If you have your e-commerce website running Shopify, and are looking to add the capability to control your stock and fulfilment, you are most likely going to need a Shopify warehouse management system (WMS).
Let’s take a look at how such a WMS will help your business and how it works with Shopify to overcome the following common problems:
The Shopify WMS will provide accurate inventory live to the second. This includes when items are received into your warehouse, they should be scanned by the WMS and that information should be automatically transferred into Shopify within seconds. This makes that stock available to buy on your website very quickly. Target should be within 1 hour of receipt, not the 24 hours that many accept as standard.
It works the other way that when items are removed from stock using the WMS, for example because they are damaged. This should reduce the stock on your website immediately so that you do not oversell. Target time for this is less than 1 minute from removal in the WMS.
Remember, the WMS is the master of stock, Shopify is the slave.
Customer orders being sent out incorrectly
When you receive an order from a customer on Shopify, this should transfer to the WMS within seconds, or worst case in 3 minutes.
When the customer order has transferred into the WMS, it should firstly be picked in the time required to meet the cut off deadline for the delivery service ordered.
Secondly, it should direct the picker to get the right product from the fastest possible place, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. Printing paper and going to pick 1 order at a time is not acceptable. You should be picking multiple orders at once, where the products are ordered in sequence for speed.
Thirdly, the packing area must have a bulletproof way of checking with a barcode scan that the right items are put in the right package and labelled correctly. Once this process if complete, Shopify stock and order status should be automatically updated within maximum 3 minutes, but ideally seconds, so that an email can be sent to the customer to say it has shipped and here is a link to track your parcel.
If there are changes to the customer order, for example they phone up as they put the incorrect address on or they need to cancel one of the items, Shopify and the WMS need to talk to each other quickly. Step 1 is to check the status of the order in the WMS. If it has been picked, packed and is awaiting despatch, then we would advise to say to the customer ‘too late’. If it is being picked, then it can be cancelled but not amended. If it has not yet been pIcked, it can be amended in Shopify. When you make those changes, it should automatically update the customer order in the WMS. If somebody in customer service tries to change anything on the order when it is in a unchangeable status, then it should be rejected. There should be no manual customer order updates in any system apart from Shopify.
Remember, Shopify is the master of customer orders, the WMS is the slave.
Combining the two systems to have a Shopify WMS is powerful when deployed correctly with the right integration points. To learn more about how this combination could work in your business, please contact us.