Managing large volumes of orders on several platforms can become complex. Failing to uphold service level agreements with your clients can be detrimental to your warehouse services. Therefor it is crucial to understand the requirements of a well-functioning 3PL warehouse management system.
Capitalising on the eCommerce Fulfilment industry
Research indicates that the modern-day consumer is now opting to go online as opposed to visiting stores to make their purchases. This has now provided an opening for the development of the modern-day warehouse. The modern-day fulfilment warehouse must now provide as basic essential services:
- Secure Storage
- Inventory Management
- Cross docking
- Pick & Pack
- Return Logistics
To capitalise on the ever-evolving online retail industry, a well performing warehousing management system must be integrated into the warehouse to sustain viable warehouse logistics services.
Functions of a Warehouse Management System
There are several fundamental functions of a warehouse management system. A warehouse logistics provider would ensure-:
- Accurate stock inventory levels
- Warehouse mapping
- Multiple warehouses
- Barcode scanning functionality
- API Integration for e-commerce platforms
- API integration for courier solutions
- Generate despatch notes
- Order management
- 3PL accounting
These key functions enable warehouse logistics to operate seamlessly and efficiently. Incorporating a warehouse management system is critical for a warehouse company providing pick and pack services.
Initiation of Warehouse Logistics Services
Client onboarding does not only involve transferring stock into your warehouse. As your warehouse would be operating as more than a storage warehouse. There are key steps to follow as part of the onboarding process. You would require your client to share their product data file. The product data file acts as an encyclopaedia for your warehouse inventory.
The next step would be to integrate all selling platforms into your WMS. Doing so would enable your fulfilment warehouse to now be ready to receive the stock for storage.
Training your staff on the pick and pack process is essential to the onboarding process. Each client would have their unique method for pick and pack and should provide clear instructions to follow. Warehouse facilities display the instructions for pick and pack in the form of text, images or videos. Clients would normally use your facility as a packaging warehouse.
As part of the contractual negotiation, you would have agreed service level agreements for your warehousing services. The warehousing services you provide would differentiate from client to client. Fulfilment warehouses tend to be shared warehouses between multiple clients from a similar industry. Many commercial warehousing solutions tend to also provide a stand-alone warehouse storage solution.
Incoming Orders at the Warehouse Facility
It is key that orders are received and processed timely for the warehouse services you provide. Orders received late would mean late delivery hence an unhappy customer. Once orders are received you must aim for pick and pack same day where possible.
Acting as a pick and pack warehouse it is fundamental to ensure instructions provided are adhered to. The client would have provided you with the necessary packaging components for you to complete the pick and pack.
Once the goods have been through the pick and pack process, you must now despatch the goods. Each incoming order at your warehouse facility would come with delivery instruction. Usually the fulfilment warehouse would have to despatch the goods for a next day service. Very few even offer same day fulfilment services.
The final step of the warehouse fulfilment service is despatch and delivery. Upon delivering the goods a proof of delivery is usually stored in the warehouse management software. The POD is kept if ever required for further reference by the warehouse logistics service provider.
Warehouse Storage Standards
As a warehouse logistics company, having a secure and insured storage facility is a must. Warehouse storage is utilised by businesses and individuals. It is important that your managed warehouse storage facility is kept clean. Dust tends to be the biggest culprit in damaging your stock. Many warehouse facilities providing storage solutions purchase dust extraction systems. Others clean very regularly to keep in line with the warehouse facilities standards. Furniture warehouses especially need to ensure dust is kept away or cleaned regularly.