation technologies that can help streamline your processes.

Simplify physical processes
Take a fresh look at your physical processes and the steps involved in product flow and order fulfillment. For example, if your products don’t arrive barcode labeled, ask your suppliers to introduce them for you rather than labeling them yourself.

Split your single and multi item orders
If you’re selling on marketplaces, you know the majority of orders are for one item only. Separating these orders in the pick and pack process can provide some serious gains. One popular method is to keep your products in brand sections by SKU order. Printing single order sheets in SKU order allows you to pick multiple orders at the same time. Another way to do it is to use a scanner to find items. The benefit here is that you don’t need to store things in SKU order, and can go for the ‘chaotic warehousing’ approach Amazon use.

More efficient supply chain
When it comes to developing vendor compliance policies – purchasing T&Cs, on-time delivery, item quality, importing guides, product packaging and labeling – a supplier manual is a good starting point. It should outline your labeling requirements and help your suppliers to make your inbound goods a smoother process. Push for quality and value-added services up the supply chain to ensure the product is ready to be put away or shipped. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if you can achieve this you’ll reduce the extra labour spent on correcting mistakes.

Third-party fulfillment
The biggest consideration with outsourcing fulfillment is whether you use your systems or put your business onto theirs. Whether you need speedy delivery using Amazon FBA or getting a local freight forwarder to supplement your storage capacity by holding excess stock. Finding a third party that will adopt your systems can be a real advantage as you retain control of your data and it reduces the costs of switching providers if it doesn’t work out.

Integrate your parcel carriers and tracking details
This is one of the quickest wins you can make. It helps your warehouse team and improves customer experience. If you are uploading files to your carrier or even typing in address details, using software that links your website and marketplaces through to your carriers and then passes tracking information back up the chain to your customer’s inbox is a no brainer.

oliver rhodes peoplevox
Written by Oliver Rhodes, Sales Director at SaaS warehouse management system, Peoplevox – Volo’s third-party partner for bigger or complex warehouse requirements. Oliver has worked with over 130 of the UK’s fastest-growing multichannel retailers to help improve their warehouse management and fulfillment. His clientele includes Mothercare, Barbour, Surfdome and Activ8 Distribution.