After the stressful shifts and changes of 2020, many businesses are still sorting out how best to approach fulfillment and warehouse management for 2021. Everyone, from small local companies to larger e-commerce enterprises, struggled. However, plenty of success can be modeled after the strategies and tactics that some larger companies used to scale throughout this last year, and if you haven’t been studying those tactics already, now is the time to start. These tips can help you scale business to match whatever fluctuations may come in 2021.
Three Warehouse Management Strategies for Faster Fulfillment
Consider the following suggestions to improve order fulfillment. These ideas can help maintain a high service level when demand for your products rises.
- Use multiple carriers
Gone are the days when you could sign a contract with a single major carrier and rely on them for fast delivery. Although many companies do have carriers of choice, now lining up multiple carriers for order fulfillment is a stronger move. If one company experiences unprecedented demand, an alternative carrier can fulfill orders.
Interview various shippers and negotiate deals with the top candidates. Then, set up systems to have multiple carriers ready to go for peak delivery times. You may need to upgrade your software to handle multiple carriers and track orders through the system.
- Plan for peak seasons
Most businesses go through peaks and valleys in their business cycles. You know when your peak season should hit. Review industry forecasts and information from your ERP system to predict the annual peaks and add on a little extra time as a cushion. Then, increase inventory and hire additional personnel as part of your company’s warehouse management strategies.
Review training manuals and systems and set up new employee onboarding that gets new hires ready to work quickly, paying particular attention to safety training in the warehouse.
Depending on your industry, you may find the pressures this year are greater than last year. By anticipating peak seasons and preparing for them, you’ll be ready when they hit and better able to deliver customer orders on time.
- Update key software
Along with multi-carrier shipments and increased demand comes the need for updated software to handle the influx of business and multi-carrier tracking. Warehouse management systems offer different packages to accommodate different needs. Review the packages that work with your current enterprise resource (ERP) system and find out which ones you may need in order to update your warehouse management system.
Future-Proof Your Order Fulfillment
While no one can predict exactly what 2021 will hold, it is certain that e-commerce will continue to grow. The events of 2020 helped more and more untapped e-commerce customers grow accustomed to online ordering and delivery, but the global pandemic shifted thinking from seeing e-commerce as an option to seeing it as a necessity.
With this shift comes a shift in thinking about warehouse management and order fulfillment. If that shift requires new software, the team at ASI is ready to help. We can help you identify the most critical requirements and get the right systems in place so your company can continue functioning at top performance and providing excellent customer service. See how your current systems stack up. Request your FREE software consultation here.