Keeping up with demand
03 December 2020
Keeping up with demand, while keeping a close eye on the bottom line, has never been more important. So, what can you do? Where do you begin? Especially if you’re a start up?
I know a guy who developed a business selling wallets out of his bedroom. He sold only online at a time when online buying was still in its infancy. Five years ago, his part-time business took off and started to take up most of his time as customer demand was outstripping his stock and his process. In the end, he recognised that to remain in profit he would need to up his game! He was making enough money to invest in some sort of automation. He purchased one automated storage and retrieval system that he placed in his garage at home. It was a 2.2-meter-high vertical carousel with a 1.8-meter width. Due to the scale of his business he had no need of a software system, but this storage unit enabled him to keep up with customer demand, manage his stock, and keep tabs on the numbers which allowed him to focus on other things. Automation has enabled him to live a lifestyle that works for him and he continues to reap the rewards without manual effort.
But for the majority of B2Cs the last few years have been a roller-coaster. Savvy companies are looking to automation as a means of managing their processes and delivering on current and future investment. These are the companies that will lead the way. Keeping up with customer buying habits has also enabled greater profit through the ability to stock and store more products without increasing personnel or space. When you seek to adapt, focus on what works for you and your business. As mentioned above, whether a new start up or a well-established ecommerce business, growth and delivering a decent ROI must take into account changing online consumer buying habits, as well as customer expectation in regard to the ability to manage the increase in online returns.
If we look at the main processes for any B2C we all know that you need to focus on storing, picking, packing and on pushing the items out the door. Maybe you have a warehouse full of racks, shelves and pallets with manual processes and maybe this is still working for you. But in a changing consumer market, manual processing will become a more expensive and, in the end, a slower option.
Here’s why automation is a smart alternative to traditional shelving and rack systems. In the long run it’s a cheaper, faster and more effective option, especially now when social distancing has created even more problems for B2C’s during operations. Automated systems such as conveyors, robotics, ASRS, touch screens, pick-to-light, mini-loads etc are all delivering on a reduction of non-essential handling, especially for fast moving stock. This saves time which means greater productivity in terms of operating costs and improved customer service. Labour costs can also be reduced due to these systems delivering quick retrieval times to meet varying throughput requirements 24/7.
Efficient control of processes and the distribution of hundreds or thousands of product lines at high speeds remains a major benefit of automation and with greater transparency in stock control, and a decrease in error rates, anything less is just not going to cut it…
Click here to download a free pdf of the Ecomerce Research Report 2020 by Peerless Research Group conducted on behalf of Kardex Remstar. The Report focuses on e-commerce operations, warehouse pain points, and solutions.
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