warehouse: How to make warehouse management system efficient during festive season
This is the busiest time of the year and from a business standpoint perhaps the most lucrative, especially for small and medium sellers. As consumers shop for gifts, the e-commerce sellers witness a huge spike in demand. The sellers need to ensure sufficient inventory and see to it that orders are fulfilled seamlessly until they reach the end consumer. This is where Warehouse Management System comes into play.
What is a Warehouse Management System?
A Warehouse Management System is a solution that offers visibility into a business’s entire inventory and manages end-to-end supply chain fulfillment operations. It includes inventory tracking, task management, order picking and packaging, inventory management, and shipment procedures. An Warehouse Management System increases the overall working efficiency, enabling shipments to reach customers promptly. Given that the festive season results in a surge in demand, enhancing the efficiency of the Warehouse Management System is essential. Here’s how it can be done.
Inventory Management and Distribution
Inventory management is one of the foremost steps to be considered when it comes to boosting the efficiency of the warehouse management system. E-commerce fulfillment, logistics platforms will need to segregate the seasonal inventory, i.e., the items that witness heightened demand during the festive season, from the rest of the inventory and classify them into various categories. Planning and executing this segregation well ahead of the festive season will ensure timely deliveries and avoid a shortage or excess inventory.
Since the festive season window is short and sellers will look to gain maximum returns, making appropriate arrangements to ensure the correct shipment is delivered to the right customer is crucial. If a small sellers finds it difficult to manage the increasing order volume efficiently they can take the help of third-party fulfillment platforms with a wide pin code reach and multiple courier partners to ensure timely deliveries.
Additionally, platforms can also use SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) to enable easier finding of the available items. In fact, SKUs are crucial to effective inventory planning and management since they allow tracking of items. They also increase operational efficiency by reducing the time workers spend in identifying and picking the products. Logistics and fulfillment platforms can also ensure that fast-moving SKUs are easily accessible to facilitate quick order picking and packaging.
Analytics, NDR Management, and a seamless order return system
The days when every function – be it inventory management, storage, or order picking, was done manually are gone. Today, with technology taking over the world, nearly every logistics and warehousing function has been automated, enabling fulfillment platforms to deploy manpower for more important tasks. Leveraging cutting-edge technology for real-time analytics will provide sellers with accurate consumer insights, enabling them to make informed decisions and enhance operational efficiency.
Additionally, since the festive season is the busiest time with short delivery windows, there are higher chances for non-delivery. To avoid delays and errors in deliveries, fulfillment platforms need to have a Non-Delivery Management System in place. Automating the entire process, ensuring all the non-delivered shipments are handled in one place, quick action by courier partners, and real-time connectivity with buyers are some effective ways in which platforms can reduce NDRs. Given the rate at which technology is being integrated into fulfillment operations, drone deliveries, and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), which are already beginning to be tested by industry giants, will soon be a part of regular operations.
E-commerce sellers need to have a hassle-free return policy. It’s best to keep a window for return orders since they are generally higher during the festive season, given the erratic buying behavior of consumers. Availing the services of a third-party fulfillment platform that can manage the end-to-end process seamlessly can help streamline operations, enhance the system’s efficiency, and boost business.
Although the festive season increases demand, it can be a taxing time for sellers, especially those new in the market. Acing warehouse management and fulfillment during the festive season rush requires meticulous planning and organizing. Anticipating the demand, tying up with courier companies or third-party fulfillment platforms, and managing inventory will augment the warehouse management aspect and the efficiency of the business overall. Boosting festive season sales is all about combining the right strategies and leveraging the right technology and partners.
(The writer is CEO and Co-founder of Shiprocket)