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Omnichannel Distribution Technology: 8 Ways Warehousing Technology Can Optimize Omnichannel Fulfillment for Distributors

Effective, efficient operations in distribution centers are key to the creation and continuation of omnichannel shipping and shopping strategies. However, the pathway toward better processes is not always clear. Fortunately, omnichannel distribution technology leverages warehousing automation and technology to improve operations in distribution centers. With distribution centers continuing to fulfill up to 75 percent of retailers’ orders, reports Ben Ames of Supply Chain Quarterly, your organization needs to understand how omnichannel distribution technology can help in these ways.

1. Omnichannel Distribution Technology Must Integrate Existing and New Tech

Omnichannel distribution technology requires a cross-channel approach, and this approach must not succumb to the barriers between old and new technology. In other words, effective omnichannel distribution technology must integrate well with existing and new technologies, explains Jon Kuerschner of MultiChannel Merchant. Including the use of a transportation management system (TMS), yard management system (YMS) and warehouse management system (WMS).

2. The WMS Must Manage Inventory Proactively, Including Optimizing Slotting Procedures

Deploying a WMS is crucial to managing inventory proactively, and this includes optimizing a warehouse’s slots. Up to 60 percent of hours worked during order picking is spent walking between slots, but optimize slotting procedures can effectively cut this time-drain down.

3. Warehousing Technology Reduces Repetitive Processes in Order Fulfillment

Warehousing technology must also reduce repetitive processes throughout order fulfillment. This includes eliminating pick-to-total procedures, in favor of pick-to-carton procedures. Furthermore, walls and peaks must be balanced by implementing waveless picking strategies, such as order streaming.

4. Integrated TMS and WMS Streamlines Outbound and Inbound Freight

Integrating the TMS and WMS streamlines both outbound and inbound freight, which results in better inventory accuracy and management. By tracking the actual incoming and outgoing inventory against projections, warehouse managers can determine how much of a specific product should be ordered from vendors, and the same process applies to reducing carrying costs.

5. Omnichannel Turned Storefronts into Distribution Centers

Warehousing technology

also has the potential to transform storefronts into distribution centers through ship-to-store and online order pickup options in omnichannel order fulfillment. In addition, consumers want to be able to order products at the store and have such orders fulfilled by the warehouse, with 67 percent of respondents citing this is the most important omnichannel order fulfillment option, reports DC Velocity. Yet, consumers still expect to receive products through same-day and next-day delivery to the store. As a result, omnichannel distribution technology allows complete visibility into a retailer’s warehouse, distribution center and other nearby stores.

6. End-to-End Visibility Enhances Customer Service

The level of end-to-end visibility required to create such omnichannel distribution options also inherently enhances customer service. If a problem arises, customer-service representatives who specialize in automated order and product tracking technology, can correctly identify the cause of the problem, identify the best solution to the problem and ensure customers’ happiness. This will result in fewer returns and a better public image.

7. Augmented Reality Is Coming

Augmented reality is another form of warehousing technology that will have major implications for omnichannel for Distributors. Apples recent revelations about ARKit mean the use of augmented reality will stretch into warehousing technology much faster than experts originally believed. In addition, augmented reality will allow pickers to simplify and streamline processes, reports Laura Diamond of Georgia Tech, while verifying each order for labeling, shipping and product accuracy.

8. Optimized, Strategic Route Creation and Management Reduces Transit Time

Getting the right orders to customers is only part of the challenge; customers want to get the right product at the fastest time possible. Thus, routes must be optimized and consider the various ways products can move between warehouses, storefronts and distribution centers. In other words, your organization’s TMS and WMS should consider these order fulfillment options in creating optimize, strategic routes, which will reduce transit time.

What’s Next?

Customers want options, and omnichannel distribution technology is leveraging existing technology and systems with the power of today’s innovative technologies. WMS, YMS, and TMS must combine and work together to provide truly optimized operations, and your organization needs to take advantage of such warehousing technologies today. To find out more about how your company can implement and integrate better warehousing technology solutions, contact Veridian online today.