F. Curtis Barry & Company Blog

Guidelines for Order Management System Scripted Demos

One of the most important aspects of selecting any order management system is actually getting a demo of the vendor’s application. There are a couple of different approaches to demos; depending on where you are in the system selection process. One is used to get the general feel for a system early in the search process and lasts one to two hours. What you get is a high-level overview of a few of the system’s functions.

The second type of demo, which is what the focus of this post is about, is much longer taking a day or possibly a day and a half; depending on the complexity of your business. This longer demo is used to select the finalists after vendors have responded to your Request For Proposal (RFP).

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Topics: order management system

Operational Assessment: 17 Last Minute Changes before Christmas

For operations professionals in multichannel companies, we all know the drill, the risks and rewards of Christmas. While the time for changing the warehouse layout or adding storage capacity or automation may be past, here are 17 important last minute ideas an operational assessment will identify that everyone can implement to improve productivity and reduce costs.

While conducting hundreds of operational assessments for clients, we have found that the highest benefit areas you can affect during the Holiday season are managing labor better (it’s more than 50% of your cost per order) - in particular the pick and pack departments which are more than 50% of your labor costs. Also, working with shipping carriers - probably your highest overall cost – on your Christmas plans pays off too.

Here are our top 17 picks to improve your operation this Christmas:

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Topics: operational assessment

Operational Assessment Can Rid Negative "Tribal Knowledge" in DC

We all know the value of our employees, department and senior managers to our businesses. Within most operational assessmentwarehouses you can find staff that is dedicated and has longevity with the company. These individuals can most likely tell you exactly where most SKUs are located in the warehouse, which vendors have the most vendor compliance issues, and who the fastest pickers and packers are. This type of knowledge, “tribal knowledge”, is what makes things click in the warehouse.

But for many companies, a negative form of tribal knowledge is a detriment to the short term and long term health and throughput of a company.

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Topics: operational assessment

Using Third Party Logistics For A Successful Holiday Season

Getting the most from your third party logistics (3PL) provider this Holiday season starts with your forecasting accuracy. In order for you to get the most from your 3PL provider you need to have established measureable service levels that are agreed to by both parties as part of your agreement. Establishing these service levels and having the 3PL vendor meet them requires that you supply realistic forecasts for calls and order volumes by day, by week a month in advance so that the 3PL vendor can plan staffing accordingly.

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Topics: Third party logistics

How Can an Operational Assessment Alleviate $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage?

The Republican debate failed to focus on this key issue that I think is brewing in this election cycle and foroperational assessment the economy. We first wrote about this topic when Seattle adopted a $15 per hour minimum wage for restaurant workers in March 2015.

Two weeks ago, news outlets sounded the alarm again about the possibility of $15 per hour minimum wage. Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) supports raising the federal wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $15. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) want to push the minimum wage to $12 per hour. President Obama has edged up his support from $9.00 to $10.10 and now $12. Hillary Clinton backed $15 per hour for New York fast-food workers on July 24th, but hasn’t specified a wage floor for the nation. From an implementation objective, the full effect of proposed increases are often stair-stepped over 3 to 5 years.

Budget experts and many Republican candidates warn such a hike could eliminate millions of U.S. jobs.

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Topics: operational assessment

12 Mistakes to Avoid During Order Management System Selection

In our experience as consultants selecting and implementing systems we see 12 mistakes multichannel businesses make in selecting an order management system. These apply whether its order management, enterprise resource planning, warehouse management or website development platforms that you are selecting. How do these mistakes manifest themselves and lead to failure of a project?

  • 50% of the projects have budget over runs on the initial implementation

  • 50% have higher total cost of ownership than planned

  • 40% fail to deliver the expected business value and Return On Investment

Much of this heartache can be reduced or avoided if you adopt the principles outlined below:

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Topics: order management system

Are You Prepared to "Go Live" With Your Order Management System?

Having spent a considerable investment in new software whether it is an order management system or any system for that matter, the last thing you want to have is a failed implementation.

Unfortunately, flawed system "go live" executions happen all too often. You might wonder how this is possible, after dozens of people have worked for months on an implementation. I think it’s because many companies have not built a readiness assessment for "go live" into their project plans.

It’s one thing to be running behind on programming modifications, testing and implementing your systems project. It’s another to unknowingly commit the company to "go live" without management review, risk assessment and agreement and signoff that everything is ready. This isn’t a daylong meeting before "go live", but a built-in process that everyone works towards and knows in advance in terms of plans and criteria for readiness.

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Topics: order management system

10 Ways Third Party Logistics Is Profitable for Multichannel Companies

We just completed a project to compare third party logistics (3PL) services and costs to expanding a company’s fulfillment operation. Here are 10 ways and the profitable benefits that our clients have seen by using 3PL. 

1. Provides a lower cost per order when compared to internally managed operations. This isn’t always true but it can be for small to moderate sized companies.

2. Allows your company to concentrate management time on marketing and merchandising your products and not having to manage your operations and fulfillment. One client has used third party logistics since 1988.

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Topics: Third party logistics

Are You Holding Onto Your Order Management System Too Long?

In many cases, businesses are holding onto their installed order management system or ERP for more order management systemthan 10 years – sometimes 15+ years – if they believe they’re the right fit. On the face of it, this is sound thinking; considering the time and expense involved in implementing a new system.

Your order management system or ERP may be right for your call center, the merchandisers’ management of inventory, accounting systems and integration with your web platform. But are your fulfillment system requirements the same as they were 10-15 years ago? For many businesses, the answer is a resounding no.

Maybe you’re being too conservative by expecting incrementally greater productivity from your distribution center’s warehouse management system each year without additional functionality. In most companies, direct and indirect labor accounts for more than 50% of the total cost of fulfillment, excluding cost of shipping. People productivity in a DC is largely based on the feature/function set designed into the systems.

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Topics: order management system, warehouse management system, cost of shipping, material handling solutions

New Warehouse Management System Preparedness

I was recently shopping online from a large Outdoor Specialty retailer, and at check out the shipping warehouse management systemtime was estimated to be 10-14 business days. To see the least I was shocked. All of the products were listed as being in stock and none of them were too large or heavy. I thought to myself that this was way too long in this day and age where a customer is looking for instant gratification and expecting merchandise to arrive in 3 or 4 days or at most a week if coming from one coast to the other. Having previously shopped with this retailer, I remembered that the shipping timeframe use to be about half of what they just quoted me.

I decided to give the company a call to see why the shipping time has about double of what I expected. When I finally reached customer service they told us that the warehouse is having some huge issues in getting any product out quicker than 14 days due to a new warehouse system that they have installed. I asked about expedited shipping to get the products sooner, and I was told they cannot overnight or 2nd day air out anything either because of the new system issues. WOW!

How could a large company implement a new warehouse management system and have these types of issues? I can think of at least one answer and that is more or better testing to be sure you are ready to launch a major new system.

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Topics: order management system, warehouse management system