How has e-commerce changed warehouse management?

E-commerce is changing a lot about the retail industry. In the ever-growing landscape of online orders and remote warehousing, the supply chain is becoming more complex. Online retailers like Amazon are transforming how distribution is done, with promises of two-day delivery and other such ideas. As a result, investments in distribution center technology are on the rise, as well as a demand for a greater number of smaller facilities.

Numbers prove it

A recent survey conducted by Zebra Technologies found that the increasing complexity of supply chain operations has led to an uptick in the amount of time required to bring staff up to speed in the warehouse, according to Multichannel Merchant. In fact, survey respondents reported that it took an average of 118.2 hours to train new staff to “full productivity” in 2015, whereas they would have liked it to take only 75 hours. In addition, Zebra Technologies found that 76 percent said they were planning to increase their number of warehouses by 2020.

These numbers are an indication that the nature of warehouse management continues to evolve. Consumers demand products and services be delivered to them more quickly and reliably, which is leading to the aforementioned demand for a high number of smaller warehouses.

The need for speed and productivity

A lot of the focus for online retailers is on the speed of delivery. For companies like Amazon, which recently announced same-day shipping in Cincinnati, it’s creating the need for better organization and higher productivity rates than ever before.

Warehouse management is becoming more complex, with new tools and solutions to bring to the table.Warehouse management is becoming more complex, with new tools and solutions to bring to the table.

Inbound Logistics contributor Jeffrey Graves wrote that traditional fulfillment methods aren’t ideal for the e-commerce organizations of today. In order to remain competitive in the online retail world, being able to pick, pack and ship single items in as little as 24 hours is paramount.

Another important aspect of the digital age is the continual growth of stock-keeping units. Organizations need to have an effective warehouse management system to keep track of all the new product numbers that are entering and exiting their facilities at continually higher rates.

“Add to this complex fulfillment environment the demands of continual stock-keeping unit proliferation,” Graves wrote. “Internet retailers need to support an ever-increasing selection of merchandise that typically includes fast-moving items and many very slow-moving items.”

Organizations don’t have to deal with the changing supply chain landscape alone. Inspirage’s Logistics Management and Warehouse Management solutions can help companies become more efficient in the face of growing complexities and meet these changes head-on.

Contact Inspirage for more information about our WMS solutions today.

Sean Lee

Sean Lee | Key Contributor

Sean Lee is the Solution Architect (WMS) for the Logistics Management practice at Inspirage. Sean has 14 years of experience in the Oracle WMS/MSCA/Inventory applications. He has led or been a part of 10 implementations or upgrades from versions 10.7 – R12.2. Sean has over 17 years of business related experience as a developer, analyst, trainer and consultant.