Overcoming the Order Fulfillment Burden with Warehouse Execution Systems

The demands of speed and accuracy from customers, have placed new stringent requirements on manufacturers and distributors. By Dave Williams

January 26, 2017

Customers today are finicky. They expect to receive their orders as quickly and accurately as possible, while receiving the highest level of service. Consequently, order fulfillment has become more than simply receiving an order and shipping it out to the customer.

Now, it is about processing that order and delivering it to the satisfaction of the customer. After all, when customers are happy with a company’s performance, they will continue to do business with that organization.

Moreover, IBISWorld predicts that consumer spending will grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent over the next five years, reaching $12.9 trillion by 2020. This growth means that retailers will require more industry services to deliver goods to consumers in a timely, precise manner.

As order fulfillment becomes more complex, the burden falls on manufacturers and distributors to meet customer demand in a shorter amount of time. In addition to facing pressure from the customer, these companies struggle with a number of other challenges that create inefficiencies throughout the fulfillment process:

  1. Limited Space: Warehouses may have limited space for storing and staging orders. Similarly, customer sites’ may have smaller “back rooms,” and therefore, require more just-in-time (JIT) order placements.
  2. Unreliable Transportation: The transportation industry has become increasingly unreliable due to the shortage of drivers. If a truck is late or misses its appointment, orders are not only delayed, but also end up sitting in the warehouse, taking up valuable space. Without a streamlined inventory management process, this is an even larger problem.
  3. Lack of Communication: There is often a lack of communication between sales, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and even the customer. This leads to additional changes to customer orders late in the process.

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