For successful order fulfillment, products must be accurately and quickly packaged and delivered. These tasks take place in a warehouse where goods are stored and can be packed, labeled, and shipped. Find out why efficient and effective warehouse management is essential to ecommerce success and growth.
Warehouse management is the process of running the most efficient and effective warehouse possible. It encompasses all the principles, strategies, practices, and procedures required to manage a warehouse’s daily operations.
Warehouse management includes inventory management, and both are a part of order management.
Warehouse management involves five essential processes:
These basic processes underlying warehouse management are intricate and present significant challenges. Handling those challenges successfully involves six fundamental tenets:
Warehouse performance management is simply warehouse management with an eye on improving selected performance metrics. These may be anything from customer retention rates to in-house processing speeds and profit margins. In each case, there could be different areas to focus on improving.
Total warehouse performance management requires the optimizing and integrating each process into a warehouse operation to ensure everything is working in harmony. By maximizing efficiency, you can minimize costs and increase productivity.
Warehouse performance management tasks include selecting the best technology, delivery options, and shipping carriers for your needs. You'll also need to secure the ideal warehouse to meet your anticipated growth without the risk of outgrowing the space.
Collectively, these actions will help improve warehouse performance in terms of more efficiently receiving inventory, more quickly packing boxes, and providing faster deliveries.
SKU management is the use of SKUs, alphanumeric codes, to identify, organize, and track your inventory. A critical part of warehousing management, SKU management helps you easily differentiate between products and varieties of those products no matter how many you sell. Even if you start out only selling a few items, using SKUs to manage your inventory from the beginning will help you to better manage inventory when production grows, which in turn makes for a better-organized warehouse. SKU management can also help your business place and track orders and work with third-party suppliers.
Warehouse management can affect the success and growth of your business in many ways, most notably:
Effective warehouse management benefits companies in significant ways, including logistical growth, processing speed, and improved storage.
As your business grows, you’ll face new challenges regarding order fulfillment logistics. The more efficient your warehouse management, the better prepared you are to overcome challenges and grow your fulfillment logistics accordingly. These include details like:
With proper warehouse management, you can streamline operations and improve efficiency in your supply chain. Using common warehousing management strategies, you can establish different stations for these different stages of the order fulfillment process:
When you have only one associate or team assigned exclusively to each station, that associate or team can concentrate on a single task. Task batching like this maximizes the rate of processing and shipping.
To further improve processing speeds, arrange your stations in the most logical and practical manner possible. For example, the warehouse manager should place each station so that the workers can easily pass their work on to the next station in the chain.
By organizing your warehouse processes in this way, you can help ensure packages get processed and shipped as fast and accurately as possible.
Standard warehousing management practices include storing each SKU in a dedicated location, such as a rack, pallet, bin, or shelf. Organizing your inventory storage in this manner helps your warehouse team to easily pinpoint the location of any particular item, accelerating the order fulfillment process.
A software solution for simplifying warehousing management can help you systematically achieve the goals of warehouse performance management more quickly and easily through automation.
Often, you’ll find warehouse management system (WMS) software bundled into an integrated business performance suite of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions.
An effective WMS can:
If you’re exploring outsourcing your fulfillment, make sure you're asking the right questions when evaluating a warehouse partner.
The warehouse manager is responsible for a company's warehouse management. This professional personally handles or oversees:
There are six fundamental processes constituting warehousing management. These processes work hand-in-hand, with each one impacting the efficiency of the subsequent one. As such, you must optimize all six steps to get the smoothest and most effective warehousing operation.
These steps are:
Managing a warehouse will only be the responsibility of your company if you keep fulfillment operations in-house. If you choose to outsource to a third party like a 3PL or a 4PL, the warehouse will be managed by these companies, freeing you to focus on your business. You should vet how the warehouses used by a 3PL or a 4PL are managed to ensure they’ll meet their SLAs and work effectively on your behalf.
Contact us to schedule a consultation on how we can help you streamline and optimize warehousing management for your ecommerce business.
Find tips, tricks, and advice for building scalable operations at your modern ecommerce company.
Companies like yours are automating their operations with Airhouse, so they can focus on scaling their brand.
Airhouse makes it easy to hit the ground running with native cart and shipping carrier integrations.