15 Considerations in Warehouse Space Planning

During the last recession, new warehouses were not built on a speculative basis. Once the market began to rebound, construction of new buildings could not keep up with the consumption of available space. As a consequence, the nationwide warehouse occupancy rate in most markets is at an all-time high in the mid-90%s.

Defining your company’s warehouse and distribution requirements involves some forward planning. Not only do you have to accurately plan your current space needs but find a potential facility that meets a high percent of your requirements needed for growth. If suitable buildings are not available, then a longer-term strategy of build-to-suit (BTS) is necessary. Regardless of which option (lease, purchase, or BTS), identifying the detailed space requirements is the crucial first step before touring buildings.

Here is a 15 point checklist to help you identify your current space use and future growth requirements:

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How to Budget for a New Warehouse Management System

One of the biggest challenges companies face in acquiring new warehouse management systems is how much to budget. In our experience, 50% of major systems projects are not completed within proposed budget or time frame. Companies must understand the potential costs early on to prevent finding out they can’t afford the system after spending significant time in the system selection phase.

To make matters worse, warehouse management system (WMS) vendors may paint an incomplete picture when companies ask the cost. Some vendors will only focus on the user license, but not the software services or annual maintenance costs. Companies should focus on the following nine cost categories when developing an accurate budget for replacing a software solution:

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How The ECommerce Operations Summit 2019 Can Improve Your ECommerce Fulfillment Strategy

The other day, I talked with a friend that works in multichannel marketing for over 25 years. The conversation turned to how Internet technology keeps accelerating business change. New products and service competitors can be launched almost overnight. Businesses slow to adapt to change get destroyed. Payless Shoes, who recently announced a liquidation of all 2,100 company owned and online stores in the US and Puerto Rico, is just one recent example.

Brick and mortar locations are not the only stores who need to stay on top of innovation. There are just as many potential threats to ecommerce businesses – continual increases in shipping costs; how to decrease delivery times; and low unemployment and increasing labor costs - to name a few.

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9 Considerations Vendors Evaluate In Negotiating Deals

We recently assisted a start-up e-commerce company (the buyer) in selecting a third party logistics company (3PL). The prospective buyer swore up and down they had commitments from Amazon, Walmart and other big box stores. Because of these commitments, the services required EDI and meeting the compliance standards of all of the retailers. The additional constraints were a major implementation and operating cost. The external vendor took the deal only to see some of those retailers’ purchases not materialize. The business plan ended up flawed, putting the contract and relationship at risk.

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Case Study – How One Company Started Its Internal Benchmarking Program

A multichannel business-to-business client with annual sales of $150 million approached us to perform an operational assessment of how to make their two east coast facilities more efficient. The company fulfills e-commerce as well as wholesale orders through industrial supply and home centers with a high average order of over $400 with 9 cartons shipped per order. The strategic plan is to add a west coast facility and to select a new ERP system to replace their 20 year old legacy system.

The company has effective cost controls and expense reporting. The controller’s office produces an elaborate historical management report which summarizes at a high level the company’s transactions, average order, fulfillment expenses, etc. While the company has years of data, analysis did not show them any actionable areas to investigate and improve. To improve insights gained from reporting, one of the longer-term objectives is to detail report work by department and employee upon installation of the new ERP.

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4 Foundation Prerequisites to Maximize E-commerce WMS Benefits

Warehouse management systems (WMS), by themselves, do not bring the high benefits of improved labor productivity and tracking of inventory throughout the fulfillment center. Many small to mid-size e-commerce companies do not have the four foundational prerequisites in place that would allow the high benefits to be achieved. Simply dropping a WMS on top of a paper-based fulfillment environment does not work, and it would be a waste of money.

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6 Requirements to Consider in Your Third Party Logistics (3PL) Systems

The Internet created a level playing field for product sellers. It has spawned millions of e-commerce companies which became merchandise category killers. By a category killer, we mean their assortment is narrow and deep, and it takes sales away from established retailers and other sellers because it offers the customer more choices.

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6 Tremendous Benefits of Ecommerce Operations Summit 2019

Ecommerce has turned retail upside down, so you need to adopt every best practice to reduce costs and provide higher levels of service. There’s only one conference focused exclusively on optimizing direct-to-customer and omnichannel operations and fulfillment: Ecommerce Operations Summit, held April 9-11, 2019 in Columbus, OH.

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How To Get More Productivity In Your E-Commerce Operations

Parkinson's Law is the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." It is sometimes applied to the growth of bureaucracy in organizations; however, in our opinion, it can also be the root of lower productivity in business functions.

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4 Essentials to Planning Growth Of Your E-Commerce Business

Many small to moderate sized e-commerce businesses do not employ sufficient long range planning as part of their business culture. The old joke about the definition of long range planning is operative in some companies: “Where are we going to eat lunch?” Large businesses have comprehensive processes necessitated by the owners and investors and the need to communicate objectives and results to various stakeholders.

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