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a cloud-based inventory management system, retailers can walk the
warehouse checking stock levels
and instantly update sales channels. An all-in-one omnichannel
retail solution captures changes
and updates, shares sales data and
accurately reports real-time stock
levels. Departments can promptly
reconcile account payables and receivables, stock reorders, etc.
q Integrated Shipping: Systems
that integrate with well-known
carriers (e.g., DPD, FedEx, and
UPS) can help retailers streamline and automate shipping workflows. These systems let warehouse teams print shipping labels
instantly and charge retailers the
shipment costs automatically. A
central management system collects order information and reflects current processing and delivery status. By eliminating manual
processes, these systems improve
order-processing time and ensure
orders ship to the correct customer using the most appropriate shipping method, such as value, weight,
volume or delivery location.
q Electronic Data Interchange
(EDI): This computer-to-computer exchange of digital documents
offers several key benefits includ-
ing preventing double selling and
expense of double shipping, reducing the creation of incorrect shipping documentation, preventing
mispicks and shipping of incorrect
items, avoiding missed delivery
deadlines, tracking, monitoring
and chasing supplier delays, and
sending tracking information to
q Bluetooth Barcode Scanners:
The use of Bluetooth barcode scanners in picking and packing processes has eliminated the outdated
use of pen and paper to track order
fulfillment. Barcode scanners reduce human error and speed up the
entire fulfillment process. There is
an immediate bottom line impact
that results from improvements
in a warehouse's perfect order rate
and a reduction in costs and processing times.
q Automation Bots: Used in the
dispatch process, this technology improves overall workflows
by removing the middle person
whose job was to check each order and mark it allocated, fulfilled
and ready for dispatch. Bots automatically download orders from
online sales channels (Amazon,
BigCommerce, eBay, Magento,
Shopify, etc.) and instantly allocate
the product for fulfillment from
the available stock. The order is
changed to "ready for dispatch"
once rules for payment, allocation
and fulfillment status are met. Automatically the warehouse team
receives the order for picking,
packing and shipping. Using automation bots speeds up order processing and frees up warehouse
staff to focus on the workflows that
increase customer satisfaction and
drive more sales by quickly picking,
packing, and shipping orders.
VALUE OF KPIS
Retailers considering implementation
of these technologies within their own
warehouse should consider the following
key performance indicators (KPIs) when
1. Percentage of orders shipped / returned (monthly basis).
2. Percentage of returns due to shipment of incorrect items.
3. Average length of time it takes warehouse staff to print, pick, pack and
4. Average customer wait time between
ordering and receiving an item.
5. Total time spent updating stock levels in the existing inventory management system.
6. Number of times items have been
oversold (past three months).
KPIs allow retailers to understand the
effectiveness of their processes. Comparing pre- and post-implementation of new
technologies can provide critical insight
needed to understand the return on investment and justification for further investment in warehouse improvements. q
Derek O'Carroll is CEO of Brightpearl,
responsible for the overall company strategy
and for delivering on Brightpearl's mission to
automate retail. For more information, visit
Fall 2017 www.wdimagazine.com