Earlier, the warehouse was merely a building where goods would be stored, and it did not have any direct interaction with the customer. Today after the advent of e-commerce, there has been a drastic transformation in the role of warehousing. It has emerged as a dynamic mechanism playing a crucial role in the order-fulfillment industry. Its entire focus has shifted from just storage to improving customer service through a warehouse management system.
- Top 5 Ways to Improving customer service
- Clear Communication
- Speed And Accuracy
- Greater Visibility In Operations
- Anticipation Inventory
The customer is the King! The warehouse industry now has to comply with all the latest management systems and tactics to keep their customers happy and improving customer service. Even though a customer will never be face to face with a fulfillment center, if he is disgruntled, it could spell doom for both the company and the service provider.
Order fulfillment at the right time has a powerful positive impact on every customer. But delays in delivery or inappropriate dealing with goods, and other inconsistencies can hamper the reputation of the business. Warehouse management, if done the right way, can take your business to zeniths of success. These are the top five ways to improve warehouse management, and how you can turn these shoppers to lifetime customers
Top 5 Ways to Improving customer service
Most logistics networks, like warehouses, can be impossible to keep track of all the dynamics. From inventory management to distribution, such a massive industry like a warehouse’s success depends significantly on effective communication.
As the expanse of the warehousing Industry is broadening, so is the square meters of the warehouse. Nowadays, with warehouses are as vast as 25000 square feet, it becomes essential that all the employees stay connected at all times. Many employers are now equipping their employees with smartphones to streamline communications and improving customer service.
However, many recommend the use of radios. Two-way radios offer a quicker and much direct connection to their employees. They’re also more durable, which is vital in heavy-duty warehouse work.
Supervisors and managers have to convey messages to warehouse employees at once. Therefore, a warehouse-wide intercom or a regular PA system is a must-have. Along with a PA system, it’s essential to have a strict chain-of-command. There has to be a Limit for PA announcements to specific departments, such as quality assurance, security, management, and human resources.
Wearable GPS devices can be worn on the hip or the wrist. They help the user locate warehouse employees’ on-demand, which allows managers and supervisors to properly delegate tasks based on an employee’s proximity to areas or departments in need of help.
Keeping track of inventory on cloud-based software is the best solution for auditing stock and communicating data between two departments. It can help prevent severe backlogging and shortages.
Implementing communication protocols isn’t strictly all about using tools and technologies. It also focuses on how important it is to have an established chain-of-command and a regular in-person check-in for improving customer service. Face-to-face communication is usually the most accurate and reliable way to get information across, so build a safe space where workers can come in and discuss concerns or ideas.
By having a structured chain-of-command, the employees know exactly who to consult when issues arise. It is also essential that warehouse employees have direct access to a manager or supervisor, so individuals in higher positions should carry a two-way radio as well.
Warehouse jobs are mostly stressful due to the constant coordination between departments, strict deadlines, and client demands. Nevertheless, with the right communication strategies in place, a warehouse can become a well-oiled machine of supply and demand.
Speed And Accuracy
A conventional U.S. warehouse receives and ships the wrong item between 1-3% of the time; however, it is a negligible number but can have a significant impact on the profitability. From a monthly perspective, the company is spending tens of thousands of dollars each month only to undo the errors and improving customer service. There is not a better reason than that to shed more light on optimizing your warehouse processes. The more accurate the operations are, the lower is the error costs. The faster and more efficient services are at the same time, the easier it is to increase the revenue as well as control errors.
Most of the time, a late delivery means cancellation of the order. Cancellation of orders amounts to tarnished track record and loss of potential customers. The speed of delivery is one of the essential factors of this business.
One of the simplest ways to inject efficiency into the warehouse is to look at all the arrangements carefully. Placing frequently ordered goods in the handiest location occasionally ordered goods a little farther, and rarely ordered items more considerably still help reduce picking time.
Reorganization can simplify by using the batch and wave picking techniques. Most people have been choosing for multiple orders, minimizing task variation, and overlap so that they are faster and more efficient.
Establishing clear routes can also help the team remain in the areas they need to be, instead of wandering around looking for a product that may have been mislabeled.
More data is created and used if the warehouse is much faster and elaborate, especially while picking routes and methodologies. The management of it all in Excel can result in a significant challenge, mainly when inefficient practices are meant to be reduced.
Warehouse management systems, or WMS, offers a plethora of tools to collect and analyze all of the warehouse information to see what is working up to mark and what is not. They can give the statistics on individual employees or products to place people and things in the most optimal position and speed up the process.
Third-party logistics providers specialize in getting the goods to the customers with as little fuss and cost as possible. If the warehouse is struggling to get orders out accurately, or if it is growing too fast, it is high time to discuss specific services like e-commerce fulfillment.
Greater Visibility In Operations
Shippers love supply chain visibility. Therefore, the employees of the warehouse have to be well informed about the location, stock, and the status of orders in a warehouse. The employees must be well versed in:
Communication is paramount if the process must place an order from a customer. To avoid miscommunication and reduce expenses, it is highly recommended to offer customers an online portal or a platform through which inventory is seen, select the items they want to ship, and submit the order for processing.
Once the customer places the order, the system will produce a picking list or a loading guide with the items that the customer has selected. It is also recommended that the system provide individual fields for customers to enter detailed instruction if needed, e.g., for re-packaging instructions.
Put away and picking process
Picking efficiency can be attained by deploying the right picking methodology coupled with the correct technology. The use of wearable and mobile technology can expedite the process by enabling pickers to move across the warehouse freely. At the same time, Radio Frequency Identifiers (RFID) tells them with precision the location of the goods.
Packing and labeling
Labeling and packing are also vital. Automated labeling reduces the time consumed, and all documents have to be packed along with the orders. Proper packaging will not only impress your customers, but a proper e-commerce packaging will also save your money.
The requirement of demand forecasting has been a crucial topic of discussion in economics, and several valuable books have been written on it over the years. However, in the supply chain context, there are three types of forecasting, which are:
This elucidates the investigation of the companies’ demand for an item or SKU, to include current and future demand of the industry and product end-use.
It describes a collection of data about the producers and suppliers at present, along with technological and political trends that might disrupt supply.
This is the information gathered and analyzed about demand and supply. It provides a concise prediction of short- and long-term prices, trends, and its underlying reasons.
Companies that produce or sell goods need to keep inventory stock on hand to meet sales demand. Occasionally they will purposely hold more significant quantities of stock in anticipation of events that will or are likely to occur. This excess level of on-hand inventory is called anticipation inventory, and it is predominantly held to manage the uncertainty of consumer demand.
Some of the reasons for a company to maintain levels of anticipation inventory include fluctuations in purchasing activity, sales forecast uncertainty, and seasonal demand variations. At other times a business may purchase anticipation inventory when they have industrial relations concerns, worries that a shortage might occur or that the cost of buying inventory stock is going to increase due to predicted price hikes.
The biggest concern with anticipation inventory is getting the forecast right. If you over-forecast demand, then there is the chance that customers are less likely to want it the product later. Stock is expensive to hold, and the longer it sits in your warehouse or storeroom, the more expensive it becomes as inventory costs start adding up.