Companies are moving their business focus to the online market in a multitude of industries. These days, companies know more consumers are searching the Web for products and services, as the Internet helps them shop without leaving home. Ecommerce companies have several tasks to juggle regularly, but the most important is effective order management and warehousing.
A warehouse forms an integral part of the supply chain for eCommerce. Retaining the stocks in a warehouse is another whole business. You deal with inventory, packing and shipping management, and more. It requires a reasonable amount of time and effort, but it is not an easy task; you wouldn’t like to hit a wall. For a space that could end up being too large or too small as the year continues, most warehouses come with long-term contracts and high upfront costs. Volumes of eCommerce orders can swell unexpectedly or dip incoherently, then the additional room or need for more room becomes a problem. That’s where warehousing on demand comes into the picture.
A vital aspect of your business as an eCommerce retailer is warehousing and delivery. Order consistency impacts customer loyalty and sets the return (of course, returns are wasted money). Putaway and storage efficiency influences the amount. The inbound flow in a warehouse starts as goods arrive in the company’s warehouse place, either obtained from external sources or elsewhere. (this is covered below)
The inbound flow in a warehouse starts when products, either obtained from external sources or another company location, arrive in the warehouse location. The products are registered by an employee, usually by scanning a barcode. From the receiving dock, warehouse operations are carried out to get the goods into the storage area at varying complexity levels.
Each object is defined and compared to a corresponding source document that is inbound. There are the following source documents incoming from:
- Purchase order
- Gate Entry
- Inbound transfer order
- Sales return order
- Supplier Invoice
- ASN (Advanced Shipping Note)
- Packaging Slip
Furthermore, there are the following internal documents which act like inbound sources:
- GRN (Goods Receipt Note)
- Production order with output posting
- Assembly order with output posting
The last two reflect inbound flows from internal operational areas to the warehouse.
The most important core component of any successful plan for warehouse effectiveness starts and ends with quality control. Your team may not be responsible for the quality of the products you deliver, or for the commitment to customer satisfaction that comes from products. However, they are just as accountable as the manufacturer when it comes to their work quality. Your team handles each product as it passes through your distribution center to retailers, consumers, or another destination.
This will increase the efficiency of your service. Thus, you concentrate on each order’s quality, tracking, and modifying procedures and processes based on critical metrics for proper packaging and shipping. To improve product quality, keep tabs on metrics such as how long it takes to select, securely package, fill an order correctly, and then load it properly until it ships out.
Training your staff to be frontline quality control inspectors is the priority when implementing quality control practices for order fulfilment in your warehouse. If one of your team becomes aware of a defective or incorrectly packed item, they should have the option to keep the order until it leaves the building, and the customer issues such an order.
Organizing a quality management team is an excellent solution to this problem. Appoint a quality management team of staff to check the contents and packaging, depending on the activity scale. The quality management team will also be accountable for red-flagging goods or whole orders that need to be returned before loading and distribution to the selectors to be repacked and packaged again.
A “Pick List” informs your employees what inventory is needed to complete customer orders. Generally, the SKU location and SKU information are shown in a pick list. After you have received orders from customers, you can create pick lists for pickers in your warehouse.
With a Warehouse Management System (WMS) or an Inventory Management System (IMS), you can automatically create pick lists when your customers place an order.
Often known as the pick tickets or pick lists.
Startups and smaller low order volume operations will pick-to-order when those orders come in. They also use a WMS as a business scale, including a custom-designed picking list for batch picking or zone picking.
Outbound logistics is the mechanism by which goods are processed, transported, and delivered to customers. The outbound logistics process begins with a Sales Order received from the customer, goes on to warehouse picking, packaging, and ends with the items’ delivery. Companies must choose the right distribution networks, maintain a sensible inventory stocking system, and maximize delivery options to make outbound logistics run smoothly.
In the outbound logistics process, a company goes through many phases. The sales department first obtains a purchase order from the customer. The Sales department monitors the availability of inventory to ensure that the order can be fulfilled.
The sales department then forwards the customer order for picking and packaging to the warehouse. The order is delivered, and a warehouse clerk changes the inventory levels. The company bills the customer and receives cash for the order finally.
You can’t help stop returns on eCommerce. For eCommerce shoppers, fast returns are essential. This can be a big factor in building trust & driving sales. A significant feature for eCommerce fulfilment is logging in returns.
The faster your systems return to the fulfilment company, the quicker the customer can get a refund. Adequate returns often bring your stock back onto the market so it can be sold again.
Here are three things to generate returns a breeze for you as well as your customers through your eCommerce fulfilment partner:
- Returns to be put back on the shelf within one or two days. Returns that sit on receiving docks are a drain on your company and customer trust.
