By Claire Umney, MD at Breathe Technologies
E-tailers are striving towards a ‘frictionless’ warehouse; achieving an operational process that flows naturally from initial order to final delivery with minimum stoppage. Frictionless warehousing is critical for internet retailers who are answering the challenges of increasing consumer demands, multiple sales platforms and a year-long peak that doesn’t appear to be falling back to pre-pandemic levels any time soon. With the potential for friction to occur at any point in the warehouse process – from goods in, picking and packing through to labelling and carrier management - retailers are looking for solutions that not only meet these challenges, but do so in a cost effective way.
So, how can you ensure you’re performing on all fronts and meeting high demands while still delivering ROI? Maximising the amount of orders you can fulfil, especially on eCommerce channels, requires robust physical and digital technology to enable effective fulfilment operations in warehouses and distribution centres. And with such stringent processes and standards to meet every second counts, driving the need for a frictionless warehouse. Smart warehouse technology, flexibility and speed of data flows are all crucial to adapting to the changing landscape of customer and marketplace demands and solving fulfilment friction points.
Order fulfilment software, such as our Breathe Fulfil product, plays a key role in helping businesses answer the demand from customers and help meet the stringent online marketplace requirements, while reducing friction. This is because fulfilment software is designed to streamline the process between initial order all the way through to delivery – enabling data flows between systems, as well as documentation, packaging, and carrier management.
One of the biggest challenges internet retailers often face when starting to use marketplaces is ensuring that they deliver against the performance metrics each marketplace sets. With contractual breaches resulting in fines and even suspensions, internet retailers can’t afford for friction points to occur in the warehouse.
Often internet retailers find that managing complex marketplace shipping labels and documentation requirements can slow the despatch process down, especially if your physical systems, warehouse management software, and internal business systems, aren’t working together properly. Fulfilment software can integrate these disparate systems and ensure orders are fulfilled on time, packaged appropriately, are despatched to the best carrier – and that the package remains visible at all times.
Ultimate Products – an international consumer goods brand house – implemented Breath Fulfil to connect its systems, accelerate data flows and automate fulfilment validation checks. It needed to meet increased demand and Amazon performance metrics via both its seller fulfilled prime service and vendor central fulfilment service. It saw a 200% increase in productivity, which helped it to double the number of Amazon Vendor orders it was able to fulfil.
Fulfilment software can help internet retailers automate their processes, but they should also take a holistic view of the warehouse. Look at both physical and software automation to try and reduce friction, but also to ensure that you have the right technology in place to support your growth journey. But remember that you don’t have to fully automate in one go. Choose a flexible solution that gives you the support where you need it, enhances your existing systems, and helps to boost operational efficiencies so you can grow with minimal risk.
Do you know where your fulfilment friction lies? Click on our quick online tool to find out where your friction points are likely to occur and what the best solution could be: breathetech.co.uk/friction-calculator/