October 2018 | Commentary | E_Commerce

Rethink Fulfillment During Peak Season

Tags: E-commerce, Logistics, Fulfillment, Supply Chain

Stevie Hay is General Manager, Distribution and Plant Management, Aptean, 855-411-2783

Peak season is a great opportunity to determine where your warehouse priorities should lie. Here are the biggest stories to watch this holiday season.

From fast to accurate. Amazon Prime's free two-day shipping sent shockwaves through the fulfillment industry. Reaching peak productivity and keeping up with Amazon became a major topic of discussion. But it's now time to focus on a more detail-oriented, rather than always-on, warehouse.

This shift is partly caused by innovations outside faster delivery. Free shipping, even with a slightly later delivery date, makes customers feel as if they're getting a deal. Tracking keeps customers informed, relieving pressure on the delivery timeline.

With these offerings, however, come increased expectations to get the order right the first time. Alongside customer expectations are the costs associated with these mistakes: Annual mis-pick costs average $389,000 per organization. As a result, warehouses are adopting technology to improve picking and avoid errors.

This peak season, focus on getting things right before getting them delivered quickly. Invest time in perfecting your picking and packing processes. Falling short in these crucial areas can result in spending time and resources to make a wrong right.

Greater adoption of advanced analytics. Advanced analytics provide warehouses a base of knowledge from which to draw peak season strategy, increasing visibility into which processes to streamline before they're exposed to the holiday rush.

In addition, advanced analytics support risk management/mitigation—a growing concern in many warehouses, as e-commerce fuels unexpected demand spikes. By tracking purchase patterns over time, you can better understand what types of products sell during which months and seasons.

While you may not be able to predict this year's hottest toy, you'll gain greater insight into periods of higher demand and counteract them with extra inventory to avoid a sellout.

Better functionality in the cloud. Cloud-based solutions have become less a preference and more a necessity.

Even smaller companies new to the industry are investing in cloud services on the front end. That's because cloud capabilities grant smaller businesses access to advanced supply chain software, managing an influx of e-commerce sales, enhancing picking and packing processes, and promoting competition with larger organizations. Between the cloud and third-party logistics providers, small businesses have more options than ever to manage demand spikes.

Another benefit: Cloud computing enables paperless environments that reduce cost and increase reporting accuracy, eliminate the need for expensive and temperamental mainframes, provide remote accessibility, and enable scalability.

Maximize Your Peak Season

If your organization views e-commerce growth more as a challenge than an opportunity, it's time to rethink your operation—and consider using these trends as a guide.






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