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Black Friday, Cyber Monday, & Holiday Peak Season Success Built on WMS Efficiency

The 2018 holiday shopping season has evolved beyond the traditional shopping days. First, there was Black Friday. Then, Thanksgiving became Brown Thursday. Small-business Saturday arose, and Cyber Monday took hold. Green Monday came about several years ago when companies started looking to tap into December shopping habits for the second Monday of the month. Year over year, the holiday shopping season has grown well into early November, and late December notes Don White via Total Retail. However, in 2018, the days of sales had evolved even further, becoming a week-long event that started the day before Thanksgiving and continued through Green Monday. Every retailer, online and in-store, still has some holiday sale in progress. In order to meet the unprecedented demand for the holiday shopping season for online and brick-and-mortar stores, where sales grew at least 20 percent over 2017, explains Business Wire, requires unmatched WMS efficiency.

How Poor WMS Efficiency Affects Holiday Supply Chain Capacity 

Poor WMS efficiency has a disastrous effect on supply chain success. Poor efficiency may result in bottlenecks, insurmountable peaks in moving merchandise, inability to process orders, lost pick tickets and more. These problems lead to poor customer experiences, including a heightened returns’ rate. In addition, warehouses suffer from a disadvantage. Aging facilities mean greater care must be taken to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of workers. The average U.S. warehouse is 34 years old, explains Michelle Fischer via Inbound Logistics.

Older warehouses are not designed to handle the strain created by e-commerce and omnichannel-driven holiday shopping practices. The problem derives from both the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales that go through the roof around the holidays.

Why WMS Is the Solution to High Holiday Demand

Consider the reasons companies invest in a new WMS. They want scalability, compatibility with other systems, and new features to streamline operations. In a sense, these factors all enhance WMS efficiency. In other words, the solution to peak holiday operations is increased efficiency. As the world has grown more connected, involving the blending of supply chain channels to create omnichannel experiences, the ability to gain real-time visibility and access to the entire supply chain is crucial to getting merchandise in the hands of consumers and B2B partners. WMS efficiency empowers in-store managers to use storefronts-as-a-distribution center. It allows for the introduction of small parcel shipments in the warehouse picking, packing, and loading areas. Dropshipping, accurate inventory management, and continuous slotting optimization all enhance the efficiency of the warehouse and the technology behind it—the WMS.

How a WMS Enables Holiday Shopping Peaks

As explained by 3PL Central, a WMS enables vital features that customers leverage to get the best deals, including:

  • Customer portal. The customer portal gives customers access to self-service capabilities, ranging from ordering to product tracking. WMS efficiency affects this area by keeping inventory visible to supply chain leaders and customers alike, ensuring the supply chain can bend to increased demand by consumers.
  • Order integration. The WMS should also offer integration with new technology, especially shopping carts, to give retailers an opportunity to tap into omnichannel sales channels, particularly e-commerce sales.
  • Billing capture. WMS efficiency also means streamlining billing and order fulfillment, reducing inaccuracies and improving cycle time to complete purchases and ship orders faster.
  • Extensive logistics solutions. The natural next function of a WMS bridges warehouses with the way merchandise gets to stores and consumers, the logistics network. Also, reverse logistics plays a huge role in successful holiday supply chain management, given up to 50 percent of purchases may result in returns. According to Don White via MultiChannel Merchant, returns’ rates for 2017 rose approximately 8 percent, so actual rates for the 2018 holiday shopping season may be much higher than expected.
  • Integration with all supply chain systems. Finally, the most prominent way WMS efficiency affects the holiday shopping season is its unique capability to integrate with all supply chain systems. Of course, older systems may lack this capability, so third-party integrators (3PIs), such as Veridian, are useful in integrating new and old technologies.

Succeed With Peak Holiday Shopping With the Right WMS and Strategy

The peak holiday shopping season will expand beyond expectations, and its corresponding impact on supply chain functions will demand an unprecedented level of WMS efficiency and functionality. If your warehouse is still struggling to keep up, it may be time to consider a WMS upgrade, and Veridian can help you with the selection and implementation process. Make sure your company is equipped to meet the demands of peak shopping seasons for 2018 and into the future.

Veridian, a Manhattan Associates, HighJump, and JDA warehouse management system implementation company, can help you realize your supply chain success. Fill out the contact information below in order to schedule a consultation call with one of our supply chain professionals.