The era of ecommerce is also the era of enhanced consumer preferences and personalization. This adds new dimensions to supply chain management in the form of customized orders, retail vendor compliance, and having to deliver more complex product configurations under shorter deadlines. These duties are often shifted further along the supply chain and have resulted in new forms of value-added services in warehousing and distribution in response.
The Main Forms of Value-Added Services in Warehousing
This is the creation of various “kits” of products in advance that can be mixed in with other products to quickly create the final version. A good example is television sets, which often come with things like HDMI cables and remotes. Cable/remote kits are often prepared in advance so that they can be combined and shipped with television sets upon an order being received.
This is similar to kitting, but is more dependent on the needs of a specific retailer or customer. While “kitting” refers to ways that different elements of one product package can be brought together, “bundling” is when multiple products become part of a single package or deal. Bundling is more commonly seen during special promotions or holidays.
Value-Added Functions in Supply Chain Management
Regardless of what form your value-added warehousing services take, there are clear benefits to incorporating them into your supply chain activities.
Value-added services help make shipment sizes, packaging, and inventory levels more efficient and streamlined, which will result in lower production costs by extension.
Kitting helps reduce the amount of time that must be spent picking and packing a product after an order is received. Kits are also, by their nature, easier to adjust as new products come in and older sets need to be upgraded. This further contributes to a more efficient workflow and streamlined processes.
Being able to more effectively customize orders isn’t just a benefit for customers; the use of value-added services in your supply chain lets you exert more control over how products are arranged and distributed. This empowers you to react more efficiently to shifts in inventory and to prevent yourself from having too much or too little of any individual product.
Integrating value-added services into warehousing and distribution operations makes filling orders—especially customized ones—easier and more flexible. This allows customer desires to be fulfilled consistently and improve overall satisfaction.
Finding Value-Added Warehousing and Distribution Services in Toronto
Lean Supply Solutions is a third-party logistics (3PL) fulfillment company whose operations are based around the “Lean Methodology,” a proven philosophy focused on eliminating any operations, equipment, or resources that are not capable of adding value to our clients’ supply chains. By striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, predictable, and quality results. To learn more about the Lean Methodology or outsourcing to Lean Supply Solutions, or to ask any questions, give us a call at 905-482-2590.
When it comes to warehousing and distribution services, or supply chain management in general, keeping costs low is always important. While you should always make sure you are getting quality services, this doesn’t have to mean paying top dollar every time. There are numerous ways that even existing warehousing and distributions services can be tweaked and adjusted to improve savings and enhance efficiency.
How to Enhance Warehouse Efficiency
Reduce Travel Times
Warehouses can reach the point where they become immense, sprawling spaces. While this is good for storage, it can also create situations where order pickers end up wasting a lot of time going from one spot to the next. Look for ways to streamline the pick-and-pack process so that it is easier to move about and less distance has to be crossed. Flow racks or flow path optimization are great ways to address this.
Move Orders to Zones
This is sort of the opposite of the above tip. While reducing travel time is about reducing the movement of workers, this tip is about improving the flow of materials and products themselves. Consider only sending order containers to warehouse zones where active picking is required, for example.
Eliminate Travel, Split Case Selection, and Replenishment
Instead of having your pickers go and locate items, why not bring the items to the picker? Automated staging storage and goods-to-person picking stations can make use of technology to enhance the flow of products through the warehouse.
A layer picker is a type of robot that is best imagined as a sort of “super forklift.” These machines are able to take single or multiple layers and build or move mixed-load pallets with ease. These are extremely useful devices in any situation with large amounts of pallet products.
Control Inbound and Outbound Freight
The services that you use to move freight in and out of your warehouse are some of the largest sources of growing costs in the industry. While you will naturally have less control over the shipping side of the supply chain, that is no reason to let costs get away from you. Focus on competitive bidding and look for areas in your carrier agreements where reductions can be negotiated without hurting overall service levels.
Consider Third-Party Fulfillment
Getting a third-party logistics (3PL) provider is a valid and popular way of reducing costs. By taking advantage of another firm’s supply chain expertise and specialization, you can get expert service and warehousing and distribution services at a fraction of the cost it would take to go solo.
Have a Continuous Improvement Process
You can’t improve what you don’t measure—cliché, but true. Make regular measurements and evaluations of your procedures and processes to find areas for improvement and enhanced efficiency. Set objectives and make sure people are accountable for implementing change. Then, once it’s all over, review and start again.
Warehouse and Distribution Toronto
Lean Supply Solutions is a 3PL fulfillment company whose operations are based around the Lean Methodology, a proven philosophy focused on eliminating any operations, equipment, or resources that are not capable of adding value to our clients’ supply chain. By striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, predictable, and quality results. To learn more about the Lean Methodology, outsourcing to Lean Supply Solutions, or to ask any questions, give us a call at 905-482-2590.