Within the past 5 years, almost every major supply market has gone through a technological revolution wherein consumer preferences have shifted and become more towards buying products online.
Most every major supply market has gone through a technological revolution wherein consumer preferences have shifted and become more towards buying products online.
From this world of ecommerce, a consumer has emerged who is educated and able to carry out effective research prior to purchase. This coupled with home bedroom changing rooms and kitchen viewing areas, means the customer is able to demand the best price and quick delivery (often next day or even same day in some instances) With the option to return standard product for any reason – making high return rates, (especially in clothing) the norm
In the current world, where we use most any method to draw people to our websites, and try to deliver, engaging content, including photos, videos, text and customer reviews. Ideally so they order. We accept there will be high demands and increase strain on our fulfilment and returns departments.
Without offering high levels of service often means the customer simply purchases items somewhere else. As the customer unable or unwilling to absorb some portion of the costs to supply this service.
What can be done to help deliver high customer service and show some reduction in processing & returns costs?
When most ecommerce departments where originally setup within businesses, it has often done at the back end of the operation at the low cost, as a reactive measure from the expensive website working well, or a short term measure whilst volumes build. This is an area of the business which often requires temporary labour as to cope with volume peaks and troughs. Compounding problems making a nonvalue added operation harder.
By building an environment which is organized and well thought through, where items are ergonomically placed, delivered within a pleasing well lit environment. With items to be processed bought and taken from the operation along with the addition of suitable IT. By adding a bespoke workstations, designed specifically for the process you have will increase efficiencies and staff moral. (Basic workbenches are never the ideal solution as they are not optimized for your individual process – they do however keep the initial setup costs marginally lower)
Adding Andon type manual call lighting, removes the requirement for staff to move away from productive working. Allowing material shortages and operational problems to be highlighted, whilst not stopping. These systems can be locally or remotely monitored, to help build a picture into problem areas
Reducing manual handling by adding basic conveyors, reduces product movements. Allowing buffering on the infeed and outfeed of workstations, not only helps with productive improvements but also has benefits with health and safety.
The modifications to these areas, may not cost a significant amount and produce real savings. By improving workstation design and environment will increase productivity and should show improvement in staff retention, again showing additional savings in training.