E-commerce warehouse: tips from Logistiko

Since most courier companies offer delivery within one day, the key task of the warehouse is to prepare the orders for dispatch on the day of placing them by the customer. How to achieve this goal using simple methods?

It would seem that warehouse designed to handle e-commerce is a warehouse like any other. Products come in deliveries and then they are released. However, the specificity of e-commerce and high expectations of buyers mean that the organization of an e-commerce warehouse entail several specific requirements.

Order completion is essential.

Nowadays, almost every client who makes a purchase online expects to receive goods on the next day. In e-commerce survey conducted by Gemius in 2016 in Poland – the most common problem with online shopping mentioned in customer’s opinions is the long wait for delivery of goods (35% – Logistiko internal data). In a similar survey from 2015, high cost of shipping was in the first place, while the long delivery time was second. It is clear that the order completion time and expectations associated with it are gaining importance year after year.

Since most courier companies offer delivery within one day, the key task of the warehouse is to prepare the orders for dispatch on the day of placing them by the customer. How to achieve this goal using simple methods?

Courier package collection hours

Depending on the location of the warehouse and the number of packages per day, couriers offer a variety of schedules for collecting them. Of course, the key is to find a courier company that will offer not only favourable prices, but also the latest pick-up hours. This will allow the warehouse to have more time for handling the orders (e.g. if the courier collects the packages around 15:00, then automatically no order placed after that time has a chance to be sent out on the same day and delivered on the next day).

Warehouse working hours

The natural tendency is to balance the number of warehouse employees during the day. For example, if the warehouse employees work on two shifts, it is natural to balance the number of employees for both shifts. However, most often in the case of e-commerce, the number of orders is not distributed evenly throughout the day. Usually, the amount of orders increases in the afternoon. In addition, the later the orders get to the warehouse, the less time is left for packing them and preparing for dispatch.

Therefore, before assigning working hours to employees, it is always a good idea to consider whether you really need the same number of employees on each shift?

Almost certainly the answer will be – in the afternoon, we need more staff than in the morning.

Arrangement of goods on the shelves

This is very often ignored in the case of warehouses using WMS support, where recognition of products is based on barcodes. In such a situation, it seems that the placement of goods is of secondary importance, because the employee has to scan the product before taking it from the shelf anyway. The error in such reasoning is that before the employee scans the product, he first needs to find it, most often visually (otherwise, he would have to mindlessly scan every product on the shelf until he finds the right one).

The greater the density of goods on the shelf, the more time it takes to identify and scan the right one. Since warehouses are not made of rubber, the density on shelves is often inevitable. So, what to do? Ensure that products that are similar to each other are not placed next to each other. Optimization of the products’ distribution for one of our clients who sells small electronic products, which differ from one another only by symbols, shortened the time of searching for products by more than half, and thus, increased our confidence that we will be able to deliver all orders on the same day.

As you can see, improving the work of your warehouse for e-commerce does not have to require big investment or costs. Sometimes, it is enough to think carefully about what prevents faster completion of orders and remove these obstacles one by one. For more details please visit http://logistiko.eu/.

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