In the last two years, consumer buying and delivery expectations have increased alongside the explosive demand for online shopping. This has only meant one thing: Online brands and retailers have had to adjust their operations to match said expectations, in addition to managing the effects of the pandemic on supply chain and fulfillment operations, which linger to this day.
Although supply chain issues may not be completely resolved, online orders have continued to increase. The need to have streamlined, effective fulfillment systems is crucial. With this in mind, our partners at Tejas Software, Inc. have put together a list of challenges and solutions for different stages of the supply chain.
Challenges to Functional Fulfillment
- Inaccurate inventory causes improper stock level maintenance in the warehouse and accumulation of obsolete inventory, and poses a major challenge overall for the retail business. The resulting problems will lead to inefficient picking processes, lower productivity, increased expenses and revenue loss.
- Inefficient warehouse picking is another challenge. Picking is one of the most significant warehouse management problems since poor picking can easily disrupt the inventory control system in an unplanned environment.
- Fluctuations in demand can lead to an ongoing inability to predict ordering trends. This problem can greatly damage the effective inventory control process, reduce sales and impair customer satisfaction.
- Ineffective customer support can have a wide-ranging effect within a company. However, customer support sometimes reflects the quality of other operational areas. With inefficient systems, customer support teams will not be able to answer all necessary queries, thus resulting in customer unhappiness. This gap also dilutes the ability of the management team to make proper decisions that lead to true improvements.
Solutions for Successful, Optimized Systems
- Automated digital fulfillment systems give real-time, accurate stock level information. This will help create efficient picking processes, increase productivity, decrease unnecessary expenses and improve sales.
- Integrated digital order management systems (OMS) and warehouse management systems (WMS) will give a great omnichannel sales experience to customers and reduce rising overhead costs.
- Digital solutions such as voice-directed, radio frequency and mobile-based picking operations can help improve the warehouse picking process. Systems with the ability to record exceptions and adjustments will improve overall picking efficiencies.
- Improved visibility derived from data gathered and analyzed from all OMS, WMS and other connected systems can help identify potential improvements in the order fulfillment process.
- Granular-level fulfillment workflow data can be used by customer support teams to resolve customer issues.
- Intelligent metrics of automated digital systems yield deeper understanding that management teams can use to make efficient decisions to achieve operational efficiency. With the right systems and the right data, the retailers will be able to deliver excellent service to customers with improved sales, improved revenue and better margins.