In deciding whether to shop direct, or in brick and mortar stores, major studies in the past couple years show 80%+ of the consumers state that ease of returns is important to their purchasing decision. The numbers are even more telling after a return is made. An even higher percentage of customers are likely to shop with an online merchant again if the return process is convenient. This includes “free returns”.Read More >
Many of the warehouse assessments that F. Curtis Barry & Company performs are initiated because a client perceives that its warehouse is out of space for receiving and storing product or creating more pick locations, thus limiting the growth of the business. Our approach to interacting with the client is to provide an experienced, fresh set of eyes to view the current layout and to envision potential revisions with the intent of gaining two to five more years in the existing facility.
Here are the top 15 elements we review when assessing a current warehouse layout.
1. Thoroughly understand the flow and utilization of the current layout, including rack configuration, slotting/pick philosophy, receiving, putaway, replenishment, inventory management, and packing and shipping. Include peak seasonal trends and a thorough volume analysis of inbound and outbound product flow.
In today’s world of constantly looking for ways to improve the company’s bottom line, many Operations are being asked to reduce costs or better yet, increase productivity and efficiency and lower cost at the same time. Here are some ideas and practices that we have identified from inventory assessments and warehouse assessments that we have conducted.
Most fulfillment processes are largely manual in nature; only the very largest companies can justify advanced automation. Take a look at your total cost of back end order fulfillment. We did by studying results from each warehouse assessment we have conducted as well our proprietary F. Curtis Barry & Company Benchmarking ShareGroup data. You’ll find that out of costs that include direct and indirect labor, occupancy, and shipping supplies; total labor generally makes up 60%-65%. (We have excluded shipping costs because it distorts comparisons.)
Like many of you, we’ve spent the past two weeks talking with our clients about the results of Fall/Holiday 2008. Here is what we are hearing, along with what our clients think the outlook for 2009 is and some things you can do immediately to further reduce expenses.
Virtually every bit of advertising and promotional material produced by multichannel companies during the holiday season has contained a common phrase: FREE SHIPPING.
In preparation for an article that will appear in the February issue of Multichannel Merchant, we tracked hundreds of promotions that arrived in our postal and e-mail mailboxes from August through December, and polled dozens of multichannel businesses on their free shipping strategies. What we found was an unbelievable array of opinions, conditions, restrictions and timetables. What we didn’t find was any kind of consensus on whether free shipping is a strategy that works.
Look at all the advertising and promotional materials produced by multichannel companies during the recent holiday season, and there’s one phrase they have in common: FREE SHIPPING. It’s the one thing on which everybody seems to agree—yet it’s also something about which virtually everybody disagrees.
As companies grow in size and complexity, providing actionable, analytical information to senior management has become increasingly difficult. No one system provides more than 10% of the data senior management needs. Key data such as plans and history often exist in spreadsheets outside the information systems. Systems such as the telephone phone switches (ACD) have valuable productivity and service data, but management usually doesn’t have access to it. Reports from commercial systems by software companies often leave the user wanting a lot more.
With a soft economy, many retailers are trying to significantly reduce returns in order to boost profits. Some companies are putting more restrictions and conditions on returns. Frankly, I think this will cause further erosion of sales. Who wants to buy a product that can’t be returned, or that carries so many conditions for return?