Retails biggest shopping season is right around the corner, and soon warehouse and distribution centers will be rushing to get their eCommerce orders out to waiting customers. If past Black Friday and Cyber Monday numbers are any indication, holiday order fulfillment and shipping could easily reach an all-time high this year. The challenges associated with peak holiday fulfillment can take a huge toll on warehouse operations that rely on manual order fulfillment processes. During times of normal volumes these manual processes are labor intensive and time consuming and this only multiplies during peak shopping seasons. Insert warehouse automation. Below are a couple ways that automation can ease holiday order fulfillment.

  1. Reduce Order Complexities
    Implementing a warehouse automation system will let managers gain insights into inventory levels, storage optimization, traceability, and a real-time view of material handling equipment and personnel at all levels of the warehouse. It is especially useful for fulfilling large complex orders containing multiple products. These complex orders often require several movements to retrieve products located throughout the warehouse, and with control over material handling equipment and oversight on inventory helps to minimize the number of movements required to fulfill an order. By reducing order complexities orders are more accurate and get shipped quicker.
  2. Eliminate Seasonal Warehouse Staff
    In order to accommodate the surge of holiday orders companies typically hire seasonal warehouse staff. By implementing an automation system warehouse processes are more efficient and require fewer staff to get completed. Without the needed additional resources, companies can save money and time required to fulfill the increased orders.
  3. Reduce Order Shipping Prep Time
    Carriers are also put under a lot of pressure to get customers’ orders to them on time. Since they are transporting a higher volume of orders under tighter delivery timelines, it is critical that warehouses do their part in accelerating time to delivery. Warehouse automation systems have order planning processes to allow warehouse staff to prepare orders in sequence until right before the truck arrives.

As more customers turn to eCommerce for their holiday shopping, the challenges of holiday order fulfillment will only grow. Companies looking to stay ahead of their competitors should consider automating the manual processes that they can sooner rather than later.