With the surge in online orders since the outbreak of the pandemic, peaks are a daily occurrence for many retailers. The booster for successful fulfillment is a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that keeps inventories online and continuously adapts processes to the current order volume.
As the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (bevh) has determined, the industry will record consolidated growth of 23.2 percent in the first half of 2021. This corresponds to a goods value of around 45.2 billion euros.
Whether this figure will weaken again following the relaxations in stationary retailing remains questionable. This is because people have come to appreciate the convenience of online shopping around the clock. It is not only companies that have not used this sales channel to date that are being called upon to set up store systems on the Internet or with providers such as Amazon & Co. At the same time, existing logistics structures must be aligned with the new multi-channel purchasing reality, which requires high availability of goods and short delivery times, and optimized in terms of efficiency. These challenges can only be mastered with the help of a high-performance warehouse management system (WMS) that seamlessly maps the specifics of e-commerce in parallel with those of the branch store business.
Intelligent features, flexibility included
With the standardized and at the same time individually customized pL-Store® WMS from proLogistik, both B2C and B2B providers are always on the safe side. Both online stores and Amazon can be easily connected at any time. You have the possibility to change the quantity of already imported picking orders until their completion or to cancel them. In addition, an online order can be blocked via the control station before packing. This is useful, for example, when it becomes apparent that goods will not be delivered effectively. A transfer is then made to the setup station so that rework can be carried out. Since the entire order structure is also known to the pL-Store® WMS, the required packaging material can also be defined and allocated automatically by means of a volume calculation. Another highlight is that the utilities involved in shipping e-commerce shipments are captured. This is inventory-relevant for the packaging material held in stock and also forms the basis for the container accounting or calculated debit of the customer. By default, the software is equipped with an interface to DPD and DHL. Additional parcel service providers can be easily connected electronically at any time.
Sustainability at process and resource level
But it’s not just about optimizing the status quo. Ultimately, with a powerful WMS, users also invest in the future and create the conditions for continued successful and sustainable corporate development. The system is designed in such a way that as requirements grow, for example, an automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS) can also be connected to pl-Store® or picking methods such as “Pick to Pack” can be implemented. Sustainability is also enormously important when dealing with packaging materials. Oversized parcels, which usually ship more “air” than goods, quickly become a real nuisance in the face of increasingly environmentally sensitive recipients. The pL-Store® WMS also remedies this by creating a transaction key that not only determines whether classic or multi-step picking makes sense in the current case, but also determines the shipping carton – depending on the size and weight of the individual products. In addition, the label tailored to the respective CEP service provider is generated automatically. This means that online inventory management, including returns processing, is secured throughout. Of course, this is also possible with a connection to Amazon.
Mastering disproportionate demand efficiently and promptly
If large quantities of individual orders from the B2C business accumulate in parallel, a flexible ad hoc response is possible at any time. Integrated intelligence in the pL-Store® WMS ensures that the classic picking and packing process can be skipped if necessary. With the help of software, the goods are then sent directly to the goods issue department, separated, notified to the courier and express service and provided with the automatically generated shipping labels including tracking number. Ergo, short-term delivery times are ensured even when things get “hot”. The pL-Store® WMS organizes optimized processes at minimized costs and makes a decisive contribution to increasing the service level of your logistics in terms of the best possible “user experience” and ideally even exceeding expectations.