“We just spent several millions of dollars on a new Warehouse Management System for our E-Commerce Online Distribution Centre. We do not need to spend any more money on our Supply Chain.” That sounded very intriguing.
The E-Commerce business anticipated 20-30% year to year growth. I could only interpret, having just joined the company, that all of the steps and planning needed had been taken. We had to ensure that the Distribution Centre could handle Holiday volumes, especially over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period.
However imagine my surprise when I went to the Online Distribution Centre. All I saw was a very large warehouse with nothing but racks and shelving as far as the eye could see. Employees were pushing carts up and down aisles, across the entire warehouse. They were trying to find each of the products required to fill a particular customer order. The company had just invested in an expensive Warehouse Management System.
Yet no time or money had been spent on process optimization, order fulfillment cycle time reduction, cost reduction, or peak capacity load management.
We were in for a hectic Holiday season, at best! Continue reading “E-Commerce Fulfillment (Part 1) – Optimize Your Warehouse Storage Locations”
“We are out of space!”
“What? We’re only in the middle of September.”
“The receiving docks are backed up. We have trucks in the parking lot waiting to unload their goods. There are even more containers on their way. And we have no empty space left in the warehouse racking.”
That was the actual conversation I had with the head of the Distribution Centre (DC). We had a big problem on our hands to say the least.
Continue reading “Omnichannel (Part 3) – Could you run out of space in your DC too?”
As consumers the complexity in the retail supply chain is usually oblivious to us. We go to the store and pick up the goods that we want. Or we order goods online from our devices at home, in the office, or anywhere for that matter. We consume the items, returning them if necessary, unaware of all of the work that went into making those goods available to us.
A phenomenal amount of activity goes on behind the scenes to make this experience as seamless as possible. I am not saying that it always goes smoothly. Sometimes items are broken. They are late. Or there is some other issue.
But behind the curtain that is Retail there are a lot of people managing a lot of processes and dealing with a lot of complexity earnestly trying to make your goods available to you.
Continue reading “Omnichannel (Part 2) – The Hidden Complexity in the Retail Supply Chain!”
Retailers with Brick and Mortar stores continue to be under tremendous pressure. Competition is intense in the fast growing Omnichannel E-Commerce world. Every week there seems to be news about how one Retailer or another is closing more of their stores.
And very few Retailers with Brick And Mortar stores have been able to make a profit in E-Commerce. Competitors who only sell online without physical stores appear to have an advantage with lower overhead costs.
So how can Brick And Mortar Retailers turn their stores into a competitive advantage plus a source of greater profitability?
Continue reading “Omnichannel (Part 1) – Turn your Brick And Mortar Stores into E-Commerce Distribution Hubs!”
Does anyone like being stuck in a Traffic Jam?
Prior to one Holiday season several years ago the volume that was coming into the Distribution Centre receiving area was unprecedented and unpredicted. We were out of room on the docks and we were out of storage space but trucks kept on coming. And we were still weeks away from being able to ship product to stores to relieve the pressure.
We were gridlocked. We kept inching our way along but we were very, very close to having this traffic jam of activity shut us down.
Continue reading “Freight and Logistics (Part 3) – Breaking the Traffic Jam that is your Supply Chain!”
“The system is down. We can’t ship any customer orders. We’re not sure when the system will be back up again.”
Coming into the Holidays, the busiest time of the year, that is the last thing that I wanted to hear.
I thought about it and said, “The Customer doesn’t care.”
From that point forward we pulled together the necessary resources and visibility to get the problem solved quickly. But the message was clear: The Customer doesn’t care about our internal problems.
Continue reading “E-Commerce (Part 6) – Customers Do Not Care About Your Internal Problems!”