- Establish a system for treating defective items.
Operating without an iWMS: Integrated Warehouse Management System
You prevent overselling when you have a WMS that links to your e-commerce store and other sales channels. A good e-commerce warehouse management system drives marketplaces and shopping carts with accurate inventory data. You can boost your predictive accuracy with accurate inventory and order data, and optimize your inventory levels. You will manage the correct inventory mix and quantity and decrease the expense of keeping the inventory.
iWMS includes various modules:
- Inventory Management
- Order Management
- Bin Management
- Accounting Module
- Supply chain Module
Many eCommerce warehouse management system vendors provide a range of software that can handle a warehouse management system with various components. In the future, the pros and cons of both should be balanced against what the company wants and will need.
Warehouse Layout Plan
The layout and design of the warehouse directly affects eCommerce warehouse process efficiency, from Goods Inward, Goods Stacking to order fulfilment
The concept of finding the most suitable storage location for each commodity in your inventory is warehouse slotting. Slotting optimization allows warehouse staff to take products quickly and thus facilitate distribution the next day or the same day, which is a common choice in e-commerce. This kind of e-commerce warehouse layout also makes sure you make the most of your warehouse storage space.
You need to understand the order fulfilment methods you want to use before entering the eCommerce warehouse design and layout planning process. Plus, it would be best if you thought about the different needs you have, from room management and storage solutions to aisle layout and Operations area workflows.
You also need to be well knowledgeable about the many warehouse storage and shelving options available and equipment that can help improve productivity and efficiency of warehouse operations. Finally, as your layout can affect your ability to handle inventory efficiently, you need to keep your company inventory management systems in mind.
If running your warehouse would be too cost-prohibitive, you can outsource your warehouse to a third party satisfaction provider.
Role of Warehouse in e-commerce business
Management of supply and demand
There are times when there might be greater demand for a product or service than its availability. On the other hand, it’s normal for products of little or no interest to be ready for shipment. A warehousing choice that can handle the ebbs and flows of business needs both of these scenarios.
Need for flexibility
Since eCommerce firms often have to manage changes to their company without much time to deliberate, they need a warehousing and distribution partner to help them. For the partnership to be genuinely beneficial, these programs need an element of versatility. Online organizations, in a short period, can need to extend or minimize their investment. According to Total Retail, warehouses should be prepared for this change and what it would mean for order management. A flexible design is a crucial aspect eCommerce sites can look for when using a third-party service provider.
Order management efficiency
It should be combined with an order management system for warehousing to be as effective as possible. This solution enables e-commerce companies to approve, deliver, monitor, and deliver goods and services to consumers who have ordered them online. OMS technology helps business leaders concentrate on other facets of their organization and leave the purchasing specifics to a well-versed and knowledgeable technical team. A warehouse with good employees who understand the market will help sustain or boost overall performance.
How SOPs shall help Warehouse Operations Team
Standard operating procedures are comprehensive, written guidelines as to how to run routine tasks. They are easy to read and illustrate every detail of the mentioned procedure. It is important to note that the emphasis of a suitable standard operating procedure is not on what needs to be done, but rather how it should be done. the standard operating procedure is an efficient tool that every business should have.
Standard operating procedures will help you understand the business processes better and determine how to move forward. They would ensure that the company procedures are done fairly by all workers.
Getting standard operating procedures in place would also allow you to grow your organization faster. This is because standard operating procedures make replicating specific processes simpler in the company.
Many companies prefer to enforce standard operating procedures by presenting written documents in places where all workers can easily see them. However, there are also occasions when companies have better resources available. Using a workflow management system such as Tallyfy is a perfect way to construct an accessible knowledge database instead of a complicated text.
Why BPX to define SOPs for your Warehouse Operations
Ineffective fulfilment with eCommerce will delay your business growth. Inadequatelypacked, errors in shipping and delays can lead to unhappy customers and poor reviews.
Now the fundamentals of the warehouse and order fulfilment process are sound grounding. You are now equipped to test prospective 3PL providers. Then find a warehouse consultant that will allow your eCommerce company to prosper.
Fulfilment is a crucial component of your performance in eCommerce. However, it would help if you also had a professional warehouse design consultant like BPX. If you are looking for an answer to “how to start an eCommerce warehouse?”, then someone who offers warehouse efficiency consulting services can help to grow your business.
Evaluating the e-commerce warehouse in depth can be a challenge where BPX warehouse process experts can guide. BPX will offer you the best when it comes to warehouse layout design consulting, warehouse operations consulting, eCommerce warehouse setup consulting, warehouse inventory planning and eCommerce warehouse system setup.