4 min read

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Wholesale Distributor

October 5, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 4 min read

In e-commerce, your inventory is your biggest asset. Therefore it is always advisable to have extra inventory on hand or a large volume of inventory. This will help you prepare for tough times and also manage your sales in a more flexible fashion. In such circumstances, it is advisable to have access to a large volume of inventory so that you can process incoming orders faster.

warehouse distributor

A wholesale distributor is somebody who can help you with this inventory. Let’s have a look at the things you must keep in mind when choosing a wholesale distributor.

What is a Wholesale Distributor?

A wholesale distributor or a wholesaler is somebody who purchases a large number of goods directly from suppliers or manufacturers and resells them to retailers and e-commerce businesses. They are like the middleman between manufacturers and e-commerce businesses. 

Significance of Wholesale Distributors

Wide Range of Products

Wholesalers usually have a wide range of goods at their disposal. Since they are purchasing in bulk they also get discounts from suppliers. So there is a good chance that you will get access to products you otherwise might not have.

Constant Access

The best part about wholesale distributors is that they have constant access to inventory. They are usually never out of stock and if you ever run out of inventory you can look over to them for a reliable supply.

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Consistent Quality

Also, since the Vendors and suppliers of these wholesale distributors are fixed, they always maintain a cautious consistent quality of the goods. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about quality checks, etc. as they carry them out at their end.  

Geography Specific Products

Also, many of these wholesale distributors have connections with local manufacturers and suppliers. So they will also have a lot of geography-specific products. So if you want to expand your inventory or run specific offers with special products, wholesale distributors can really be of great help. 

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Wholesale Distributor

warehouse distributor

Contact the Suppliers

The first thing to keep in mind when choosing a wholesale distributor is to contact suppliers directly. Many times suppliers have great information about wholesale distributors as they deal with them directly. Therefore you must connect with suppliers try to get the maximum information from them.

Get Contacts of Trusted Distributors

From suppliers try to get contacts of trusted distributors. You will be able to source the best information from them based on the products as they have trusted contacts that have been built over the years. 

Connect With Distributors Individually

The next step is to connect with distributors individually and see what products they sell, the minimum order quantity, and the selling price.

Look for Wholesalers Online

Also, you can look for wholesalers online who have their products listed on the marketplaces. Since B2B eCommerce is also gaining popularity these days, you will find many wholesalers at up their shop online.

Always Check Samples

Once you finalize the wholesalers you want to go ahead with, ask for samples to see how the products are and if they are sustainable enough to be listed on your online shop. Do not go ahead with any distributor without trying or checking samples.

Final Thoughts

eCommerce distributors can be a major boon for your business if you are looking for a variety of products at the best prices. Do your research thoroughly, study the market, talk to suppliers, and only then finalize the wholesaler you are going ahead with. It is a major commitment and requires two-way communication and input for the best results.

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October 5, 2021 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

Best Warehousing Practices to Optimize Your Operations

October 2, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 5 min read

As a business owner, you aim to ensure that your business runs smoothly and caters to as many customers as possible. A streamlined and productive order fulfillment process is required where a warehousing unit plays a vital role. Thus, it is essential to find ways to optimize warehousing operations and adopt them. Adopting the best warehousing practices also helps in reducing costs and time in the warehousing unit.

best warehouse practices

To help you with it, we have listed below the best warehousing practices to ensure you mitigate all your fulfillment-related problems well before they derail your operations.

Best Warehousing Practices

best warehouse practices

Data Automation

When there is a need to track everything at a time yourself, human errors are inevitable. Your staff entering the data in the system manually can further increase the chances of human errors. In such a scenario, automating data is the best option for you. Even if you have your backend data automated, it is better to automate the data collection as well. This will cut down the chances of error and reduce human efforts as well. You can think of using RFID tags or scanners for data entry.

Also, there is a need to make data accessible to everyone in the team. If only a handful of people have access to data, there can be potential problems if they are not paying attention. Instead, the chance of missed data minimizes if the information is accessible by the managers, supervisors, and even staff. This way, you can ensure that everything is running smoothly. And not just this, but this also cuts down the communication delays since everyone in the team knows what’s there and what’s not.

While data collection and automation may look like a big task, it is equally important that you timely sync your data as well. If not, you will not be able to forecast and track the inventory, which will ultimately harm your business. Auto syncing will provide a real-time update of the inventory. Also, with its help, you can identify your operations’ weak points and work on them to streamline and optimize the process.

Inventory Tracking

If you don’t know the location of your products in the warehouse, it means you will have to hunt them later when required. Your staff must always know where the inventory is, even when moved to a new location within the warehouse.

Most of a warehouse operator’s time goes into transit while either picking inventory or storing inventory. It is important to minimize this travel time; even saving a few minutes will do. This will save time and effort; thus, the operator can work on other things as well. But how? By making the warehousing layout more accessible and efficient.

Advanced Shipping Notifications and Efficient Returns

Many warehousing units still don’t have advanced shipping notifications. Relying on regular updates on shipping instead of advanced shipping notifications can sometimes lead to delays. It is not a safe option to rely on shipping updates. Delays and disruptions can happen anytime throughout the warehouse. You can leverage advanced shipping notifications to plan labor efficiently in advance. Accordingly, you can also adjust order fulfillment and transportation to ensure that all requirements are met on time and that transportation costs are also optimized.

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Similarly, making product returns efficient is also the need of the hour. The process of products returns and adding them to the inventory can be a bit complicated. Thus, it requires a system that makes everything more accessible and efficient. You can also organize and plan everything in advance to ensure that it doesn’t hamper your daily operations when a product returns.

Training for Employees

Systems and technology are only effective when your employees know how to use them. If your employees are unfamiliar with the Warehouse Management System and other technology in place, they won’t utilize them effectively. Thus, you should also invest in comprehensive employee training involving technological, innovation, and efficiency-related aspects. You can also run pilot programs to ensure that your training modules and course materials are efficient and up to the mark. Or you can take feedback from the trainers and trainees about them.

If required, don’t refrain from retraining your staff on all operations. Also, ensure that all the staff performs all tasks for which they are trained efficiently and check if they require additional training. It is a good idea to spend some time to get your staff efficient rather than them hitting the floor inefficiently.

Consistent Re-evaluation

Warehouses and distribution centers occasionally require re-evaluation and review of the processes and procedures to evaluate efficiency. Consistent re-evaluation is required for improvement in the future. You can also have evaluations scheduled to remain consistent in your functions, and if any changes are needed, come up with guidelines for best warehousing practices.

Plan Ahead

It goes without saying that you must plan everything ahead of time. Keep your warehouse as organized as possible and plan for all possible changes to ensure you never lose track of anything. If you stay unorganized, things will start getting messy, resulting in delays and setbacks.

These best warehouse practices, when utilized, will help you improve warehouse operations. Every business has its requirements but improving warehousing operations will provide a competitive advantage.

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October 2, 2021 by Rashi Sood

5 min read

Your Ultimate Guide To Warehouse Slotting

August 27, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 5 min read

Warehouse slotting is a process of analyzing and organizing inventory in a warehousing unit. Typically, the practice maximizes the space within the warehouse and helps in the efficient storage and picking process. Besides, it also helps in minimizing the handling and operating costs.

Warehouse Slotting

In addition to efficient space usage in a warehouse, warehouse slotting also allows fewer workers to pick orders efficiently. This ultimately leads to reduced labor count and costs associated with them.

One of the most time-consuming tasks in a warehousing unit is to pick products from different places. Essentially, this counts for around 60% of the workers’ time. Efficiently slotting the products can help reduce workers’ travel time, making them more efficient and productive in other processes as well.

What is Warehouse Slotting?

Warehouse slotting is the process of organizing inventory and space for optimal product picking. It involves analyzing the available storage space and the items that require slotting. The first step is the have a slotting strategy for optimal placement of products. Various strategies can be adopted for this.

Importance of Slotting in Warehouse

The process starts with evaluating the current space in the warehouse and analyzing if any improvements are required in the current slotting process. A simple improvement or optimization can lead to some major benefits:

  • Optimizing and freeing up some space can be used for storing more inventory
    .
  • It ensures that the inventory is spread throughout the warehousing unit.
  • Optimized warehousing space improves inventory visibility, which ultimately leads to improved productivity in workers.
  • Reduced costs associated with product handling.
  • Decreased human error and improved accuracy in the picking process.
  • Balanced workflow and enhanced worker ergonomics.

Warehouse Slotting Strategies

Warehouse Slotting

Warehousing slotting plays a crucial role in the organization’s profitability. The most suitable slotting strategy depends on the number of products, their types or variables, and whether they are sold individually or in a group. Let us take a look at warehousing slotting approaches that you can use to optimize space in the unit and speed up the picking process:

Assess Storage Space

This is a crucial practice to optimize the warehousing space and utilizing it most appropriately. Take a look at the storage plan you are using and decide if it makes it easy to pick products quickly. Evaluating the storage space and planning to maximize the space for utmost utilization will ensure efficiency and ensure that the inventory is always stored in the correct numbers, neither overstocked nor understocked.

Sales Volume

Slotting by sales volume is the most common strategy widely used by most warehousing units. The products with the highest sales and turnover are placed closest to the packing station. This reduces the travel time of the workers as they can pull the orders and take them to packing stations faster. The products with the least sales are placed in the least accessible zones. This is utilizing the space in the warehouse as per the products’ sales volume.

However, this strategy has one disadvantage. Having too many workers in one area of the warehouse can lead to a bottleneck. A zone or hybrid approach will be better in this environment to improve efficiency.

Clean & Organized Warehouse

While placing the inventory in the slot, removing the unused packing material is crucial as it might also take up some space. If the warehouse space is well organized and slots are clean, the empty space is easily visible, and more products can be placed in the same area or zone. By keeping the warehouse clean and organized, the storage space will be increased, and it will be much easier to operate.

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Seasonal Changes

Moving items from one warehouse to another is a time-consuming activity. However, this activity is beneficial during seasonal changes, especially if there is a major change in your seasonal sales volume every season. Suppose you sell air conditioners and heaters. Air conditioners’ sales is most likely to go up in summers and heaters’ sales in winters. Thus, warehousing slotting can be done as per seasonal changes in this scenario.

Slotting as per Inventory Characteristics

When you assign slots to the inventory, ensure that you consider the inventory characteristics, like size, weight, dimensions, durability, etc. For example, if the inventory is heavyweight, you should store the inventory in steady enough slots to bear the products’ weight. If not, the slots might break and damage the other products in the slot. The same goes for other inventory characteristics. Also, keep the potentially hazardous items separately and away from other inventory.

Slotting as Per Inventory Priority

Keeping in mind the priority of inventory while slotting them is essential. Items that are picked up frequently should be kept in easy-to-access locations. So, the workers can pick orders quickly and send them to the packing station. You might also have allotted a different or secluded slot for a certain item; you can ensure it is placed near the packing station if it is frequently picked or shipped.

You can arrange slots based on a number of criteria. Like you set the priority of the slots based on the alphabetical order. You can also set a separate slot for priority products. One great idea is to slot the frequently shipped products in the center of the warehousing unit. But whatever criteria you use, the bottom line is that it should enhance the efficiency and productivity of the workers.

The items should always be easily accessible and reachable by the workers. Also, if there is a need for any equipment, it should be easily accessible by the workers. For example, lifting carts or ladders should be available if a product is placed in a higher space.

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August 27, 2021 by Rashi Sood

5 min read

Understanding the Warehousing Requirements for Food Items

August 3, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

Food products are one such product category that requires strict regulation and thorough care. They need to be kept fresh throughout the supply chain as they are most prone to spoilage, contamination, and spillage. 

As a seller, you need to meet stringent requirements to ensure that the product goes through the process safely without any risk of poor quality. Therefore, you need proper visibility and transparency throughout the supply chain and end-to-end maintenance inside the warehouse. 

Warehousing for food is a sensitive area, and you must fulfill all requirements if you want to dispatch good-quality products. Let’s look at the requirements for warehousing food items and what you should look for when tying up with a fulfillment provider. 

What is Meant by Warehouse for Food?

Warehouse of food refers to a dedicated facility from where you can store, pick, and ship food items. As food items are perishable and more prone to contamination, this facility must be equipped with temperature control, moisture control, and other requirements.

Let’s take a look at what are the requirements of warehousing food items. 

Requirements for Warehousing Food Items

Cold Storage

If food is not stored at the correct temperature, it can lead to bacterial growth that doubles fast. Therefore, the foremost requirement of warehousing food items is freezers. This reason should be able to maintain the temperature of 0°F or -18°C. This will curb the growth of bacteria and protect the food items from spoilage. 

Foods like ice creams, frozen pizzas, meat, etc., require cold or frozen storage.

Dry Storage

When we talk about dehydrated items, pasta, rice, canned goods, etc., require dry storage. This may look like an easy-to-maintain condition, but you still need to be very careful with factors like the temperature, moisture, and the material of the container you use. For example, if you store dried chips in a non-airtight container, they will come in contact with moisture and become soggy. This might also lead to mold growth. 

Therefore, the type of material you choose also plays a massive role in the appropriate dry storage of food items. 

Dried products are also vacuum-packed to avoid any contamination from the air. 

Refrigerated Storage

Refrigerated storage refers to the temperature range of 40° F or 4°C. When goods are stored at refrigerated temperatures, the bacteria and salmonella growth is restricted. The cold food should be prevented from getting warm as it becomes more prone to spoilage and loses its texture. Few items that require refrigerated storage are fruits, vegetables, and freshly cooked items. 

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Temperature Guidelines for Different Food Items

  1. Canned goods – 10 to 15°C
  2. Dairy products – 2°C to 4°C
  3. Fresh produce – 2°C to 4°C
  4. Unripe fruit – 10 to 15°C
  5. Carcass meats – 1°C to 3°C
  6. Fresh seafood – −1°C to 2°C
  7. Frozen food – −18°C or lower

What to Look For in a Warehouse for Food Items?

Pest Control

There is a very high chance of pest attack as it can impact all types of goods. It is primarily a complex problem for dry fruits such as grain and rice. Your warehouse provider must have a solid plan to ensure that pests are not found anywhere in the facility. They must cater to indoor and outdoor pests to prevent contamination.

Sanitation Cycles

The following requirement is sanitation. Proper sanitation is the key to superior quality storage. The warehouse facility and its employees should follow the best practices to prevent the spread of any food-related allergies, environmental pathogens, or other illnesses through cross-contamination. 

Temperature Control

Like we discussed above, temperature control is necessary for different types of food, and your warehouse provider must follow the best practices for the proper storage of goods to maintain the quality, taste, and texture

Personal Hygiene and Training

The employees of any warehouse are the forerunners. There should be SOPs established for personal hygiene and training to be sanitized and healthy to carry out the warehouse operations. 

Stock Rotation

With perishable items like food, proper stock rotation is a must. The first in, first out inventory strategy should be followed if you want to maintain the quality of the goods. Like it is said, one foul Apple can spoil the lot. Therefore, you must regularly check and rotate the stock. 

Real-Time Inventory Tracking

In case there is a fault with any of the products, there should be real-time inventory tracking so you can identify the error and trace back the development immediately. 

Packaging Process

Not every food item is packed in a similar manner. For example, dry products require air-tight packaging. Therefore, your warehouse must be able to accommodate different types of packaging material for your products. 

Shipping Techniques

Last but not least, it is more important to maintain the quality of the product once it is dispatched from the warehouse. If the product’s cold chain is broken, it can hamper the quality of the product by many folds. Therefore, you must look for shipping partners. A warehouse must be associated with the shipping partner that can handle the shipping and delivery of perishable products with the right temperature and requirements. 

Final Thoughts

Warehousing food items is a crucial task. It requires utmost attention and an eye for detail. It can have more remaining damage if you do not pay attention. It is intelligent if you invest in warehouse management systems that can help you stay on top of the quality of your products. Always look for 3PL fulfillment providers that can help you with end-to-end storage, processing, and shipping of food products so that you can maintain a seamless supply chain throughout. 

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August 3, 2021 by Srishti Arora

4 min read

Products That Strictly Require Temperature-Controlled Storage

July 29, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 4 min read

When deciding to rent a warehousing unit, many eCommerce sellers come across a question – whether to rent temperature-controlled storage or a regular one. Climate-controlled warehousing maintains a consistent temperature throughout the warehousing unit. Some units even provide enhanced humidity control. Although a climate-controlled storage unit might be expensive compared to other units, it can offer more peace of mind when storing valuable products that can be damaged due to extreme temperatures.

Temperature-controlled storage

They are highly recommended when you store products for a longer time or in extreme cold, heat, or humidity areas. A lot can happen to the products when they are stored in a warehouse. Moisture can build up, or pests are common. So, how do you ensure that they are safe all the time while sitting in a storage unit?

What is a Temperature-Controlled Storage?

Temperature-controlled storage is a warehousing unit where steady temperature and humidity levels are maintained throughout the unit. Typically, the temperature is between 55 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature and humidity are important factors as they create moisture and affect the products’ shelf life.

Products that Need Temperature-Controlled Warehousing

Let us now take a look at the items that require climate-control storage units:

Household Appliances

The electronic or mechanical parts of household appliances are temperature sensitive. Very hot or cold temperatures can cause cracks or rust on the appliances. It can even permanently damage the products. Humidity can also lead to fungi like mold or mildew grow inside the appliances.

So, if the product is stored in areas where humidity or moisture is present, you must consider renting out a temperature-controlled warehouse. You can conveniently store your household appliances products, like microwaves, ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, or dryers without worrying about them.

Clothing

For customers, buying season-specific clothing can be expensive. It is a practical idea to keep the season-specific clothing in climate-controlled storage to make them last longer. Storing products in the storage units will help keep the clothes in good shape while also clearing some usable space in the shop shelves/godown. It is suggested that before you store your clothes in a storage unit, you can put them in a plastic storage box for an added protection.

Wooden Furniture

Wooden products can warp or even rot when exposed to moisture for a long time period. So, store wooden furniture like table, chair, bed, décor, or more away from moisture. If you plan to store your wooden products for a long time, then it is a good idea to store them in a climate-controlled unit.

Not only wooden products but also storing leather products in high moisture areas can also cause the material to crack. Or the material can also get fungus or discolored. So, if you have expensive leather pieces, it is essential that you store them in a temperature-controlled unit to keep them safe.

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Photographs

Climate control storage is critical for photos. If stored in a hot environment, the photos can deteriorate, stick together, or even fade. Imagine how the buyers will feel if they receive your product in that condition. So, you can store the photos or photo albums in a climate-controlled storage unit.

This will prevent the images from possible damage and ensure they reach the buyers in the best condition.

Musical Instruments

High-quality musical investments are very costly. They are very delicate items and certainly require care in climate-controlled conditions, even for a short duration.

Besides, heat can also damage the adhesives used to hold the instruments together. For example, the piano has keys and the guitar has strings that can be damaged by humidity or moisture. Similarly, musical instruments made of brass can be damaged due to humidity or heat.

A climate-controlled storage unit aims to preserve the items’ quality and increase their shelf life. Temperature-controlled storage units help in maintaining the integrity of the products. They also help in offering a pleasant customer experience as the products reach the customers in good condition. The products that we have talked about above as just a few examples that require to be stored in a climate-controlled unit. To discuss if your products require temperature control, you can also talk about it with the warehouse operator. The ultimate goal of storing products in a cold-storage warehouse is to keep them safe and in good condition.

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July 29, 2021 by Rashi Sood

5 min read

Understanding Temperature-Controlled Warehouses and Their Functioning

July 13, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

A warehouse is a dynamic zone where a lot of activity occurs. Even though there are designated shelves and racks where products are stored, there is a chance that temperature fluctuation may occur due to the constant movement inside and outside of the warehouse. This could lead to deterioration in the product quality, and you may not realize the impact it has on the customer’s overall shopping experience. 

Along with storing your products, it is essential to maintain the correct temperature required by other products. You can only achieve that with temperature-controlled warehousing. Specific industries require a rigorous regime for temperature control and have specific warehouses for the same. But in a country like India, where the temperature is usually tropical, it can be scorching at times. You must provide a temperate storage condition to the inventory you stock. 

Let’s have a look at temperature-controlled warehousing and its benefits. 

What is Temperature Controlled Warehousing?

Temperature-controlled warehousing refers to the storage of products at a particular temperature range irrespective of the temperature outside the facility. For example, if you need to store products at a temperature of 0 to 8°C, a temperature-controlled warehousing solution will help you achieve that even if the temperature outside is 40°C.

Components of Temperature Controlled Warehouses

Temperature-controlled warehouses have several elements that essentially help maintain the correct range of temperature for long periods. They need to be fixed systems for controlling airflow, high-strength humidifiers and dehumidifiers, and moisture control systems so that the products do not get too dry.

Here is a list of the components of a temperature-controlled warehouse –

  • Microprocessors and digital temperature control monitors
  • Refrigeration systems, target air cooling systems
  • Weatherproofing
  • Insulation of the building
  • Specialized storage spaces like walk-in freezers, cold storage, etc.

Humidity Levels for Several Products

According to research and application, here are a few relative humidity levels suggested by experts that you must maintain in temperature controlled warehouses – 

  • Paintings & fine arts – 50%
  • Fabrics – 55%
  • Papers – 35%
  • Electronics – 60%
  • Metals – 55%
  • Wine – 50 to 80%
  • Wooden items – 30 to 50%

Benefits of Temperature Controlled Warehousing

Increased Shelf-Life 

Temperature-controlled warehousing can help you store your inventory for longer as it helps improve the shelf life of the products. If you keep products without a temperature-controlled setting, there are chances that the inventory will perish sooner, and you will have to invest more in purchasing the same amount of stock. If you want to run your stock for longer and maintain its quality, you must invest in temperature-controlled warehousing, especially in a tropical country like India. 

Maintenance of Supply Chain

Most perishable products like meat, milk, dairy, cosmetics, etc., require a maintained supply chain at a specific temperature. If the supply chain is broken, it will impact the quality of the product, and your customers will receive a substandard outcome. Therefore, to maintain the supply chain and ensure that the quality of the product is maintained at every step of the journey, it is essential to utilize temperature control in your warehousing systems. 

Trained Resources

Another great advantage of temperature warehousing is trained resources. You need to have people with the skill and knowledge about the system to manage the warehouse carefully. Therefore, it is recommended that you sign up with 3PL fulfillment providers with temperature-controlled warehousing so that your entire order fulfillment and processing can be maintained with an accurate and qualitative supply chain. Shiprocket Fulfillment is working closely to bring you temperature-controlled warehouses that can help you maintain a cold chain for your required products. Stay tuned to the space to get more updates about the same. 

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Safe and Accurate Delivery

What temperature-controlled warehouses can you ensure safe, and I get a delivery of your products with thorough maintenance of the product quality, shelflife, and other essential parameters. 

Maximum Customer Satisfaction

If the product quality is good, you can ensure that the customer will be satisfied. With thorough checks in place and product specifications met, you can make sure that the customer invests in your product again. 

Industries That Utilize Temperature Controlled Warehousing

Cosmetics

Cosmetics like lipsticks, foundations, concealers, and other products for the creamy consistency require temperature-controlled warehousing as they melt in high temperatures and come to dry in very cool temperatures. Therefore they need an optimal temperature for being stored. 

Pharmaceuticals

Most pharmaceutical products need to be stored in a cool and dry place. The compounds are sensitive and might react when exposed to high temperatures or sunlight. This makes them more susceptible to damage and can also be dangerous to health if not stored correctly. 

Packaged & Fresh Foods

Most fresh foods like meat and dairy require temperature-controlled storage as they perish very quickly. Even some packaged foods require temperature-controlled warehousing to maintain their quality for a more extended period. Overall, all food items do require temperature-controlled warehousing

Electronics

Electronics are probably the most widely shipped item today. Even they require optimal temperature for being stored because, in high temperatures, the components can expand and be hazardous if not taken care of. Primarily spare parts and batteries that contain elements like Lithium should be stored in cool temperatures so that they do not leak or burst. 

Final Thoughts

Temperature-controlled warehousing is more than a choice in India. With a vast spectrum of temperatures, it can be difficult to store products without temperature-controlled warehousing. Therefore, invest wisely and choose a 3PL fulfillment provider that can also provide you with temperature control for your products. It is an intelligent choice as it helps you bring out the best foot forward in front of your customers without compromising on your budget. 

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July 13, 2021 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

Modern Warehouse Trends to Watch Out For in 2021

July 2, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 5 min read

Warehousing is an integral part of the logistics industry. It bridges the gap between the production and consumption of products. With the outbreak of the worldwide pandemic COVID-19, things have changed. The modern warehouse has come into existence. New warehousing technologies and practices are being invented to meet the greater eCommerce sales these days.

modern warehouse

Flexibility in terms of fluctuating demand has been the biggest asset for modern-day warehouses. Meanwhile, automation in the industry continues to offer better efficiencies and cost-effective measures. The design and functioning of the modern warehouse are other benefits on offer. To help eCommerce have a flexible but strong supply chain, modern warehouses are implementing the following changes:

  • Warehousing services on demand
  • Increased automation
  • Warehouse to go green
  • IoT technology

Read below know the modern warehouse trends for 2021:

Modern Warehouse Trends 2021

The outbreak of COVID19 has changed the logistics and warehousing sector a lot. During the lockdown, many organizations were left with excess inventory that could not be sold, whereas many organizations could not get access to inventory. The supply chain status was a nightmare with unpredictable consumer behavior, unprecedented demands for raw materials and products.

Currently, the warehouses have made some required changes to stabilize the supply chain. But, now is the time to adopt some strategies to re-organize the warehouse. Here are a few modern warehouse trends to help you up your warehousing game:

modern warehouse

The rise in Automation

Warehouses around the world have automated most of the crucial functions in warehouses across the world. Apart from automation in the functions, it is estimated that by the end of 2025, warehouses will have robots installed as well. Robots can help with tasks like picking, sorting, packing, batching, shipping, and shipping. Many big warehousing companies have already invested large amounts in automation to make their fulfillment centers more efficient. Robots can handle thousands of tasks efficiently and cost-effectively.

Mobile Robots

Mobile robots are machines that are not bound to be placed in one place. They are not fixed and can be moved. They can move around the warehouse; they can be guided to follow a specific route or path. They can be navigated manually from other devices to ensure they move around a specific route only.

Mobile robots can be used to transport and take over duties that are handled by manual forklifts, conveyors, and towing machines. They can also be used for packing, sorting, and moving goods.

Drones

Drones have been in operations since around 2013 in warehousing functions. The improved technology and innovations in hardware and software have led to the increased use of drones. They can be navigated safely without GPS. Besides, they can correctly locate or identify inventory as well. On top of that, drones are extremely cost-efficient and scalable as well.

Modern drones come with HD quality video capacity as well as cloud connectivity. The best part is that they are now being used for shipping and delivery as well. The other uses of drones include barcode scanning, cycle counting, inspecting stock, retrieving goods, and conducting aerial inventory scans. The drones these days come with improved battery life and stability.

IoT – Internet of Things

IoT or the Internet of Things helps in connecting millions of devices (worldwide) and sharing data through the internet connection. Through a wireless or internet connection, anything can be accessed or shared. With the help of IoT, important information or data can be communicated in real-time without any human intervention.

The IoT is playing a pivotal role in warehousing automation as it makes the warehouse a well-connected and coordinated unit. With the help of IoT, modern warehouses can be connected well with robots, drones, equipment, and inventory. The IoT helps the systems to collect, share, and store data. It also enables tracking of all the connected devices, like robots and drones, and managing temperature in cold storage warehousing.

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Cloud-based Software

Cloud-based software has become an essential part of modern-day warehousing units. They help in managing warehouses. They don’t require an IT infrastructure but can be handled conveniently by the team. Many organizations are widely using cloud-based software, and it is undoubtedly going to become one of the most used warehousing strategies in the coming time.

Wireless Fleet Managing & Tracking

Wireless fleet management is also gaining a lot of traction lately. It can help monitor and control warehousing vehicles. It helps in completing the tasks efficiently without any delay due to finding and locating vehicles. With the help of wireless fleet tracking and managing, the vehicles and their performance can be monitored conveniently. It can also assist in vehicle maintenance, in terms of data collection related to vehicle service warnings, damage alerts, driving risks, and other such problems.

Radio Frequency (RFID) Tagging

RFID or radio frequency tagging is a technology used to identify the tags attached to products or goods digitally. It uses electromagnetic fields to fulfill its tasks. RFID tags store a lot of data, and they can be integrated with IoT to enhance inventory management. Many warehousing managers have increased the usage of RFID for inventory counting lately.

Voice-activated Technology

More warehousing units are turning away the conventional methods and are using voice-activated technology for workflow processes. It takes a lot of time for warehouse workers to scan the barcodes if the serial numbers are too long. A voice-activated technology will increase productivity as the workers will be able to complete their tasks in lesser time. In addition, the technology also improves accuracy, which can help improve customer satisfaction and higher products.

Renewable Energies

Many warehousing units are exploring solar and renewable energy sources as warehouses have high electricity consumption rates. Warehouses have huge roofs where they can install solar panels. Renewable energy helps lower down operation costs as electricity bills are reduced.

The Final Words

Modern technologies like automation and IoT are slowly but steadily transforming the way warehouses operate. Automation and other modern trends are the best ways to improve warehousing efficiency. Moreover, increased efficiency and productivity can help make the warehousing future-proof.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
July 2, 2021 by Rashi Sood

6 min read

Best Practices To Manage Cold Storage Warehouse

May 24, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 6 min read

Online businesses face the problem of storing and transporting temperature-sensitive and perishable products. Thus, there is a need for cold storage warehouse. However, managing a cold storage warehouse is a task to maintain.

cold storage warehouse

If we store things at our home, they can be stored easily. However, it is challenging to store products when it comes to a professional and big cold storage warehouse, especially due to maintaining the right temperature. For the equipment in the warehouse to work in the best possible way, the right temperature in the warehouse must be set.

The majority of the items stored in a cold storage warehouse are frozen food items. But the cold warehouse plays a critical role for other industries as well, such as pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and high-tech electronics.

As the demand for cold storage warehouses is at an all-time high, there is a need for warehouse operators to come up with the best solutions and strategies that can keep the products cold without increasing the operating costs significantly.

Problems Faced by Cold Storage Warehouse

cold storage warehouse

Equipment & Human Resources

Equipment may take a toll inside cold temperatures. Taking the equipment out from the warehouse to a low temperature might lead to moisture creation. This can also damage the equipment.

Electric Lift Trucks

In a low-temperature environment, like a cold storage warehouse, the average life cycle of a lift truck battery can be hampered. A battery that lasts for as long as 8 hours at room temperature may now last only for 4 to 6 hours in a cold storage warehouse.

Batteries

The low temperature in the warehouse might also affect the battery of the scanning devices. Constant exposure to such cold temperatures might degrade the battery’s life by up to 40-50%.

Best Practices to Manage Cold Storage

cold storage warehouse

In a cold storage warehouse, the biggest challenge is obviously maintaining the cold. It affects the employees, scanners, computers and increases wear and tear on equipment. It may also lead to the need for frequent maintenance of the machinery. However, it is imperative to maintain the cold temperature to ensure all the products in the warehouse remain safe to consume and use.

If the temperature varies, the product may become unsafe for consumption. Or it may also lose its effectiveness. Let’s take a look at the best cold storage warehouse practices to keep the right temperature, equipment functioning, employees healthy, and products safe for consumption and use.

Heat Exchange

The most important warehouse practice is to control the temperature in each part of the warehouse. For example, frozen products must be kept frozen, while refrigerated products must be kept refrigerated. The flow of energy must be controlled to prevent its movement from high-temperature areas to lower-temperature. This is imperative to ensure all products are kept in the right temperature zone.

In the home, the temperature is maintained through doors and walls. But this method is not useful in a cold storage warehouse where new customers are constantly coming on board, new products are entering, and the warehouse needs to configure routinely. For instance, the right temperature for ice cream is -10 degrees F, dairy products are 34 degrees F, and vegetables can be stored at 55 degrees F.

So, the best solution for cold storage warehouses is insulated curtain walls. These are plastic modular curtains that can be deployed to separate warehouse areas into separate temperature areas. They are effective and can create a temperature separation ranging between 15 degrees F to 40 degrees F.

Maintain Accurate & Up-to-date Records

It goes without saying that products kept in a cold warehouse are sensitive to temperature changes. So, the best warehouse practice is to keep the products cold but as per the accurate cold temperature required for them. Here, technology comes in very handy. You can make use of temperature sensors that can automatically track the current temperature and trigger alarms.

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Personal Equipment for Employees

Employee comfort is often an afterthought or even neglected in most cold storage warehouses. However, providing your employees with gloves, insulated pants, comfortable coats, and other equipment to help them stay warm inside the cold warehouse is imperative. It ensures that the warehouse temperature stays consistent, and the employees can stay inside the warehouse for long.

If employees are keeping the doors open for long to keep themselves warmer, this may affect the temperature in the warehouse. Or the temperature protocols may be violated. If an employee feels cold inside the warehouse, his efficiency to pick products and perform other operations is also affected. In a nutshell, providing equipment to the employees improves their efficiency as well as warehouse operations.

Use of Automation

Cold warehouse storage is expensive than other warehouse spaces, as most of the cost is constantly associated with keeping the products at a low temperature. Here, automation can help the cost down significantly by improving efficiency. Such as using Automated Storage and Retrieval System and equipping high-density pallets can make the operations efficient.

Notably, automation also reduces human efforts and help reduces labor cost that can help save on cost. Autonomous Guided Vehicles and automated pallets, and depalletizers for shuttling products throughout the warehouse make it possible for a few employees to manage all the operations. The advantages of automation go beyond cost-saving.

Human resources are prone to errors. They may leave the doors opened or forget to record the incoming or outgoing of the products. Automation helps in reducing the possibility of human errors. With the help of an automated system, you can reduce the cooling costs and ensure all logs are updated.

Best Equipment for Cold

The equipment used in a cold warehouse should be designed for the cold. For example, using or operating a touchscreen when you are wearing a heavy glove is difficult. For this very reason, cold storage warehouse equipment needs to be designed with buttons that can be operated through gloves. When you move a device from one temperature zone to another, it can easily short out. This should also be kept in mind while procuring the equipment for a cold storage warehouse.

The best practices help improve the equipment and procedure that can add up to savings and bring greater profits down the line.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
May 24, 2021 by Rashi Sood

6 min read

What are the Warehousing Requirements for D2C eCommerce Businesses?

April 29, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

In 2021, if you are still processing large eCommerce orders from a makeshift warehouse or your studio, your business is in for a challenge. With the increasing internet penetration and access to eCommerce, users from across the country are now turning towards D2C eCommerce stores for shopping, even the essential products. Since everything is available online, buyers prefer getting it delivered to their doorstep. 

However, with increasing order volumes, you need to prepare additional space to process them accurately. Warehouses are not just a single unit of operation. They are areas where the real action happens. All eCommerce fulfillment operations like order management, inventory storage, picking, packaging, etc., are carried out in the warehouse. Therefore, you need to research all aspects properly before committing to any long-term plan or outsource operations.

If you are just starting, here are some of the warehousing requirements for eCommerce businesses in 2021. Let’s dig deeper to understand them better. 

Warehousing Requirements for Smoothly Running eCommerce Fulfillment

Slotting Optimization for Inventory Management

Organization in the warehouse is critical for eCommerce businesses. Since the entire process is extremely fast-paced and you need to process orders quickly, an organized warehouse will facilitate the same. That is why slotting optimization is essential for eCommerce warehouses

Optimization refers to the warehouse loading process in which you identify the most critical storage location for each product and store it accordingly. Sorting optimization lets, you pick orders faster and further enables quick and accurate order processing. 

You must analyze your existing stock and seasonal sales forecasts for inventory growth and then decide your business’s best slotting optimization technique. 

Warehouse Management System

The following requirement of commerce businesses is installing a warehouse management system. The warehouse management system helps you establish the best floor plans, picking rules and also helps maintain synchronization between the incoming orders and the inventory.

If you do these functions manually, they can lead to a considerable delay in order processing, eventually causing late deliveries and a poor customer experience. A warehouse management system lets you optimize orders based on priority and does significant heavy lifting.

Warehouse management systems also help you forecast inventory and demand to be on top of your game and not accumulate dead stock or face unfortunate situations. 

Hand-Held Terminals for Order Picking

To ensure proper storage and packing, it is essential to put barcodes on every incoming product inside the warehouse. Also, while picking orders, you must use handheld terminals (HHT devices). These devices are directly synchronized with the warehouse management system and can detect the product from the inventory. This way, you can conveniently pick orders without errors and process orders with utmost accuracy. Also, automation will help you speed up the process by many folds. 

Picking Strategies

Picking might seem like a tiny task in the whole fulfillment process, but it is indeed an essential one. A vital requirement for warehousing is devising picking strategies.

You must try and incorporate batch picking, zone picking, cluster picking, or wave picking strategies. For eCommerce businesses, cluster picking is the most effective speaking strategy as a group of orders are pieced together into a cluster and then picked up together. This makes the process faster and enables you to fulfill multiple orders at once.

Packaging Material and Inventory

Without packaging material, you cannot successfully fulfill any order or deliver it. Therefore, a critical warehousing requirement is to stock packaging inventory and utilize it for every order. An intelligent approach would be to map SKUs to packaging material, so you know which packaging has to be used for every order. This will enable you to correctly pack in order, reduce weight disturbances, and ship better. 

Shipping Solution

Shipping solution helps you automate shipping operations along with warehousing ones. It enables you to ship with multiple courier partners, and you can deliver sooner with a wide pin code reach and express delivery. Shipping solutions give you the advantage of handling non-delivery seamlessly by automating functions and also give you a superior post order tracking experience with the help of tracking pages, SMS, and email notifications. 

Reverse Logistics Management

Last but not least, an essential warehousing requirement is reverse logistics like management. Without reverse logistics, you will not be able to handle return orders and will lose out on customers because of the same. Your warehouse must be equipped to accept incoming orders and merge them with the inventory or ship or exchange as soon as possible. 

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3PL Fulfillment – Your Hack to Achieve These Requirements Without Capital Investment

If you are ready to see an eCommerce business that has just started, investing in warehouse capital can be a daunting task. You will need to lease or rent a warehouse space where you set up operations all by yourself. If you do not do so, you will be running your business from your house, basement, studio, etc. With self-fulfillment comes the challenge of storage, aura management, and seamless shipping. Since you require a team to handle these operations efficiently, it can get challenging to run the business smoothly.

However, you can meet all these warehousing requirements for your eCommerce business by outsourcing operations to a 3PL fulfillment center like Shiprocket Fulfillment. 

Shiprocket fulfillment enables you to store products and inventory in thoroughly equipped fulfillment centers located across the country. With this, you can keep products closer to customers and deliver 3X faster. It also helps you reduce RTO orders with efficient delivery and reduce weight discrepancy with an automated falcon machine. With a skilled team at your disposal, you can achieve all warehousing requirements without actually investing in any of them. Moreover, you can save on fulfillment and shipping costs by a margin of up to 50%. If you want to work smart and not complicated, outsourcing eCommerce fulfillment operations is your best bet. 

You can save on money, time, resources and do your business much faster than your contemporaries. 

Final Thoughts

It is vital to fulfilling all warehousing requirements before you set up a warehouse and start shipping. However, you cannot achieve everything if you are just beginning. It is intelligent and lets a third-party fishermen company take care of your business and help you gain profits. 

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April 29, 2021 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

Tips for Warehouse and Distribution Center Management Success

April 27, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

Without efficient fulfillment, your eCommerce business cannot achieve maximum growth. According to a report, the logistics sector in India is expected to touch US$200 billion by 2020 & India’s warehousing requirement is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 9% to 1,439 million Sq. Ft in 2019 from 919 Sq. Ft in 2014. This indicates the warehousing and fulfillment sector is on the rise in India. With the increasing requirements of e-commerce businesses and the vast spread of logistics in India, fulfillment centers are the next big thing. 

If you own a warehouse, you would understand the kind of Input it requires a successful functioning. Your warehouse acts as your distribution center and also as your storage in most cases. If you do not own a warehouse, you can understand the requirements and prepare your business.

With the increasing trends, it is unnecessary to have a warehouse to run your eCommerce business successfully. Let’s find out more about warehousing & distribution center management success. 

The Modern-Day Fulfillment Center = Warehouse and Distribution Centers

The modern-day fulfillment center is a culmination of storage, order processing, and shipping. Earlier businesses used to have separate storage known as the warehouse and different facilities used to distribute goods. The goods were often brought from the warehouse to a distribution center and then sent further for order delivery. Today’s fulfillment centers are equipped with all the necessary infrastructure and processes to ensure that storage, order processing, and distribution can happen from the same place.

Fulfillment centers take up warehousing by storing the inventory for multiple eCommerce businesses and processing the orders as and when they receive them from the company. Next, they take care of the picking and packaging operations involved with autoprocessing and move the orders to the shipping stage. These fulfillment centers have different areas designated for handling incoming and outgoing inventory to act as warehouses and distribution centers at once. 

Let’s move further to see how you can ensure operational success within the warehouse and distribution center. 

How to Ensure Operations Success?

Prepare Warehouse Floor Plans

To ensure proper order processing within the fulfillment centre, it is necessary to prepare a warehouse plan to store inventory systematically and create intelligent routes for optimized picking and order processing. This gives you a map of the entire functioning within the fulfillment centre, and you can allocate space and resources accordingly. This blueprint will help you with effective management when you set up operations. 

Segregate Inventory

The next step is to segregate inventory within aisles, racks, bins, etc. You must know by which category your products are located so that the packing process can be simplified and the time spent in this operation is reduced to the bare minimum. If your inventory is not appropriately segregated, the picking operator will keep roaming around in the distribution facility and be confused about where you want to pick up the product. Also, all the products must be barcoded to be easily tracked within the warehousing and distribution center. 

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Devise a Uni-Flow of Operations

The next step is to devise a unique flow of operations. This means that all the processes must flow in a single direction. If there are many too and fro between the operations, there might be confusion, and the resources might get entangled within the system. If you want to ensure seamless processing, devise a floor plan and routine that gives you a Uniflow of operations. 

Hire Skilled Resources 

The next crucial step of running a warehousing and distribution center effectively is by hiring skilled resources. Your resources are going to be the heroes of your Centre. They will be running the show, so you must ensure that they know their business and are trained to carry out daily operations. Along with that, they must also be trained to tackle difficult situations. 

Conduct Fulfillment Training

The next step is to conduct fulfillment training for all the people you hire. You might have a staff that does not necessarily work actively on the floor. However, they must know about every operation they can handle any emergency easily. Also, understanding every fulfillment process will help them do their work effectively as they will not have to fend for the information again and again. 

Track Relevant KPIs

Next, you must track all the relevant KPIs related to warehousing and fulfillment so that you can assess the performance of your warehouse and regular intervals. This will give you insight into whether you need to make any changes in the process or update your infrastructure.

Conduct Regular Audits

Finally, you must conduct regular audits with a trained team to ensure that all the processes are working in synchronization and if you have to make any changes to the machinery, infrastructure, etc. Even though in my file check-in relevant KPIs and conducting regular audits are a similar operation, an audit will give you a deeper insight into the people and their concerns and the KPIs. Therefore, conducting regular audits is essential for your business. 

Conclusion

To make your warehousing and distribution center management successful, it is essential to establish stringent processes followed diligently. If these processes are not followed, it can eventually lead to a delay in order processing and poor customer service

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
April 27, 2021 by Srishti Arora