E-commerce is here and it isn’t going away any time soon.
“As of 2011, market data showed that over 70 percent of all adult internet users in the United States made online purchases, leaning mainly toward internet sites and e-mail offers to help them choose their desired product (statistica.com).”
It’s important for any online business to have an easy-to-use website, but it means nothing if the company can’t fulfill orders efficiently. At SunShip, we’ve developed a list of key operations that can help to optimize any distribution center.
Use Multiple Pick Zone for Increased Traffic
Traditional warehouses often use single pick zones for high-velocity SKUs to increase picking efficiency for each respective bid. However, with the steady increment of eCommerce orders, this process can actually slow down warehouse processes, and cause congestions. Your warehouse should be capable of handling said peaks by slotting all fast-moving SKUs throughout a single distribution center, rather than having them spread out. If multiple SKUs are on a single order, then they need to be grouped in pick zones together as well.
Multiple Pick Methods Are a MUST
No single pick method will work for every order. Any modern warehouse processes orders for more than one channels, with eCommerce often accounting for more than 10% of its total orders. With this fact in mind, no MHU (Materials Handling Unit) can handle every SKU and their various speeds. Ideally, your warehouse design should include pick modules, put walls, racks and sorters that are capable of accommodating the ever-fluctuating demand of various SKUs. In order to do this, it’s necessary to have a warehouse execution software that can be reconfigured at a moment’s notice to handle new SKUs and carton sizes.
Packing For eCommerce
Distribution centers are having a more difficult time fulfilling orders because of pressures coming from shipping companies and an increased volume of customer orders. On the one hand, they’re being asked to minimize shipping cubes to lower shipping costs. On the other, customers continue to place small orders that can’t be shipped in a full case. This is especially difficult to do, when many transport operators charge by the size of a shipment, rather than its weight.
We’ve come up with a few ways to mediate this problem.
- Small full cases should with split-case modules should be at the forefront of your conveyor path
- Use your takeaway conveyor for full cases that have to be shipped individually.
- For orders with cases that have pick items, use a shipping carton and add items as needed.
SunShip’s distribution center is optimized for any order, regardless of whether or not it falls under the realm eCommerce, which allows us to supply you with a solution for all your shipping needs.