Inventory management is essential for the success of your eCommerce and retail operations every day of the year. But during the holiday commerce rush, it is especially important to arm yourself with as much information about year-over-year data, industry data and preparation to ensure a seamless holiday season in the always-hectic warehouse.
1. Is this the first holiday at your warehouse?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of operating warehouses has increased 9.3% from 2012 to 2016 – an increase of over 1,500 new warehouses in the U.S. alone. Domestic inventory management cuts down on shipping costs and eliminates potential taxes, tariffs, and fees associated with international shipping, a revenue-driver during holiday. But if this is the first holiday season for your warehouse, your operations team must take the time to make educated decisions on holiday temp hiring and overtime. Too many hires can lead to operational waste, too little can lead to delayed orders and a disorganized warehouse. Use data from previous years across all sales touch points to inform your warehouse strategy for holiday.
2. Automation is the future of Efficient eCommerce
In the 2016 Global Logistics Report, research firm Colliers International reports that the rise in eCommerce and online retail has pushed warehouses to adopt more sophisticated facilities that include high-level picking and sortation systems. Facilities are expanding because of these new systems working faster and more efficiently. Efficient pick-and-pack routes are critical for the increased burden on the warehouse during holiday. Any inefficiencies stemming from getting an order out the door can be multiplied by the volume of orders received and create bottlenecks.
3. Holiday Post-mortem
The Motorola Future of Warehousing 2018 Study predicts that 66% of retailers will have made a significant investment in Warehouse and Inventory Management technology through 2018. Top areas of impact for the investments are streamlining processing and eliminating manual processes. These “internal agility” initiatives answer the call for responsive warehouses that are able to grow with companies. Your holiday data is a goldmine to inform your strategy for the next year and beyond. Be sure to start your analysis initiatives in January to plan your OMS roadmap for the next holiday season.
4. Shipping Cost and Speed: On a Deadline
Aberdeen Group reports in “What Has Changed in Wholesale Distribution: 2015 & Beyond,” that 87% of today’s customers are willing to wait two or more days to receive free shipping. With services like Amazon Prime and many major retailers offering free shipping thresholds, the norm is set to become customers expecting a free shipping promotion every time they shop online. Growing retailers struggle with the margins of providing constant shipping promotions. When the other warehouse operations are running with less overhead, it is possible to discount shipping for ROI and increased sales.
5. Inventory Management is a Struggle for Growing Businesses
WASP Barcode, a physical barcode scanner producer, said in their State of Small Business Report 2016 that 21% of growing businesses do not have an inventory management system currently, 24% keep their inventory in Excel of Quickbooks, and 21% use pen and paper. These methods reduce efficiency and hinder further growth. Inefficient tracking not only puts companies at a competitive disadvantage during holiday, it is almost impossible to gather any analytics to inform your strategy for the rest of the year.
For more information on how SkuNexus can help you stay ahead of the pack in light of the most recent inventory management research, contact us for a free analysis of your retail business and technology systems. >>