Retailers, manufacturers and distributors are on the hunt to find and deploy scalable and flexible technology to keep up with demand.
Maintaining customer loyalty is no easy feat in today’s “I want it now” e-commerce world. Businesses are required to provide the same level of convenience that customers have come to expect in their personal lives or else run the risk of losing them to a competitor. Because many are aware of this, retailers, manufacturers and distributors are currently searching for solutions capable of the speed, compliance, reliability and support to fuel their mission.
Scalability in Shipping
Shipping is one of the biggest headaches that companies are running into with regards to future growth. For instance, did you know that by 2020, same-day delivery will drive up logistics costs as a percentage of revenue by 50%? There’s absolutely no way that a high-growth company should be shying away from utilizing a multi-carrier platform when thinking about providing extra shipping options to their customers.
Multi-carrier shipping solutions aid companies in selecting the best parcel carrier out of all contracted carriers based on order characteristics (weight and dimensional properties), delivery rules (delivery time and delivery zone) and carrier performance, while considering the cost differences of various carrier services. Multi-carrier shipping platforms also enable shippers to manage the creation of labels, create shipper manifests, provide tracking capabilities to customers or customer service representatives, and manage carrier rate updates.
When looking for these solutions, make sure to seek out a solution that can take you from a high-growth business to a large, global enterprise. Already a large enterprise? Make sure the solution you choose can quickly handle millions of orders per day (which is especially important during peak season), can help you take advantage of special carrier conditions (such as adding trailer pulls and extending shipping and delivery times), allows you to ship internationally quickly and cost effectively, and will aid you in enabling tracking capabilities for your customers to track their orders directly from your e-commerce site.
Recommendation: See ProShip Multi-Carrier Shipping Software
Scalability in Packing
The art of packing is currently facing a major problem. The supply chain labor force is dwindling and is facing a major skill shortage. Increases in demand caused by the increase in e-commerce, combined with an aging workforce, means that what was once simply a gap is now becoming a crisis.
Tasks surrounding the picking and packing of items have many e-commerce, third party logistics and distribution companies experimenting with automation technologies such as automated packing solutions.
Automated packing solutions help companies create a faster and more efficient packing process with reduced labor requirements. As soon as an order is picked, automated packing machines are able to scan, build, fill, fold and label each parcel in one seamless process. They have cardboard feeders, 3D scanners, tape units and label applications in order to build the smallest box around each order without the need for void fill.
But not all automated packing solutions are the same. When searching for the right machine, it’s important to take into consideration the labor needed (one operator is ideal), the minimum and maximum box size capabilities, integrations with shipping software rating engines and the ability to box single and multi-item orders with variable dimensions in concurrence. These capabilities are extremely important when the needs for higher capacities are increasing.
Recommendation: See the CVP Automated Packing Solution
Scalability in Warehouse Management
As a retailer, a 3PL or a distribution company expands, it needs to be capable of managing larger volumes of inventory throughput. The e-commerce boom is proving this true more than ever. This is why seeking out a scalable warehouse management system (WMS) is a no-brainer.
Put simply, a WMS is a software application that supports the day-to-day operations in a warehouse. WMS programs enable the centralized management of tasks such as tracking inventory levels and stock locations, supporting value-added services, maximizing the use of facilities, and keeping track of staffing levels and equipment levels for effective management control.
Again, not all software is the same. When sifting through different warehouse management solutions, make sure that the solution you choose works across inventory, labor, space and compliance. Also, the best WMS efficiently supports omnichannel and multi-tenant fulfillment, and it increases inventory turns and speed order processing to boost customer satisfaction.
Recommendation: See the Manhattan Warehouse Management Solution
Scalability in Enterprise Resource Planning
As a company grows and develops, employees get busier and communication becomes harder. Manual data entry and reporting will become even more error-prone and time-consuming when carried out on a larger scale. In order to combat this, retailers, 3PLs and distribution companies need an effective enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
An ERP is a modular information system that is able to centralize and unify data from different business departments facilitating the flow of information. Managers will then have access to a shared database for decision-making, estimations and forecasts.
An effective ERP solution will optimize your financials and operations to drive growth and make real-time data-driven decisions at global scale. To fully fit your needs, make sure that the ERP you select easily accommodates new product lines and functions, all while maintaining performance. It should also have flexible architecture that is easy to deploy, help you make decisions quickly and manage entities easily across geographies while remaining nimble to change.
E-commerce won’t wait. Its numbers are ever-increasing and changing today’s world, so aligning your technology needs with appropriate, scalable technology solutions is a must. Choosing the right solutions that scale with your business is the first step in ensuring that future growth will come smoothly and cost-effectively.
Learn more about how we can help you scale your operation. Download our 2018 Solutions Guide.