By Maria Bruyns, Warehouse Manager and Tim Proome, General Manager: Supply Chain Services
The post-pandemic ecommerce revolution has created extraordinary challenges for companies seeking to meet the ever-changing demands of a digital world. With customer expectations around speed of delivery continually on the up, the pressure is on distributors to constantly increase performance. That means supplying more channels from a single inventory, while delivering an exceptional customer experience – at a faster, more efficient pace.
"To meet our channel partners’ expectations on shorter lead times, high product availability, flexibility, and variation in delivery and return options, we turned our attention to smart warehousing, automating operations for improved productivity, efficiency, and accuracy. Ensuring products ordered are in stock and customers get what they purchased is crucial to providing excellent customer service in an increasingly digital world."
A warehouse powered by supply chain technology and automation to simplify, accelerate, and improve logistics operations assures channel partners that we can help them grow their business through improved speed, accuracy, visibility, and transparency. This assists them in staying competitive and meeting customer expectations.
Enhanced warehouse productivity, space utilisation, and employee engagement speeds the flow of goods and information to enable correct execution across inventory, labour, and space, while ensuring compliance with industry regulations and standards.
Controlling master data
Master data management unifies all data, so that it is consistently labelled and mapped to the relevant entities across all systems. It enables our business to rely on a single source of truth and becomes the data that drives almost all activities in a smart warehouse.
Managing inventory is a cycle, that never ends. Having a dedicated inventory management team has yielded tangible results. When a customer places an order, we know that the product exists and that it is quality assured.
Operational dashboards and metrics
From tracking and optimising inventories, to training staff and scheduling their workloads, managing shipping and logistics, planning workloads, and monitoring the movement of goods, our operational dashboards and metrics are designed to provide vital, purposeful business intelligence so that we can align strategy with operations.
Employee responsibilities and ownership of roles and tasks, and backing these up with metrics, is another key success factor. Our people understand that all incoming orders, outgoing shipments, supply status reports and inventory counts are important to the overall success of the company.
Dashboards help us measure ourselves against the rest of the world, allowing us to monitor business performance by displaying historical trends, actionable data, and real-time information, and comparing these to published metrics. An added bonus is that these metrics help us define where our next optimisation should come from.
For our channel partners, speedy order fulfilment is a critical requirement. Smart warehousing processes, technology, and automation collect and aggregate data, which delivers insights on how to improve the fulfilment process. This results in an accurate, efficient, and fast process that meets channel expectations.
Our channel partners can improve the way they interact with their customers, fulfil their changing demands and enhance the overall experience. This leads to greater customer satisfaction which, in turn, helps them to predict business growth and revenue while outperforming competitors.