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Warehouse Management in the Era of E-commerce Growth

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The commercial world has been the most developing sector among other economic spheres due to its high profitability and endless opportunities for growth. Its transition into the digital environment encouraged the development of a multitude of digital solutions, which aim to streamline all the market processes and relationships. 

E-commerce heavily relies on the functioning of the supply chain, its warehouses, and distribution centers, as they make the core of the whole logistics. As E-commerce turnover keeps growing, the warehouses get a higher load to manage, which creates a high demand for regulating solutions like SAP ERP with its modules and overall changes to supply management.

Let’s learn the modifications propelled by global E-commerce development. 

The Changes in Warehouse Management

Warehouse location

Delivery speed is one of the major points used for the E-commerce store evaluation. The faster it is performed, the more satisfied the clients are. Unlike old-school warehouses, which were located only in specific points, there has been a significant rise in the number of local urban warehouses, often located within residential areas. Such proximity benefits the supply chain performance and lowers the shipping costs, even offering a free shipping option. 

Bulk vs. individual purchases

Before the active rise of E-commerce, the commercial sphere was mainly built on bulk purchases, as they were easier to process. Nowadays, with the introduction of E-commerce, even ordinary shoppers are allowed to inventory in warehouses and distribution centers, as all the orders are processed, regardless of their sizes. Small batches and single items may require different solutions, like slotting optimization systems, inventory management systems, warehouse mobility, etc.

Such an extensive approach to buyers becomes possible with the implementation of regulatory solutions, like SAP ERP and its warehouse management module (SAP WM), as it ensures visibility into the movement of every ordered item, even the tiniest, and thus, complete control over the process. 

Shopping patterns

The purchasing moods and behaviors are somewhat changeable and highly influenced by seasonal demands or social media. Such an inconsistency strains warehouse management, as it is highly susceptible to understocking and overstocking. 

Aiming to keep up with the changes and take advantage of them, warehouses and distribution centers need to consider the use of technologies and tools, like SAP EWM, as they help to anticipate the trends of certain goods and refill the stock accordingly. 

Increased returns

E-commerce has managed to streamline the sell-buy-deliver process, performing the buying cycles impeccably regardless of the time of the day. However, its positive influence went even further, as it helps regulate the reverse logistics when customers return the product for specific reasons. 

The ability of the warehouses to organize the return process efficiently adds a layer of reliability to the general image of the store, as customers feel that they are protected against any inefficiencies. 

With the introduction of the SAP tools implemented by its global supplier LeverX, return logistics becomes faster and more efficient, as every product will find its proper lot in the vast space of the warehouse. Along with managing the physical return, the financial return is organized accordingly. 

24/7 operations

E-commerce eliminates the timeframes, as the orders are continuously accepted during the day, and the operational services of warehouses are held around the clock. With the automation of warehouses and the introduction of artificial intelligence into the systems, the warehouses can now boast next-day delivery, functioning non-stop, yet bringing the goods within a few hours to their clients. 

Warehouse technologies

The more E-commerce is growing, the bigger the need for cutting-edge solutions that can turn an already efficient warehouse functioning into an impeccably working environment with the absolute perfection of organization. 

The warehouses adopt new sensors, modules, and robotic technologies into their structure, aiming to add more clarity to their daily performance. 

In response to the expanding realm of E-commerce, the demand for advanced solutions to optimize warehouse operations, such as the implementation of cross-dock warehouse facilities, continues to surge. These innovative warehouses integrate cutting-edge technologies like sensors and robotics to enhance efficiency and streamline daily operations to unprecedented levels of organization and performance.

The Bottom Line

E-commerce has brought the commercial dimension onto a new level, though there is still more to discover. E-commerce became a trigger for the active development of all the related spheres, bringing changes to the warehouse organization and management as well. 

As the heartbeat of commercial functioning, warehouses should accept a new form of their existence, applying new technologies that bring more clarity and control into their functioning.

SAP, as one of the most efficient business regulators, offers various modules for monitoring the way E-commerce functions, as well as provides insights into its daily performance. Since SAP production covers all the warehouse performance points, it is worth contacting the specialists here for further clarification.

Featured Image by icondigital from Pixabay