The number of on-line sales in 2019 were absolutely extraordinary!  So, I hope that everyone had a successful year end close. Looking at it in retrospect, though, how well do your retail channels think you performed?  What have they shared with you?

There are essentially two (2) key metrics where they measured your performance and will make decisions regarding how, or if, they will work with you in the future.  These include:

  • The number of Back Orders you experienced.  This is all about having provided them with accurate item inventory so that orders weren’t placed when an item was out of stock.
  • The number of orders fulfilled within the customer delivery date.  This is all about the actual time you took to process an order and trigger an Advanced Ship Notice (ASN) to your retail channel.

The first, number of back orders experienced, all comes down to accurate inventory management.  This means tracking inventory, back orders, reorder levels, your suppliers and lead time – then computing inventory and sending it frequently and accurately to multiple retail channels.  All without overstating inventory to low volume retailers and understating it to high volume retailers.

This requires things like a robust inventory system, purchase order scanning for receipt of items, sales order scanning for shipping and decrementing of inventory and the ability to see what’s “on the water” to know when new inventory will arrive, and the ability to manage orders based on those impending arrivals.

And then, it requires INTELLIGENT REPORTING of inventory to these multiple sales channels based on things like item availability, the number of retailers you’re working with, sales trends and profitability.

The second, the number of orders fulfilled within the customer’s delivery date, falls squarely on the shoulders of your order processing team and warehouse operation.  This is all about efficiency and productivity.  

Achieving this efficiency and productivity requires management of orders with little or no human intervention – putting a focus on those orders that are exceptions only.  If inventory is available and all is correct on the order it should be processed and ready for warehouse pick, pack and shipping within seconds rather than the minutes normally required to process an order by a person.

Achieving this efficiency and productivity in the warehouse requires minimizing time and motion.  This includes things like picking in a sequence that minimizes the number of steps a picker must take, packers having sufficient brown boxes in the area before beginning to pack, packers having master group items kitted in advance for packing, and having shipping labels pre-printed based on dimension and weight.   

If you missed your retailers’ expectations or were simply struggling to keep up by throwing more labor resources at the problem, check out OPAL.  It’s 100% compliant to all retailers and reduces Order Processing time by up to 90%, Order Processing Cost by up to 80% and Undelivered Packages to less than 1%, while also increasing Order Accuracy up to 99% and Picker and Packer Productivity by 25%-50%.  All without EDI charges.