Successful retailing depends on coordinating many components. Effective warehouse operations are crucial to the success of your receiving and shipping workflows. Without adequate and efficient warehouse management, you could see your hard-earned profits decrease.
Well over half of the average retailer’s warehouse costs go toward labor, and much of that labor is involved in the picking and packing processes. Automating some or all of the labor-intensive processes in your warehouse can mean significant savings. And there are other steps you can take to improve your warehouse operations.
Consumer shopping preferences have changed – particularly in the last year due to the pandemic, but customers had already discovered and begun to demand online shopping. E-commerce reduces the need for store space, but it makes warehouse efficiency that much more critical. In-store retail certainly still exists, and many stores are now also fulfilling online orders for curbside pickup or delivery.
Today’s customers are demanding more selection and more unique products. Some retailers meet this challenge by either making products on-demand or predicting the flow of interest in their products.
How consumer behavior affects warehouse management
There’s no retail business without buying consumers. Understanding what your customers want and how they want to buy it and then making it available to them is the basis for your business. You need information about your target customer, and you need to know how to make that information work for you. You also need information about your warehouse operations. For instance, knowing if orders were delivered on time, complete and undamaged, can help you assess your warehouse operations. Do you have a large enough team, and are they well trained? Do they have the tools and equipment they need for optimum performance?
Inefficiency in the warehouse not only affects customer satisfaction and loyalty; it also impacts other areas of your business and increases your operational costs—which digs into your profits.
Think about your receiving processes. You likely have a dedicated area for that activity. It’s important to keep the receiving site clean and well-organized. It is also necessary to rotate your stock and keep track of your inventory, so you have room for every delivery, and it can be warehoused in a logical, easily retrievable way.
At certain times during the year, you may need to increase staff and inventory; however, if your warehouse team is efficient during downtimes, this might not be necessary. The same is true for shipping, and you can even choose to task staff with both receiving and customer services—or any tasks that are logical to pair because they can be done together in the same area and nearly at the same time.
When it comes to moving and storage, many companies use labels and barcodes to simplify and unify their processes. Proper marking will ensure accurate inventory, tracking, and retrieval. And don’t ignore the importance of placement location. One-way aisles can prevent congestion, and appropriately storing rotation or seasonal items will prevent missed opportunities.
Look for ways to optimize your warehouse
There are many ways retailers can impact the bottom line with improvements to warehousing processes. To learn more, watch this ArcherPoint Tribe Talk video,