As explained by Brian Barry of Multichannel Merchant, shippers tend to focus on short-term needs and ignore the space requirements for efficient fulfillment. When upgrading or building new spaces, the primary areas of focus are often broken into broad categories, such as labor, consumers, and location. However, detail-oriented areas of focus can provide a better rubric for e-commerce and warehousing success.
Total Square Feet in All E-Commerce and Warehousing Spaces
The first e-commerce and warehousing consideration to look at for supply chain leaders is managing the total square footage of all e-commerce and warehousing spaces, which includes warehouses, fulfillment centers, and even brick-and-mortar locations. More insight and visibility into your total square footage will allow for better planning of inventory and picking optimization.
The type of dock doors used by your organization will also impact effective e-commerce and warehousing processes. Different dock door types may have physical limitations on the kind of truck that can be used to load or unload freight, place different demands on dock personnel, and have different needs when preventing external elements from affecting freight.
Equipment for Dock Loading, Unloading, Moving Trailers
The type of equipment used for dock loading, unloading, and moving trailers is another critical consideration for supply chain leaders. In addition to purchasing equipment, warehouses must also consider maintenance needs, resulting in downtime for assets and lowering the overall fill rate when maintenance does occur.
The Shape of the Building
The shape of the building will also affect fill rates. A poorly shaped warehouse that is not suited for your omnichannel success needs may lead to inefficiencies. Of course, it is not always possible to pre-design the shape of your building, but companies that do add on to existing facilities should consider the shape of the building in making planning decisions to streamline e-commerce and warehousing.
Condition of the Floors, Racking, and Roof
The condition of floors, racking, and the roof of your building plays a role in the adequate flow of products throughout your facilities. Maintain regular inspections of these assets, optimize slots, and ensure floors are free from debris or other potential risks, such as cracks or damage.
Amenities play a vital role in satisfaction among your workforce, as well as those that visit your facility. Amenities may serve multiple functions, especially for workers on-break or truckers waiting for unloading/ loading to complete. Amenities may also have technological aspects too, including WI-Fi, charging stations and even showers. While you do not want your facility to become a truck stop, it can go a long way in providing the same restful and refreshing services to drivers and employees. Happier workers translate into more efficiency, productivity and even may increase eligibility for shipper-of-choice status.
Future expansion should always be another consideration when making any decision relating to the future of e-commerce and warehousing in your organization. Furthermore, companies should deploy data to understand future expansion needs and move facilities closer to consumers to reduce shipping costs and delays in product delivery windows.
Bringing Omnichannel to the Forefront of E-Commerce
Know How to Improve E-Commerce and Warehousing With the Right Partner
E-commerce and warehousing are affecting every shipper and retailer on the planet. Even FedEx is making improvements by deploying robotics in new systems to streamline operations, and supply chain leaders need to take note as the use of advanced technologies will be a leading way to successfully navigate the growing demands of e-commerce and warehousing.