Direct to consumer programs have become a necessity for most distribution companies over the last 10 years. The challenges of integrating a D2C operation comes with adjusting the infrastructure of the traditional bulk storage warehouse down to order picking which involves a piece picking with minimal line items per order. Some of the critical areas of change include:
– Storage Medium: Switching from pallet racking utilizing full or partial pallet locations to carton flow and carousel equipment for per piece picking. While the use of pallet racking can still be an intrical part of of a D2C operation, clients with high pick rates will benefit from using these new storage technologies to increase organization of SKUs and increase picking rates.
– Space Constraints: Companies often maximize their space based on full pallet locations. When the need for a D2C implementation arises, often customers will be required to reconfigure their existing space to allow for the new operation. Many customers are able to create new space for this by adding a single or two-tiered mezzanine/pick modules or by moving to Narrow and Very Narrow Aisles (VNA). By moving to a narrow aisle will give you better utilization of your space by reducing aisle size and using new forklift equipment which can effectively operate withing these aisles.
– Software Infrastructure: Many times ERP and WMS systems cannot support a direct to consumer program (often referred to as a warehouse within a warehouse). Depending on the customer’s host software, the implementation or update of a Warehouse Controls System (WCS) allows companies to create the new business rules in their software. A WCS is focused on controlling all of your material handling equipment based on the most efficient routing of conveyors, order picking software, and order management.
– Order Picking Rates: When servicing D2C orders, there can typically be a drastic increase in pick rates needed to get product out the door. Many companies accomplish this through the use of order picking software and hardware such as Pick-to-Light, Voice Directed Picking, or controls on their conveyor system to support the new programs required rates.
– Slotting: An overlooked strategy for many operations is their slotting strategy when implementing online sales. Slotting is placing product in locations to optimize the quantity of orders picked and the equipment used to pick them. By identifying your fastest moving SKUs allow companies to place these products at locations allowing more picks with lower travel time. Logic offers a slotting program which can identify and model your facility for proposed changes to see their financial impact. We use a program which models your facility in 3D to have a visualization and impact of a new slotting strategy prior to any money being spent on infrastructure.
Automation: D2C programs can often lead to the need for a more highly advanced automation process. This can include proper routing of conveyor for a pick and pass operation on your pick modules, the addition of a print and apply system, or the use of a goods to person technology. All of these solutions make system driven decisions for the best route to gain the highest pick efficiency in a order picking operation. The use of a print and apply system can significantly reduce the cost labor involved in a D2C operation while setting a higher standard of quality control.
Please visit us at www.LogicMH.com to schedule a free consultation or reach out to us at Sales@LogicMH.com or call us at 1 (844) Logic MH.
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