E-commerce supply chains involve multiple moving parts that all come together to complete the fulfillment and delivery of a customer’s order. Beginning with the supply of raw materials and going until the delivery of the finished product, there are many steps in between. With so much information, resources, and cash between many entity stages, it is easy for your supply chain to quickly become complex. For e-commerce supply chains to stay competitive, they must constantly be dynamic and consistently evolving.
1. Increase Warehouse Capacity
Maximizing your warehouse capacity prevents storage limitations. Optimizing your warehouse space can include removing unused or damaged products, seasonal storage, extending storage racks and reducing the width of aisle space, or implementing a warehouse management system (WPS). WPS uses technology to suggest the best routes to pick out and store products, in addition to providing employees with pick lists. These steps can lead to a decrease in errors and an increase in efficiency.
2. Manage Labor More Effectively
While manual labor is not cheap, it plays a large role in e-commerce fulfillment centers. Managing labor should be a strategic goal for fulfillment centers to run effectively. Labor changes can affect costs per unit, order, and other operating expenses. Managing labor efficiently can lead to increased order volumes and positive user experiences.
3. Use 3PL Providers
While there are many benefits to using a 3PL provider, the services that they can provide can result in you saving money on storage, reduced shipping costs, and improved shipping leads time. A third-party logistics (3PL) provider provides expertise handling various aspects of the supply chain, which you can leverage to improve efficiency and streamlined processes. With faster and more reliable order fulfillment using a 3PL provider, customer satisfaction rates tend to increase.
4. Improve Technology
In an industry that is constantly evolving, it is important to stay updated on the new trends in technology. Businesses today are implementing AI (Artificial Intelligence) into their processes. AI allows businesses to transfer simple tasks from humans to machines. This gives employees more time to focus on bigger, more complex tasks. Another example of improving technology is eliminating paperwork. Businesses are converting to a more efficient way of keeping track of data, automatically.
5. Focus on Relationships
Creating and maintaining strong relationships with suppliers can lead to more reliable supply and improved lead times. In addition, focusing on customer support can drive your business forward. Listening to the feedback that you receive can help improve your business in various aspects. Successful innovation begins with getting involved and prioritizing the relationships your business has.
Regularly assessing your processes, seeking feedback from customers and employees, and being open to adopting new technologies and strategies are just a few ways to stay competitive and efficient. While these steps may improve your e-commerce supply chain, continuous improvements are necessary to stay relevant in the market. With over 30 years in comprehensive supply chain management, NewStream continues to focus on ways to improve.
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