The percentage of purchases made online is growing in double figures every year. From storage to transport, from packaging to deliveries, and from reverse logistics to returns management, logistics tailored to the needs of e-commerce demand a growing level of warehouse automation, to increase operating efficiency.
But what makes an automated warehouse a useful aid to improving the efficiency and performances of an e-commerce business?
For e-commerce firms it is essential to store products for online sale in a clear, tidy, logical way. Some products have fast turnover, others sell slowly and occasionally, and yet others have long preparation times. All these operating modes can be simplified and controlled with Modula vertical warehouses and WMS (Warehouse Management System) software.
Since there is also a seasonable variable linked to fluctuations in demand, which imply investment costs to provide more warehouses and more space at specific times of year, it is much better to adopt a strategy that minimises investments in warehouse buildings and spaces. The right logistics management in e-commerce can really make the difference between success and failure for an online retail business.
Clear, tidy, logical storage of products for online sale is essential for those working in the e-commerce business. Some products have fast turnover, others sell slowly and occasionally, and yet others have long preparation times: all these operating modes can be simplified and controlled with Modula vertical warehouses and WMS software. With Modula vertical warehouses, goods in trays can be divided in the most effective way for order preparation. Thanks to dividers and partitions, just one tray can contain a very large number of articles, uniquely identified by the software mapping. With a vertical warehouse, all the material is in the same place and the operators no longer have to walk backwards and forwards unnecessarily. Picking and refilling take place in the picking bay, which is at an ideal height for operator ergonomics. Trays may be delivered to the bay either by manual call (using a touchscreen console) or automatically, with remote control. In this case, tray delivery is piloted by the WMS Software connected to ERP systems. At the end of each picking or refill operation, confirmation of the operation is requested, enabling the warehouse to proceed with the workflow or update stocks if equipped with WMS software. Picking is carried out by calling a tray from the touchscreen panel of a console called the Copilot: the tray is delivered to the bay at operator height, the operation is confirmed and the system automatically updates the stocks. All stocks are therefore easily under control.
What's more, with the double bay system the next item can reach the bay while the previous one is being processed, considerably increasing speed and obviously meaning that the operator no longer has to move, since everything is in the same place.
Does your e-commerce business handle valuable materials? Want to be sure that goods are safe from pilfering hands? Modula allows access to trays and products to be restricted using specific logins and passwords, or via access using EKS, BADGE or RFID readers. You can track all workflows at any time.
A customer's disappointment if he does not receive an order or realises that your best-selling product is not available, or gets an email telling him that he will not receive a product after ordering it, can all be avoided with good warehouse procedure management. If you add a Modula automated warehouse to your company workflow, you can easily integrate it with your software, whichever it may be, enabling you to:
• regularly check incoming and outgoing materials and update warehouse stocks;
• manage stock more tidily, with subdivision by different parameters, such as models, sizes or colours;
• manage or predict minimal stock levels more easily, preventing the sale of products very close to stock-out;
• monitor theoretical stock levels and align them with real or desired levels, also through stock-taking checks;
• monitor the alignment between physical and system stock
These operations allow optimal management of orders and just-in-time management of the system as they are processed.
Precise management of warehouse transactions and correct order preparation are fundamental for the least possible returns and for ensuring customers' expectations are met. Accurate picking generates impressive cost savings, because it means correct orders and prompt delivery to the final customer.
Modula drastically reduces the number of picking errors because it guides operators during picking and refills. Visual aids such as the Laser Pointer, the Led Bar and the Alphanumeric Led Bar provide further assistance for more precise picking, even for the least skilled staff. These aids are installed on the upper part of the operator bay. When a specific segment of the bar lights up, this clearly indicates the section of the tray involved in the picking/refilling operation. In combination with the LED Bar, this device provides additional information: quantity, code, description and y axis position (depth). It is a 2-axis pointer. The material is identified by the intersection between a holographic red line (X axis) and a green spot (Y axis). The point uniquely identifies the item to be picked. This options improves picking accuracy and ensures that the operator selects the right materials. It can also be used to confirm orders. It is wireless, making it easy to use anywhere.
Goods ready for shipment but packaging not ready? Shipping speed is vital for e-commerce and plays a fundamental role in the business's success. Everything must be ready at the right time and in the right place. Packaging, labels, protective material and boxes are integral parts of the order and must be available at the same time as the order itself, while also optimising the weight/volume ratio to reduce transport costs.
With Modula, packaging stocks are also under control. Using Modula means having only what is needed, in the right sizes and quantities, also avoiding obsolescence and waste.
Orders for completion, returns, material in standby, partial orders or seasonal products: Modula is the right solution for creating clean, tidy even temporary storage, such as in the returns reception area. It can interface perfectly with other automatic handling systems, to put goods back into store after return. The dynamic tray height storage means optimised storage in the warehouse.
Modula checks the height of the incoming material and the spaces available inside, and positions the tray to minimise the empty space between trays. So there will be no empty gaps, and use of the entire height will be optimised.