Best Practices

Is Shipping Your Bottleneck? How to Achieve Efficiency with a Single Workflow


When it comes to software solutions for eCommerce, fulfillment and shipping are often the last things considered. This is unfortunate, as they are often huge sources of errors and inefficiencies. This raises the question: Can a good warehouse management software help?

Elimination of Mis-Picks Results in Advantages Today and in The Future


Mis-picks in an order fulfillment operation can cause far greater problems than merely wasteful task repetition on the warehouse floor. Both company-sanctioned and independent websites offer customers opportunities to voice their opinions on just about anything these days...including the accuracy and timeliness of an order. It’s “shipper beware.”

Tracking Warehouse Operations for Fun and Profit


What is the difference between a warehouse whose operations eat away at profits, and one that meets all customer expectations while operating under budget? Efficiency, of course. But what does that entail?

The truth is that it varies from warehouse to warehouse. One operation might need to shore up its receiving procedures to cut down on mistakes. Another might be facing bottlenecks due to labor management issues. There are problems and challenges common to all warehouses, but the list of what gets done well, and what could use improvement, varies with location, company, culture, and even product.

Running An Efficient Warehouse: 3 Simple Steps for Your Operations


In previous posts, we mentioned a landmark study out of the Georgia Institute of Technology that found that fewer than 30% of U.S. warehouses were operating efficiently. This is due to that fact that, although practices and technology have improved, most warehouses have not kept up, creating a widening “efficiency gap.”

Combatting this inefficiency does not require radical change, however. Simply being able to perform routine steps quickly and easily can make your workflow a lot smoother—and your workdays less hectic.

How to Make Smart(er) Decisions Using Your Inventory and Fulfillment Data


The data kept in your warehousing and fulfillment system (if you have one) can be a treasure trove of insights into your business. The trick, of course, is knowing how to get that data out in a timely and useful way.

This is why it is so important to have a system that can generate custom reports automatically. Best-of-class inventory and fulfillment systems gather data in real time and then can push reports to you in any format you wishfor example, an email sent to your inbox. When reporting is automated in this way, you can make adjustments on the fly, creating a more nimble organization.

7 Technologies Clients Ask About When Looking for a Fulfillment Company


Each year, thousands of businesses sign on with 3PLs and other fulfillment companies to handle their fulfillment and logistics activities. That said, about 35% of companies also leave their 3PLs each year, often because there is not a good fit.

More and more, that “fit” has to do with technology.

To get a deeper perspective on this phenomenon, we talked with Will Schneider, President of FufillmentCompanies.net, a firm that matches companies in the B2B environment with a special focus on fulfillment and online marketing.

So we asked Schneider where the disconnect with 3PLs was coming from when it comes to technology, and more importantly, what trends he was seeing in the sorts of tech capabilities companies are asking for when looking to be matched with other companies—3PLs in particular. His insights will be of interest not only to 3PLs and other fulfillment companies, but also to merchants interested in keeping up with the latest trends by seeing what is important to the competition.

Why Backorders Are Hurting Your Business—And What to Do About Them


In the past, whenever a merchant ran out of a given SKU, the company would simply issue a backorder while they purchased or manufactured more items. Customers would then wait for the item, taking the delay as a fact of life. Those days are long gone.

Today, modern warehouses are tracking both inventory levels and item velocity, making precise predictions about Low Stock and Out of Stock levels, and using that information to trigger workflows so that inventory never “runs dry.” In effect, data and planning have basically eliminated the backorder.

And that is a great thing when it comes to the customer experience.

Why Eliminate Backorders?

Easier Warehouse Management Means Reducing Touches


Reducing the number of “touches” an order needs before it ships out the door reduces the complexity inherent in your fulfillment operation. And as complexity is removed, error goes down while speed and efficiency go up.

In most fields of engineering, complexity is the enemy. The more parts something has, the more chances there are for something to break down. The more an item is handled or taken apart, the more space there is for something to go wrong.

A similar principle is at work with any complex operation, including order fulfillment. Although no one step in fulfillment is complicated in itself, orchestrating the many steps, time and again, and ensuring their accuracy, can be a substantial task.

How to Achieve Inventory Certainty—and What Happens When You Fail


“Inventory Certainty” is a term of art in warehousing and fulfillment circles. It simply means having accurate, real-time counts of your inventory available in such a way that it is useful and timely. While it seems easy, inventory certainty is vital for today’s efficient warehouses.

In fact, most warehouse and fulfillment teams believe they have something like inventory certainty, but in reality, they do not. And when they fail to have that certainty, entropy creeps into the system. Small errors begin to grow out of proportion, and then the real trouble begins.

Exceptions Are Common. Make Them Standard Using Software.


The idea that there is one single, ideal way to handle an order is a myth. Still, exceptions can be anticipated and systematized so that more of your warehousing and fulfillment operations can be automated. And that’s good for the bottom line.

There is no doubt that automation is changing traditional warehouse operations. Companies across all types of industries are looking for ways to improve throughput, maximize order accuracy, and shave valuable time off standard operations. What makes automation such a complex challenge is that there is rarely a single standard operating procedure (SOP). Contingencies and exceptions are, ironically, the norm. So these need to be automated as well.

One way to automate exceptions is to anticipate them and then trigger certain actions when they are detected. For example:

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