If you’ve ever watched Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, you may have noticed that Santa didn’t do his own fulfillment. He relied on elves to do most of the picking, packaging and loading.
South of the North Pole, our eCommerce driven economy also relies on an army of unsung fulfillment professionals who are working extra-hard to get your orders out the door. This year, more than ever, they need sophisticated tools to help them work as fast and as efficiently as possible. eCommerce warehouse management software is one of those critical tools. Here are a few of the ways a robust eCommerce WMS can make all the difference.
Improved Inventory Visibility
Much like Santa can famously see all, a good WMS that’s coupled with an Internet portal can enable an ultra-clear view of how much product you really have, both in a single fulfillment center and across an entire fulfillment network. Just as important, it allows you to differentiate between how much of each SKU is on hand, on hold, or already allocated – and which items need to go out the door soonest because of their age or condition. As a result, companies can make much more informed inventory replenishment and order fulfillment decisions, like ensuring they don’t promise a doll to Sue in Sacramento if it’s on backorder.
What’s more, the best eCommerce warehouse management software can provide this visibility in real-time instead of just once or twice a day, an important attribute during a year when products are often flying off fulfillment center racks or pick lines almost as soon as they arrive.
Greater Time Savings
Speed and productivity are always precious commodities in a fulfillment center. But they’re especially valuable during busy holiday peak seasons like this one, when order levels have already reached critical mass.
Just like Rudolph significantly improved Santa’s transportation process at a critical time, robust eCommerce WMS software can dramatically streamline fulfillment center productivity through efficient strategies for SKU slotting, order picking and product put-away. And that’s a real-game-changer since every minute of labor time you can save enhances your ability to get orders out the door faster. It also means you save money, because labor is your biggest expense in the eCommerce fulfillment center.
If companies elect to use WMS add-ons like voice picking to automate the picking process, it can add even more speed, improving overall productivity by as much as 40% to 50%.
It all adds up to an improved throughput that’s the opposite of abominable.
Better Quality Control
High-volume sales are great for business. However, they can be tough on order accuracy, because as a fulfillment center’s workload and need for speed increase, so does the possibility that critical picking errors will be made.
It’s another reason why robust eCommerce warehouse management software with RF scanning is proving to be worth its weight in (silver and) gold during holiday season 2020. Among other things, it can scan and verify the contents of each of your boxed or bagged orders far faster and more effectively than non-automated methods. And, unlike humans who can merely do a visual check, it won’t make the mistake of confusing one SKU for another, even if the two SKUs look very similar, so you won’t make the mistake of sending a Charlie-in-the-Box instead of a Jack-in-the-Box. Nor will a WMS system get tired, slower, and more prone to error towards the end of a shift.
Have A Holly, Jolly Christmas
If you’ve gotten this far, you may have noticed one word that has popped up several times in this article (and no, it’s not Rudolph, although that’s a good guess). It’s “robust.” And if you think that’s a synonym for expensive, you’re not entirely wrong.
High-quality eCommerce WMS software can indeed be costly to purchase and maintain, especially for companies doing their own fulfillment. That’s one of the benefits of outsourcing fulfillment. Most good 3PLs will have a full-featured WMS whose cost is spread across many customers, so you can enjoy all the benefits of advanced eCommerce WMS capabilities while avoiding that big-system investment. Give Amware a jingle to learn more.
Meanwhile, if you happen to see Hermey the elf, tell him we’ll be calling his dental office to schedule a cleaning sometime after the New Year.