How to ensure a smooth warehouse operation during busy periods

Black Friday and Cyber Week continue to hit ever more impressive heights. Adobe Systems estimates that Cyber Monday sales will reach $3.39 billion in the US, coming just after Black Friday set a new record with $3.34 billion in US online retail sales.

On Black Friday last year, Amazon.co.uk sold more than 7.4 million items, at a rate of around 86 items per second. So, it’s easy to imagine how this can affect the workings of the warehouse environment.

As these shopping holidays show, the lead up to Christmas is a busy one for many e-commerce warehouses. With this in mind, it’s extra important to ensure these busy periods don’t lead to creating a poor experience for your customers or your staff. This can be a little trickier during these shopping days due to increased workloads and the on boarding of seasonal staff.

So with this in mind, is it possible to keep your customers and staff happy during busy periods and still deliver the best possible service?

Minimising seasonal pains

The good news is that this is a totally achievable goal. Whether you are already running an e-commerce operation, are about to launch one, or if you have an e-tail side of your business growing alongside your traditional retail channels, you may want to think about what a Warehouse Management System (WMS) can do for you.

With a WMS, warehouse operators can move freely around the warehouse using mobile hardware to carry out operations such as goods-in, picking or stock movement. This means that warehouse operatives know exactly what to do, the best way to go about it and ensures customers goods are picked and shipped the right way.

This enables you to be on top of your stock situation in real-time. Even in the event of signal black spots, operatives can continue the work offline with all the data sent once they enter an area with signal.

The right WMS system can help you achieve 99% accuracy on picking and packing meaning more and more happy customers. Pick lists are sent to mobile devices with simple on-screen instructions of what to pick next and from where ranging from one person picking to multiple order batch picks. This means that regardless of however many items a customer buys, you are in control whatever the size of the order.

Also, training your staff couldn’t be easier. With a WMS, staff can be trained in less than an hour and the system itself reduces decision making for warehouse operators and increases efficiency for dispatch even during very busy periods.

For a wider view of things to consider before implementing a WMS, download our free e-book ’11 things to consider before you implement an e-commerce Warehouse Management System (WMS)’: