Distribution demands are increasingly complex, with 12 hours or less to process orders and zero cancellability clauses creating vulnerability for the supplier. With manual management for order fulfilment and a lack of traceability, coupled with increasing complexity, any increase in order processing error rate proves costly. Here’s five ways to stop your profit margins from perishing.
1. Optimise Picking
One of the most costly factors for distribution organisations is a high error rate. Inconsistencies in processing, picking, packing and shipping contribute to a significant amount of time and money lost each year by distribution organisations in the UK. In fact, distribution centres lose an average of 3,000 hours a year as a result of unproductive workflow and errors in supply chain. Picking errors pay a significant contribution to this.
So how can you ensure picking accuracy? One way to achieve this would be by converting orders into weight. Technological solutions are available to automatically scan and weigh each product as it is picked. If the weight of the product matches that of the order, the correct item has been picked and can be packed. If this correlation does not occur, an error is flagged. This makes it impossible to not pack an item that has been picked or to pick an incorrect item.
By utilising simple weight-optimisation technology, these errors that devastate the profits and efficiency of distribution centres are reduced to zero.
2. Optimise your Data Management
A second challenge is data management. When dealing with fast-moving consumer goods, the time pressure for dispatch is prioritised over manually collecting relevant and accurate information. Large volumes of crucial data such as weight, batch number and expiration date must be recorded for every product, in every box, in every order – that’s a lot of data.
This is where automated management solutions are coming in; they are able to instantly collect, store and sort data in real-time. Growth in distribution comes from transparency, which is gained by insight that manual management systems can’t deliver. The result is a data system of full transparency, directly squashing the high rate of error in distribution organisations.
3. Ensure Flexibility, Traceability & Transparency
Manual management systems are no longer up to the task of conquering the challenges of time and weight-sensitive distribution, and businesses that are resilient to adopting new technology pay the price.
When queries are raised from customers, an inefficient process of collecting and storing relevant data means that it is impossible to dispute queries. A lack of clarity of the exact quantities and weights of products is costing thousands of pounds in refunds to customers. This lack of traceability makes it difficult to know which errors have occurred and where – but what if there was a better way?
By ditching your manual management system and opting for an automated one, transparency is effortless. Data is collected, stored and sorted within a matter of seconds, meaning that you can gain immediate, undisputable data from past orders.
4. Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Organisations need to be flexible and adaptable to keep up with changing customer demand. With manual management systems, many organisations are unable to achieve the levels of accuracy and resulting speed that customers expect, which materialises in a low level of customer satisfaction.
This lack of customer satisfaction plagues many distribution organisations around the UK as they spend vast amounts of time and money each year trying to recoup customer loyalty after distributing inaccurate orders.
If your organisation faces a high customer dissatisfaction rate, it is likely that errors in your organisation’s processes are common. You may find that by addressing these errors, your customer satisfaction rate will also increase, leading to a far healthier business.
5. Automate your Order Processing
If your organisation is still running a manual system, it’s time to change the game. Manual systems are no longer fit to conquer the challenges of time and weight-sensitive distribution, and organisations resistant to upgrading their systems are missing out on key opportunities for growth.
This is where we come in. We developed FastDespatch, ERP integrated automated software specifically designed to deal with the complexities of time and weight-sensitive distribution. FastDespatch utilises the latest ERP technology to ensure accuracy, traceability and efficiency, working on Sage 200, NetSuite and other ERP implementations.