Store Managers: ready for batch pick, pack and ship?
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Store Managers: Ready for Batch Pick, Pack and Ship?

Pick, Pack and Ship is the process of finding and collecting merchandise from inventory and packing it for shipment. The “Batch” in “Batch Pick, Pack and Ship” is about improving workflows on common objects and clustering multiple items from several orders or Shipments so that they can be Picked, Packed and Shipped in a more optimized and efficient fashion.

Why Batch Pick, Pack and Ship Matters?

Store Managers: ready for batch pick, pack and ship? - ProcessAs a Store Manager, you might ask why it matters to you. It’s important because if you are not already running a ship-from-store strategy, you soon will. And being able to work on several orders at once will improve your throughput. Omnichannel Retail is a trend that’s growing fast, and customers already get irritated with stores that don’t show detailed inventory levels.  Or if brands are not able to rapidly ship and deliver on promise dates. Some markets like the UK are quite advanced, with 64% of retailers offering omnichannel services. However, most of the world is playing catch-up. This catch-up act is only going to accelerate in the coming two years

Store Managers: WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)?

A ship-from-store omnichannel strategy brings many benefits to the physical store. Impacts include:

  • Grows foot traffic (with in-store pickups),
  • Increases stock turn velocity,
  • Reduces the need for markdowns,
  • Raises the number of impulse buys, and
  • Improves store margins as a net effect.

But it also brings additional work and responsibilities. What’s important to you, the Store Manager is to figure out how to handle this new process. That’s where an easy to use and understand, in-store mobile Batch Pick and Pack system helps make things easy.

That’s NOT What a Store Does!

I can hear the cries already that ‘But MY store wasn’t originally meant to do this’. Ship-from-store pushes your facility to do things it may never have tried before. Warehouse pickers are efficient at this. Now the question is how to help your associates stay on task, be focused, and happier. As well as help their efficiency.

Paper or Digital

Batch Pick, Pack and Ship systems help optimize your pick lists as a start. This can be either fully digital (run on the mobile application) or provided as a paper-based hard copy. There are many benefits to digital, but what’s more important is that you create a process that works for your store. The important point is that based on your staff, current process and available store infrastructure, you can choose what will work for your environment and team. And for both cases, this functionality should be included with your Order Management System.

Optimized Pick List

The idea is that your associates aren't running around the store looking for products for a single shipment.

Part of the Batch solution is Pick List optimization. The idea here is that your associates aren’t running around the store looking for products for a single Shipment, one at a time. You want them picking for several Shipments (and the items they include) on each pick journey. It is more efficient and will make the process faster. After all, as we all know, customer satisfaction improves with speed of fulfillment.

For example, Batch Pick, Pack and Ship gets even better when your OMS has inventory details down to the shelf level and in-store location. Using that data, optimized pick list for intelligent picking routes can be created for each individual location. In other words, you don’t want your associate walking to one extreme end of the store to pick an item, then to the other end to pick the next, then back again, etc. It tires out your associate, wastes time, and slows getting your orders fulfilled. A good Batch solution should consider Pick Paths and efficiencies.

Store Operations Tip

A good tip for optimizing Store Operations is to cluster top selling merchandise. These items should be in locations that are easy to reach and accessible. Which is actually a principle that should be already be being followed! It helps customers shopping in-store, and even leads to additional purchases. It also makes Batch Pick, Pack and Ship a much more effective process.

Feedback

How many retailers really have implement omnichannel practices? Shopper-view research. Download the report here.

Another important aspect of Batch Pick, Pack and Ship capabilities is collecting feedback on the in-store stock. In other words, what’s really in the store. There are many reasons why an inventory management system may not align with physical stock. Factors include item damage, stock shrinkage, misplaced merchandise, or incorrect initial inventory counts. When an associate notices missing stock during a picking route, the inventory system should be updated. This is where the Batch Pick, Pack and Ship system helps improve the in-store inventory accuracy.

Validate

As the Store Picker collects items for the Shipments, they can validate these in real-time. When merchandise is not found they will need to take actions like noting the missing stock, splitting the shipment, rerouting the order to another store, or simply rejecting the shipment altogether. And these functions need to be easily at hand. In some cases (like with a Shipment Rejection), triggers can be put in place to tell the order management engine, for example,  to automatically reroute the order to the next best location for fulfillment.

This updated validation is important to improve the accuracy of the inventory counts for the store, between formal inventory reviews. It ensures the details for the store that are shown online and on digital channels – is correct. More so, by extension, it keeps the customers happier with an accurate solution.

Example of batch Pick, pack and ship, on a table.

Summarize

At the last stage of the Batch Pick, Pack and Ship cycle – the order is ready to be packaged and sent for delivery. At this point, a good Batch solution will provide a summary of the Shipments and orders in the Batch, provide detail on any incomplete Shipments, and provide functionality based on the state of the Batch. While it’s always best to double check, a good Batch solution will give your users the tools they need to be effective.

Batch Pick, Pack and Ship

Shipments all ready to deliver.

Ship-from-store is a new retailing strategy that is gaining ground with Omni-Channel offerings. It can also dramatically improve the business impact of physical stores. Yet, there are added processes and responsibilities at the store level. Modern Order Management Solutions (OMS) are built realizing the new responsibilities facing store managers. As such, a key part of an OMS is having multi-channel applications with Batch Pick, Pack and Ship capabilities.

Ask us about the OrderDynamics’ offering. For us, it is always a pleasure to discuss how we can help your organization get it right.

Author:

Chris Peter  Chris Peter is Senior Product Owner at OrderDynamics. Chris has 20+ years experience in Software Development and Product/Project Management, specializing in the development, management, implementation and support of enterprise level omni-channel and self-service solutions.

 

 

Original Design vector created by Freepik