Go back five years in time and look at how you did your shopping then. Now compare it to your purchasing style today. No industry has ever changed as dramatically as retail after the introduction of e-commerce. Stores are open 24/7 both online and offline and consumers are ready to purchase 24/7 as well. This new type of retailing influences logistics a lot, as customers expect easy shopping, fast deliveries, smooth returns and quality customer service – no matter if they do their purchasing online or offline. Companies operating within retail meet these demands by optimizing their warehouse logistics.
In 2018, the e-commerce market in Europe grew by 9%, resulting in a market volume of $479,131 m by 2023. According to experts, this trend will continue in the future, and the data that has been collected so far becomes more and more important to understand and analyze what happened in previous years. This will help to prepare the right items on stock and avoid past mistakes. As for Cyber Days in Europe, figures show that the number of purchases on this day is sharply 360% higher, the average order size also increases by more than 20%. As the number of orders increases, so does the pressure on the company’s warehouse logistics. A lot of warehouses will probably not be able to handle this pressure in their current form. As e-commerce continues to get bigger and the number of orders during Cyber Days and sales is growing each year, companies build new facilities or optimize their existing buildings in order to prepare for the future. Knowing that each company requires a unique solution, the SSI SCHAEFER experts work closely with their customers throughout the entire process. Dedicated team members will get to know the retail or wholesale strategy and engineer a solution that will meet the individual requirements and be able to scale as business grows.
Experienced logistics specialists try to find and identify bottlenecks in the warehouse first, e.g. insufficient storage space, lack of employees or lack of automated system for faster picking and sorting processes. One simple but important detail, which is also often forgotten in peak seasons, is the speed of incoming goods. The faster goods are in their places, the sooner these goods can be sold. To speed up the delivery and increase the capacity, many companies rely on automated warehouse solutions. Compared to manual picking processes, automation combined with a Goods-to-Person work station achieves a pick rate improvement of up to 1,000 picks per hour while increasing fulfillment accuracy, and improving inventory. SSI SCHAEFER solutions can also help with returns process and reduction of costs. With work stations particularly designed for processing return goods, the warehouse team will increase productivity and get the items back into inventory quickly.
The most modern of these solutions include storage and retrieval machines (SRMs), shuttle systems and automated guided vehicles, which are all connected to warehouse management software (WMS). Together they can efficiently place or remove items, speed up transportation and storage processes as well as considerably increase the productivity. Moreover, the WMS allows for custom integrations into any ERP system or other third party or custom-built software solutions.
There are still other ways to prepare storage facilities for peak seasons, but most often companies have to hire additional employees, spending more money on each attracted buyer. Full automation is difficult to achieve in retail, but automated systems are true game changers as they help to handle priority orders, including same day shipping or loyalty reward status. Plus, return processes are easy and quick, as warehouse management suite provides an array of tools for handling both incoming goods and customer returns. Once an item is returned and checked for quality, it is put back directly into the system for quick sale.
The peak season brings a lot of opportunities and benefits for the business. The best way to make sure of this is to experience it and to collect as much data as possible for the next year. As for SSI SCHAEFER, the comprehensive product and solution portfolio combined with its IT expertise will be able to provide companies with customized and efficient solutions to meet the high demands.