A majority of holiday shoppers plan to browse the Web instead of malls this season, and that means more business for distribution warehouses that supply online retailers. In a study conducted by The Integer Group, 54 percent of shoppers said they will take advantage of the free shipping offered by e-retailers.
For distributors, an increase in online shopping can mean more sales, but also more headaches. While retailers can load up on staff and extend shopping hours, warehouses may find it more difficult to adapt to the increased demand that arises during the holiday shopping season. To maintain accuracy and speed, warehouses need employees that are highly trained in their position, which can take longer than the training involved with seasonal retail workers. Inventory control can also be an issue, as distributors struggle to keep up with higher turnover of their products.
Supply Chain Optimization For The Holiday Season
For distributors, data collection systems that sync with current ERP software can reduce repetitive tasks performed by employees. Data collection means more time can be spent on training seasonal or additional employees, and accuracy can improve when tracking of merchandise is automated. Skilled employees will be able to direct their talents where they are needed most, instead of performing monotonous tracking and logging processes.
Inventory management also improves with newer systems, providing managers a more clear image of inventory levels and turnover. Mobile barcode scanning solutions are one way to improve accuracy and speed during the holidays. The technology increases the points of data collection and helps track inventory throughout the warehouse. Furthermore, systems that help a supply chain run smoothly during peak operations also help during less hectic periods. Data collection systems will quickly pay for themselves as they improve all links of the supply chain and allow distributors to continually keep pace with changing demands.